Why Agent Training Must Extend Beyond the First Week

Posted by Rodney Kuhn

10/15/15 1:30 AM

For any business to thrive in today’s constantly changing marketplace, it must invest in employee training on an ongoing basis. This is especially true in your company’s contact center where agents are the ambassadors of your business. One bad interaction might not only cost you a customer, but could potentially tarnish your brand’s reputation.

Too often, however, companies consider their representatives ready to go after only a few days of training. Cost and time are reasons given; busy managers can’t afford to continually follow up with an agent’s progress. Sound familiar?

The good news is there are easy steps that managers can take to keep customer service training front and center—without cutting into an already overloaded schedule. This will not only enable managers to discover their employees’ full potential, but will also give agents the opportunity to truly shine. And, as we have covered before on this blog, engaged employees truly yield engaging customer experiences.

Below are a few reasons why every contact center should foster an atmosphere of continuous training, and some simple tips to help make it happen:

New employees need to acquire the necessary skills, knowledge and behavior to become effective contributors within an organization. It’s understandable why a busy manager might be tempted to shortcut the training process required to achieve this objective and, instead, quickly supplement an overextended workforce. Ultimately, this could prove to be counterproductive, as rushed and insufficient training could lead to significant problems down the road.

Instead, deploy contact center software with a built-in automated coaching system. This gives your agents the tools to customize their training specifically where they need it most. For example, the system captures data, i.e., voice and agent keystrokes, directly from the desktop in real time, so any issues can be identified and resolved immediately. This could prove especially useful to a new agent not wanting to adopt any bad habits.

Valuable employees are more likely to stay with a company when there’s opportunity for growth. Increased expansion and learning opportunities play a significant role in greater employee retention. Investing in your employees through professional development and training lets them know there’s room for advancement within your organization.

Establish a training program according to your company’s needs and industry advancements. This keeps employees current and better prepared to effectively perform their jobs. Also, encourage your representatives to continue taking advantage of your contact center software. For instance, the system enables them to access recordings of evaluated customer interactions. Since the software is completely customized, the agents can focus on their own specific needs and not waste time with tasks they’ve already mastered.

Managers who groom their employees to succeed will establish a more productive work environment.  A successful contact center manager not only needs to appreciate his or her employees’ talents, but must maximize their abilities as well; understanding their strengths and weaknesses plays a big part in this. With the contact center software they deploy, managers can easily access pertinent data from customer interactions and agent evaluations in order to immediately and continually identify and mitigate agent issues. If an agent is having difficulties, the manager can immediately take action by deploying targeted coaching to help improve his or her skills.

This kind of continual training empowers your contact center agents with the tools and knowledge they need to be a more effective part of your company’s workforce—from day one onward.

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