Regardless of the nature of account a call center is holding, it can never escape the crucial task of training the agents it is handling. I say crucial because as its front liners, how these very call center agents handle the calls will pretty much determine how successful the said operation will be.
The task of training call center agents is not easy but covering the following topics for modules will serve as a guide:
First of all, all call-center processes and metrics need to be aligned with the company’s business goals. It is the trainer’s task to ensure that the trainees understand these goals well and how all procedures apply to such goals.
Call center agents must be able to understand the mainstream applications used by the call center. Training materials must be presented in such a way that is focused on what trainees need to accomplish and allows them to work through systems in realistic scenarios. Manuals should also discuss more on HOW to use the technology and not so much about the structure of the system so that they would understand how it applies to their responsibilities. Furthermore, a pre-test and post-test must be administered to ensure proper training and determine how much trainees have learned during the whole training process.
Since the main task of being call center agents is to answer calls, trainees must know proper phone etiquette by heart as this is the main bulk of their job description. Along with this comes the proper way of handling irate customers, negotiation skills and sales training. Likewise, phone system training materials should cover and explain all steps necessary from logging in to their phone to categorizing their activities throughout the day.
Each company has its own set of products and services that is handled by call centers. Callers expect agents who answer their calls to be highly knowledgeable about the products and services they are handling; hence, product training should comprise a big chunk of the whole training process. Good customer service and resolved issues translate to satisfied, happy clients.
As already mentioned, call center training is about teaching agents HOW to do specific tasks but it is not enough to just have this inside the halls of the training room. Have them sit on the cubicle with the headset, phone and computers along with the instructor and other trainees and let them use the procedures being taught. Practical experience is more important because learning and application take place at the same time.
Mistakes during training are okay and expected. All trainees come with one purpose: to learn the processes necessary for them to know how to handle types of calls. It is the trainer’s job therefore to ensure that they are competent enough to handle calls and technological issues when they are already on the floor; therefore, the old saying, “practice makes perfect” still perfectly applies.