Discover 15 transformative tips to elevate call centre training, from enhancing soft skills to leveraging real-time feedback, ensuring top-notch customer service.
Call center training tips are super important. Think about this scenario. You’ve read the product manual from front to back, you’ve read blog articles on how to use the product, and you’ve viewed the q and a from current customers. But still, you don’t understand how a product you just bought. Now, you are frustrated and need to talk to a real person to get your questions answered. Enter the call center. How the call center responds to your inquiry is vital. If they answer all your questions, you walk away satisfied and more willing to be a repeat customer.
You walk away feeling frustrated and now you decide to leave a negative review online, tell your friends not to use this company, and choose a competitor instead. In order to prevent frustrated, customers, you want to properly develop your call center employees. So we’ve pulled together some call center training tips to help.
1. Onboard thoroughly
All call center training tips should start with onboarding. And actually, you should even start with pre-onboarding. Put together a welcome packet that includes goals for the company, a letter from the CEO about the company's mission, and other pertinent information your new customer service personnel need to know. This detailed communication will help your new employees understand the landscape of your company and help them to better serve your customers when on the phone. Once these employees start their new jobs, hold a call or meeting where they can meet the various department heads. The more they understand who to go to for questions or more information the better they can do their jobs from the start.
2. Knowledge of products/services
This sounds obvious, but your call center team needs to know your products and services thoroughly. You can’t expect your employees to answer intricate questions if they have not used your products or services themselves. Training should be hands-on for these employees. If they encounter a question about a product themselves, they will better understand why a potential customer is asking the same question.
3. Observe in real-time
Whether a call center team member has been on the job for a long time or just starting out, everyone can benefit from real-time feedback. Part of your training should be to observe your team in action. How do they answer the phones? What do they communicate to the customers? What is their tone like? It’s beneficial for managers to hear what questions come up periodically from customers and also to hear customer service responses. Feedback can either be given on the spot or noted to talk about collectively as a team after the observation period is complete.
4. Importance of schedule adherence
Schedule adherence should also be included in your call center training tips. If you are not familiar with this topic, schedule adherence is simply the amount of time a call center employee is scheduled to work with the amount of time they actually work. Although you as a manager are actually calculating this, it’s important for your team to understand that they are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of schedule adherence. So a good way to demonstrate this is with role-playing training. For example, you can have one employee pretend to be five minutes late for their shift. Then, they could have a brief conversation with a fellow employee about why they are late. Then have them actually log on to your system about 10 minutes after that. Next, this employee runs over their break by another 10 minutes. You can then show your team how a few minutes here and there can add up to a quick hour of lost time. This exercise can further be compounded by other team members' role-playing as frustrated customers sitting on long wait times due to call center team members, not on scheduled shifts.
5. Involve other departments
Customer feedback comes in through different channels. For example, a marketing team member may see a post on social media about their interaction with the company. Or a web developer may get a customer question through a help desk inbox. Although you value workplace communication, feedback doesn’t always get back to the call center. So one of your call center training tips should be to gather customer feedback from all department heads periodically. Ask them for all customer feedback they may have received good or bad. Then, pass this on to the call center so they can be better informed when it comes to customer conversations.
6. Involve top performers in training
Sometimes employees take constructive feedback better from their peers than outside facilitators or even managers. So one of your call center training tips should be to identify your top performers and hold one on one meetings with them. Pinpoint together why they are successful and then ask these employees to become part of your training. The top performers can showcase examples of actual calls and how they handled them.
Not only will this show these employees that you truly value their level of commitment, but it gives these top performers a platform to help motivate other team members. Peer-to-peer training will also benefit more junior team members whose goals are to achieve top-level benchmarks set by these top performers.
7. Include marketing training
Many times training is tailored to learning specific skills for a job. However, the importance of training is more than needing to learn new skills or to pass compliance testing. This is especially true when it comes to call center training tips. Since your call center deals with customers including new, returning, and referred, marketing training is also vital.
Teaching your call center team about customer lifecycles and the role they play in keeping these customers happy is super important. If you think about it a customer could really be won over or lost forever if they have a bad call center experience. Once you train on topics like customer loyalty and conversion, your team will understand just how vital their jobs are to overall company growth. And in return, your team members will feel their jobs really do matter and will give their best when interacting with customers.
8. Include etiquette training
It may seem odd for call center training tips to include etiquette, but it’s a vital skill to have. Etiquette training for business helps your employees better interact with your customers on a personal level. You never know what type of call you are going to get. Many times the customer on the line is frustrated or even mad. Your employees need to understand how to react in a calm manner that also solves the problem the customer is having. And sometimes it’s hard to predict how someone will react when under a pressure situation. That’s why etiquette training can help your team prepare for different types of calls they may receive.
9. Let employees lead training
Yes, usually training is led by a facilitator or team department head. However, don’t estimate the power to use team members to train each other. For example, maybe one team member excels at problem-solving when dealing with unsatisfied customers while another team member always manages to make a sale while on a call with a customer.
Since everyone has different strengths, schedule informal training sessions over lunch. Offer a free lunch in exchange for team members signing up to learn about a specific topic that may be an area of improvement for them. These lunch-at-learn programs are a great way for everyone to learn in an informal environment and it allows each team member to showcase their strengths.
10. Create best practices
Even though you offer training to new employees and ongoing training for new product rollouts, it’s important to create call center training tips and best practices. This will keep the entire team on track and provide a go-to document when questions arise. For example, you can include appropriate greetings, transfer techniques, and ways to end phone calls to keep customers satisfied. You may also want to include a few examples of scripts. Make sure these scripts help capture the majority of the types of calls your center gets. Obviously, you can’t capture everything, but covering common categories of questions, will help your team members.
11. Implement changes on a small scale
If you make changes to your best practices, before you train and roll out the new process, try it out with a small group of your agents. That way it will be easier to pinpoint the challenges or tell if the new process won’t work when you put it into action. And, beginning a new way of doing things can often take time to learn and as a result, slow the entire process down until it becomes a habit again. Because of this, it makes sense to have the majority of your team working at top capacity while your test group works out the kinks with this new process.
12. Make training accessible
You may have a set training schedule for your team. For example, this could include onboarding, compliance training, and when you are rolling out a new service. However, what if an employee has a question before the next training course is scheduled? Or what if they have a question for a follow-up call with a customer? That’s why it’s a good idea to store all your learning documents and webinars on one centralized learning management system for easy access.
Employees can easily find answers to their questions without tracking down a supervisor or sending an email. Plus, if an employee either misses a training session or wants to go back over some material, all lessons are available to them. This saves time and also streamlines the process for better customer service.
13. Reward good customer service
Sometimes customer service can be a thankless job. When a customer has a great experience and leaves a positive review, you should celebrate this with the entire team. It’s a great teaching moment for every team member to understand what brought about a positive experience. It also gives this team member recognition for a job well done. Rewards can be more intangible than a company-wide email. Or you could make a reward more tangible like a gift card or extra days off.
14. Always evaluate and evolve
No one likes a micromanager, but even worse no employee likes to feel undervalued. So as a manager you should check in often with your employees to see how they are doing and what questions they may have. Based on your feedback, you can tweak your training to better fit your team’s needs.
15. Retrain your trainers often
Based on feedback from your call center team members and observations on how the calls are going, ask yourself how the trainers are doing? If you use classroom training or a blended learning environment, are your teachers effective at delivering your courses?
Call center training tips are not useful if your facilitators can’t get your team to learn and retain the material. So focus on your facilitators and make sure they have the personality and habits to be great trainers. And also retrain them in delivering the course material if they have been teaching for a while or if you tweak any of your material.
Always room for improvement
According to The Global Call Center Report, experienced call center agents receive an average of only six training days per year. If your training is in line with the average then it’s important to incorporate several of these call center training tips to put your agents above the competition. Plus, your agents will appreciate the extra training techniques, communication, and company transparency. And in return, they will perform better and stay with your company longer.