17. September 2020 Blog

Training for call center agents - Useful guide

Meeting customers’ expectations in today’s competitive business environment can be challenging. One of the crucial aspects of customer experience is customer support.

To build strong relationships with clients and solve their issues quickly, you need to use smart call center software and create a reliable team. Keep on reading our call center training guide and improve your team’s performance once and for all.

The importance of training call center employees

Call center managers and business owners might wonder if comprehensive and time-consuming training is necessary. We believe it’s worth the effort to prepare your agents and constantly improve their skills to stand out from the competition and deliver extraordinary service. If you’re not convinced yet, check out some interesting numbers from Microsoft’s report:

  • 58% of people admit that customer service is important in their choice of a brand,
  • 61% of respondents stopped doing business with a brand due to a poor customer service experience,
  • 59% of customers have higher expectations for customer service now than they had a year ago.

As you can see, customers require high-level support. The time and resources that you’ll invest in extensive onboarding and training can benefit the long term in increasing customer satisfaction. Turn your first-time customers into loyal clients or even brand ambassadors. Read on to find out how to train your team and meet customers’ expectations. 

Call center training guide: How to train call center agents?

Let’s dig into the best practices for training call center employees. 

Run a kick-off meeting

Start the training process with the right energy. Introduce managers involved in delivering customer support. That way, employees can get familiar with supervisors and find out what are their fields of expertise. It’s crucial for new hires to know who can answer their potential questions and save the day if needed.

Moreover, give your employees space to introduce themselves and network so that they can feel more comfortable in your team. A friendly and open atmosphere is crucial for successful onboarding and work. 

Explain your business vision and the industry specifics

Every new employee should get familiar with the company’s mission, values, policy and key functions of call center. Once everyone in the team has a consistent vision of your business, you can build strong relationships with customers as one team. 

Additionally, educate the participants of the training on the industry you’re working in. It’s essential to identify the customers and share some insights on their common issues.

As every company is different and has a diverse target group, you need to fill in your new employees, even if they worked in a call center before. Save their time on discovering such things on their own and let them know your customers even before the first interaction. 

Show the trainees how it’s done

The best way to teach someone is to present an exceptional example. While training call center employees you should make the most of your previous experiences. 

Play the call recording to show how to handle some cases in practice. You can even choose the interactions with the troubled customers when your agents stayed calm and turned a frustrated customer into a satisfied client. 

You can also involve your top-performing agents in training to share their practical tips and encourage your new employees. 

On top of that, hand your team call scripts so that they can get familiar with the expected call scenarios. Remember to save some space for improvising and modifying the scripts if needed. Ask your trainees for an opinion on the scripts and if they have any ideas for improvements. Let them know you’re open to suggestions. 

Pay attention to phone etiquette 

While training, the new agents focus not only on the factual knowledge but also on the soft skills. It’s the time to go through phone etiquette and establish what you’re expecting in that area. Make sure your team understands how to communicate with potential and existing customers with adequate respect. 

Clarify the KPI’s

Onboarding is a great time to explain your expectations towards the call center team. Set up key performance indicators for your call center such as average handle time, call accuracy, productivity, punctuality, attendance, and customer satisfaction. 

Remember not to focus on the numbers only. Assure your employees that they have a proper amount of time to adjust to the new positions, and they can always ask their supervisors for help.

Tracking KPIs should give you more information about the team’s performance and identify occurring problems. When you notice decreasing effectiveness, it’s time to organize additional training and get your team back on track. 

Spice the training up

Involve a few people in the training process, as well as interactive forms of training such as video and recordings. The change of a speaker once in a while can be more engaging and interesting for the audience.

Therefore, you can ask best-performing agents to handle some aspects of the training and prepare presentations with their own tips. When it comes to explaining the business vision, you can ask the PR manager to help you introduce the company’s mission statement, etc. 

Ensure that every coach involved in the training has perfect presentation and communication skills so that they can effectively pass the knowledge. 

Practice makes perfect

To engage your audience and let them try the theory in practice, you can run trial calls. Remember to comment on the conversation, explain what was right and what needs improvement. Don’t expect everyone to make perfect calls during the training, but make sure the employees understand your point and know what to work on in the future. 

Introduce call center software

Last but not least, teach your new employees how to use call center software effectively. They may have been working on similar solutions before, but every call center tool is different and provides different features. For example, CloudTalk offers several options to automate call center service, such as:

Make sure everyone in the team is familiar with the call center software of your choice and up to date with the latest improvements. Organize an additional training session every time a major software update is implemented and keep your team informed. 

Train your call center agents effectively

To achieve the best possible results, you and your team need to take a customer-centric approach. Call center training is indispensable to coach your team on products’ specifics, business vision, and industry regulations. Onboarding and training create perfect opportunities for clarifying KPIs and expectations, as well as improving soft skills, such as empathy and communication. 

Explain the role of your call center team in building relationships with customers and finding a way to provide the best possible experience. Use the right smart call center software to automate some processes and give your team more time to focus on the essential tasks.