Everyone wants to provide the best customer service.
Happy customer = a successful business. Easy as that.
But how to keep your customer service at a top-level?
The best thing you can do is to train your agents. Through ongoing training, they’ll stay up-to-date with the call center best practices, the newest trends, and the new products that you put out.
Also, regular training helps balance the time your call center agents work and the time they learn. Without time spent on learning new skills and improving abilities, agents will quickly turn passive and become repetitive when it comes to answering customers’ queries.
Well-designed call center training will help them stay fresh and will make sure they always meet the customers’ expectations.
As you can probably tell from your own perspective, there is nothing better than a short conversation with a skilled agent who can quickly resolve your issue.
Here, you’ll find the list of 33 actionable tips and best practices on how to train your call agents to boost their productivity and the quality of service they provide.
To make it easier for you to browse through this meaty content, here, you can find a list of all the tips gathered in one place:
- Give a dose of responsibility
- Quality over quantity
- Use the actual calls
- Celebrate great results
- Praise from the top
- Make it clear
- Listen to their voice
- Help new call center agents startup
- Set realistic goals
- Find out their specific talents
- Educate and inform
- Company culture is the key
- Make sure they understand your values
- Choose proper tools
- Copy-paste what’s working
- Monitor and help them online
- Offer support during tough calls
- Use previous calls as a training ground
- Gamify the process
- Put them in the right shoes
- Use call scripts
- Make them (actual) part of the team
- Explain for better understanding
- Teach best call center practices
- Teach the rules
- Help them resolve their own problems
- Treat each agent individually
- Make training sessions practical
- Use videos as a part of training
- Help them see the progress
- Make training an ongoing process
What’s more, to make it easier for you to understand how to use these tips we’ve prepared a little introduction for you to get the most out of this piece.
Yet, if you would like to go straight into the list feel free to do just that!
Why train agents?
First of all, before we jump straight into the list of tips on how to train call agents we have to answer the question of why do you even should train agents?
Well… there are a lot of benefits which come with the above so let’s go through each of them separately.
Most importantly, when you train agents it is a win-win situation both for you and your call agents. They improve their skills by getting better at their job, improving their skills which all make it easier for them to potentially advance their career.
On the other hand, you, as a business owner or a manager get better call center agents who are capable of providing better customer service keeping your business on a top-level.
Next, call center training is handy – yes, handy – as in a result you’ll spend less time managing your call agents. When you train agents, they become more self-reliant and confident in regards to their job. So that’s another reason why you should train agents.
Another one is that you’ll save your money.
Normally, you would have to spend more on salaries when hiring more advanced call agents. Yet, you can transfer that to-be-paid money to a training&improvement bucket and spend it on making your current staff eligible and capable of doing more advanced tasks.
Lastly, there’s also another money-saving reason why you should train agents as this way, you’re able to create your own call agents improvement cycle. Instead of constantly hiring dedicated coaches and managers you’ll be able to train agents who, later on, will be capable of training your new hires. This way, you’ll save money and let your staff do more responsible work which they’ll surely be proud of and eager to do.
As you can see there is plenty of reason why to train agents. Thus, make sure that you implement training as a part of their job so they can become better and – as a result – improve your business!
Now, that we got the “why train agents” question out of the way we can think of how to find proper call center training materials which we will later on use to actually train agents.
Finding call center training materials
We know it is a must to train agents. Yet, we have to use proper call center training materials in order to train them effectively.
Here, we’re going to outline the most efficient and – mostly – free resources which will help you to train agents.
Checklists containing tips and best practices are easy to find anywhere on the web. Hence, it is one of the most common resources out there. Actually, right now you’re reading a kind of checklist that describes tips on how to train agents. So, not to spend too much money and time, you can execute a simple Google search to find an informative checklist that will help you get a hint of how to train agents.
Tutorials are great call center training materials.
They’re easy-to-digest and you can find them quite easily as they’re oftentimes published on Youtube in a form of short videos explaining the best tips, practices, and insights on how to train agents.
Here, you can find an exemplary video from Call Center Ninja who talks about common mistakes that new call center hires oftentimes make and how you can tackle these issues with proper call center training.
What’s more such tutorials are free and your call agents can find them on their own and listen to or watch them in their spare time.
Lastly, we have webinars.
Webinars are a form of online classes handled by an industry expert who connects with us through some kind of software.
Webinars are mostly paid so you have to take that into account. Yet, these are also the more exclusive type of call center training materials so you may expect better results after such training.
Here is the example of a webinar on the topic of how to redirect your customers from phone to digital. Give it a look and get a hint of what it is like to attend the webinar.
Also, before you sign up for any of the webinars you can find many recordings of such webinars on Youtube so go check it out first before you pay for anything!
How to apply call center training tips
Now we’re just one step away from jumping into call center training tips themselves.
Yet, before we do that it is a good time to ask how to actually apply them?
That’s because training tips are no use if you don’t know how to put them to work and to efficiently train agents.
Not to make that false start we’ll go through the best practices on how to apply call center training tips in practice
First, to effectively train agents you have to show them the benefits of such training even before you start your first training session. Here, motivation is the key. If your call center agent sees no point to train and improve then they won’t make use out of any of the resources you use.
The call center agent training will be as effective as call agents themselves will allow it to be. So, first, motivate your agents by showing them how they will benefit from putting some work into this training.
Second, you can make the call center agent training an integral part of their work so they won’t even feel like it’s a different time from their usual work time. Of course, then, you have to sacrifice some of the time that such call agents would normally spend on handling calls but with proper staff management you can certainly pull it off.
Lastly, make call center agent training sessions become an answer to their problems and queries.
Let me explain.
Oftentimes, employees describe their problems in regards to their work, company culture, or other work-related issues. Most of the time such complaints are left unanswered leaving employees unhappy and helpless.
Yet, you can actually use call center training to tackle all of these issues submitted by your call agents and answer them through videos, webinars, exercises, and more.
You call center agents surely will find it helpful and informative because it directly tackles their problems and – what’s the most important – gives them informative and practical guidance.
At this point, we broke through all of the training-tips-related topics leaving us with nothing else to do, but to just jump straight into the juicy list of 33 tips for training call center agents!
1. Give a dose of responsibility
By granting your agents a solid dose of responsibility you’ll show them that their job is actually important and that what they do reflects in how well does the company prospers.
When call center agents know that they can make their own decisions, the customer service they provide will be of a much better quality as they will – quickly and steadily – respond to every query they get.
2. Quality over quantity
It is easy to run into the trap of repetitive training. Yet, you should focus on providing creative call center training session that varies in type and duration time.
Do not go over the same things unless it is necessary.
Also, do not blindly stick to the training’s curriculum. Skip the parts that are already clear to your agents and focus on what’s actually worth improving.
Let one of the call center agents be the customer and the other an actual agent.
Using this stressless game your agents will be able to test their skills out in a friendly environment and you’ll be able to easily evaluate their skills and measure their strengths and weaknesses.
4. Use the actual calls
Make handling actual calls a crucial part of your call center customer service training. Role-play is great but nothing can replace the value of hands-on experience.
Also, make sure that your new hires get a shot in handling real-time calls. It will make them more prepared for the time when they have to manage the calls on their own.
5. Celebrate great results
Make sure your agents get a proper shout-out when they provide exceptional customer service.
If you get an email from the customer telling you how pleased he was to receive such remarkable customer service do not omit to mention it amongst the whole crew.
Let everyone know and give a chance to congratulate your champion.
6. Praise from the top
It’s not a common method, although it works as a motivational shot for your call center agents.
Simply encourage upper management to listen to successful calls and personally praise the agent.
It will give him a boost of motivation and will encourage to achieve even better results.
7. Make it clear
Make sure that the feedback you deliver to your agents is clear and actionable.
Don’t create space to ‘interpret’ the commands so your agents do not lose time and self-confidence while trying to understand “what did you mean”.
8. Listen to their voice
Empower your agents with the ability to discuss both the pros and cons of their tasks. There is no way to optimize one’s work that taking into account his feedback.
Make sure your call center agents can share their reflections amongst themselves as well as with upper representatives. Use this information to optimize their work.
9. Help new call center agents startup
Don’t leave your new hires on their own. A good call center practice is to introduce new agents to your best performers.
This way they won’t feel so stressed out as there will be always a person who can answer their question and give useful tips or even help with a tough call.
10. Set realistic goals
Your targets and calls should be set the way your call agents can actually achieve them.
Include your best performs in the meetings where you opt to set desired KPIs. This way your goals will better align with what your agents are actually capable of.
11. Find out their specific talents
Do not measure everyone according to the same criteria. Give your agents time to and observe them, to find out what are their strengths and weaknesses.
Then, try to focus on their strengths and, during call center training sessions, work on the aspects they lack expertise in.
12. Educate and inform
It is crucial to make sure your agents understand the core features of your business.
Make sure your agents understand the business side of your company and are capable of answering customers’ queries relevant to the topics of your company’s structure and mission.
13. Company culture is the key
With a transparent company culture, your agents will find it easier to identify with your brand.
Also, setting up an open company culture helps you build a team of like-minded people which will, later on, make your company more solid and consistent.
14. Make sure they understand your values
From the first day until their last hour of work, your call center agents should be aware of the values that your company stands by.
It will help them provide accurate customer service and utilize their work in a way that obeys the values you’ve informed them of.
Optimize your training session by asking your agents for their feedback. If they see that some part of training is boring, unnecessary, or non-practical they’ll be the first ones to tell you.
Make sure you take their voice into account and optimize training sessions in a way it suits them the most.
16. Choose proper tools
You can make the learning and training process much shorter when you let your agents use simple and clear tools.
Make sure the call center software they use has a user-friendly interface with a clear layout.
Also, give them comfortable call center headsets which will help them focus solely on their job and not worry about the lack of comfort that plastic-build headsets can give.
17. Copy-paste what’s working
People find it easy to learn from actual examples.
Use that to train your agents and grant them access to previous successful calls and practices of your best-performing agents.
18. Monitor and help them online
Using features like live listening you can provide online feedback to your agents.
It will help them provide better customer service as well as will help you to identify their strengths and weaknesses.
19. Offer support during tough calls
Sometimes your call center agents will simply hit a brick wall and that is the moment when your help is the thing they need. Thanks to features such as call transferring or “call invitation” you can simply join the call and help resolve the problem.
Be ready to answer your agent’s prompts and be able to join the call when it is needed.
20. Use previous calls as a training ground
A great way to utilize call recordings is to use them as training material for your agents,
especially new ones.
Thanks to such a practice your new hires will quickly get a hint of how customer service looks like in your company and what principles should they follow while making the call.
21. Gamify the process
Make the process of training and working feel like a game.
Put certain “steps” so your agents can strive to achieve them. When they complete these steps make sure to reward them. Such a method may result in increased motivation to hit the next goal.
22. Put them in the right shoes
Make sure you place your call center agents in the role that they are capable of pulling off.
Only by matching agents to the most appropriate roles, you can provide top-notch customer service.
23. Use call scripts
It can be especially helpful for the newcomers. Thanks to the usage of call scripts your agents will provide customer service of the same quality.
Also, your new hires will find it easy to relieve stress as they’ll have a handy framework of how to lead each of the calls.
24. Make them (actual) part of the team
Introduce your agents to the rest of your staff, both agents and upper representatives.
To make this process more efficient you can use pre-recorded videos as the beginning of training sessions. It will make your agents feel like they are actually part of the time which will positively influence how they perceive your brand.
25. Explain for better understanding
Make sure you explain even the obvious details as they may seem to be so clear only for the people who have a certain expertise in the topic.
Stress to your new hires the importance of meeting deadlines and working in accordance with pre-planned KPIs.
26. Teach best call center practices
Provide your agents with examples of best practices in your call center – appropriate greetings, closing, and transferring techniques, language etiquette, and so on.
It will make their work much easier and new agents will find it easy to adapt to their new workplace.
27. Teach the rules
Each company has its own set of rules. Make your call center agents aware of them not to bump into an unnecessary situation later on.
Also, clear rules will make it easier for your agents to work properly as they won’t waste time thinking about what they are allowed to do and what they should avoid doing.
28. Help them resolve their own problems
Provide your agents with a comprehensive knowledge base that will help them find the answer to sneaking questions.
It will also help them quickly resolve customers’ queries without the need of reaching elsewhere.
29. Treat each agent individually
Everyone is different and so are your agents. Try to analyze each of the agents separately and optimize their training experience in accordance with their abilities and strengths.
This way you’ll make the most out of your agents and they will improve the most which will result in exceptional customer service.
30. Make training sessions practical
Your call center training should be – most of all – hands-on and practical. Don’t bother going through futile theory unless it will help your agents provide better customer service.
Make sure they engage in training sessions and that they improve their skills thanks to time spent while training and learning.
31. Use videos as a part of training
Make video content a segment of your call center training materials. You can find a lot of how-to videos and tutorials on the web, especially on Youtube.
Making the training more diverse will help your call center agents stay more focused and active.
32. Help them see the progress
People work the best when they see that their work actually yields expected results.
Provide your agents with feedback on how their work affects your company. Evaluate their progress and advise them on what they should improve in order to meet the pre-defined goals and KPIs.
33. Make training an ongoing process
The process of learning and training should never stop and – primarily – should be a part of the work.
Make sure you never stop training your agents as there is no other way they’ll provide the best customer service. Teach them skills that will, later on, result in exceptional customer service.