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Whether you call them patients or customers, the people calling your contact center have a simple wish: to have their problems solved quickly and on the first try. Usually, first call resolutions require skilled agents who know how to navigate the system and quickly find answers for the callers. In order to get agents skilled enough to do this, you need to train them properly.

In order to train them properly, you need to use effective techniques. Here are some of our preferred methods.

Classroom based texts can help Classroom based with trainers
The classroom setting allows new hires to learn together from an effective teacher and also from each other. Listening to questions from others might help clarify issues and help them understand the importance of their new roles within the organization and how they help foster and grow customer relations. The classroom also provides a setting to role-play using scripts agents will see once they start taking calls themselves. Agents provide great customer service when they clearly know what to say and how to say it. In addition, use this classroom time to provide new agents with an organizational chart so they know who they will report to as agents, who the team leads are, who, in turn, they report to, and so forth up the ladder to the director and other department heads. This will show them where they are in the organization and what their role is.

Side-by-side with live agents
Also known as “shadowing,” this technique lets new hires listen to live calls and observe skilled agents working to achieve First Contact Resolution. Sitting with star agents for a couple of hours a day (at most) provides an excellent example for new hires to follow. They can see what they learned in the classroom applied correctly and see the importance of proper processes. Seeing how an agent uses a knowledge base, contacts technical support, or escalates a call can be extremely helpful. However, watching someone else do a job for more than 2 hours at a time can cause a person to go dead behind the eyes and lose focus. Be sure to break up shadowing into manageable timeslots.

Ad hoc feedback
Pay close attention to your new hires. No two people are alike, and each will have their own strengths and weaknesses. Be sure to offer extra support where needed, whether it’s more time with a trainer learning to navigate the technology or more time practicing using a polite, friendly voice. By providing help to fill in the gaps, all agents will be phone ready by the end of the training program, and you won’t need to give them more training after the fact and lose productivity and potentially customers.

There are many more types of training that should all be incorporated into the training program: role-play, e-learning, and simulated calls, for example, and each organization will have to decide for themselves what works best for their contact center environment in order for new agents to have comprehensive knowledge of the organization, its processes, policies, and operations. Using the training period to help them acclimate to the company culture will help ensure they’re competent and productive members of the team in no time.

Photo from Death to the Stock Photo.

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