- Traditional call center training techniques
- Call center training software
- 7 technologies to use when training call center employees
- Call center training best practices
We have previously written about innovative call center technologiesintroduced to the market by various startups. In this article, we focus specifically on the training aspect, covering seven technologies that speed up the call center training process and make it far more effective.
Time equals money, right? Nowhere is that truer than in call center training, where it’s a race to bring new agents up to speed on products, processes and the productivity expected of them. With contact centers dealing with higher call volumes than ever before, managers are looking to replace outdated, suboptimal training processes with new, fast and effective techniques.
Traditional call center training techniques
For decades, contact centers have trained new agents using one-on-one coaching or classroom-style role-playing, where the focus is on imparting knowledge and customer service etiquette. While these non-technological training styles offer a number of benefits, they can consume a considerable portion of a call center’s resources in terms of time and cost. These old-school methods are also inconsistent, as there are so many human factors involved, and the lack of measurability further complicates the call center training process.
Call center training software
Contact center decision-makers understand that better tools are the key to improving agent performance and reducing call center training times. Contact Center Pipeline, the magazine for contact center professionals, reports that the number one challenge for contact centers in 2019 is the lack of suitable desktop tools, especially for CRM and collaboration.
The survey further highlights that improving employee engagement and empowerment is the number one priority for contact centers in 2019, while increasing the focus on coaching and development emerged as another top priority in the Workload/Performance category. To help contact centers meet their goals of both engaging agents and improving training methods, we’ve compiled a list of 7 market-leading technologies that are redefining call center agent training and development.
7 technologies to use when training call center employees
- Virtual private tutors
- Online social collaboration
- Call center training games
- AI-based on-the-job guidance
- Visual Assistance
- Whisper coaching
- Real-time self-monitoring
We will now explore each option in more detail.
1. Virtual private tutors for call center agents
One size doesn’t fit all. Agents have different strengths and weaknesses and training modules must be responsive to their requirements. Lessonly for Chrome is an engaging onboarding platform that provides agents with individualized learning, practice opportunities in real-life customer service scenarios, and clear feedback and insights that help pinpoint areas for further improvement.
2. Socially acceptable collaboration between call center agents
It’s the virtual water cooler. In-house social networks and forums promote the sharing of best practices and knowledge across customer service teams. When learning becomes a shared activity, agents engage more and are more successful. The atmosphere at the call center becomes one in which everyone is striving for excellence, and this energy filters through to the customers.
One innovator in shared learning is Slack, an online communication platform that sees users logging 100 million collective hours online per month. Its flexible public channels, along with small private groups, can facilitate group learning as well as smaller workshops where call center agent training tips and ideas can be shared in real time.
3. Call center training games
Make the workplace fun again. When gamification is introduced into a call center environment, agents compete to complete objectives and outpace other agents in specific KPIs such as hours worked, lessons learned or average speed to answer. Gamification is an immersive, exciting experience that engages and motivates agents. There can be various rewards, including recognition on leaderboards, physical prizes or alternative rewards like preferred shifts or free parking.
For call center training games to be successfully implemented into the workplace, it is vital to offer full transparency and comprehensive reporting that ensures a fair competition, such as that provided by Mambo, a solution that drives collaboration and competition to increase agent performance. Competition can be based on any activity tracked by the platform, such as resolved cases, average handle times, or timesheet submissions.
4. Learning on the job
We all learn best through practice – not theory. The new breed of AI-based platforms reduces call center new hire training times by delivering timely next best action advice during each customer episode. Jacada’s autonomous CX platform provides interactive and intuitive guidance to help agents respond to customer enquiries in real time. Help your agents learn exactly what to do, when to do it, and how to do it, by offering instant, contextual guidance during each interaction.
5. See the full picture with Visual Assistance
TechSee has taken the concept of AI-based decision support and added the crucial visual element. Its core contact center product is Intelligent Visual Assistance, which enables agents to visually connect with customers and guide them remotely using Augmented Reality annotations.
It doesn’t end there; TechSee also provides AI technology that helps a company rapidly expand its own visual knowledge base. It’s what they call the “crowdsourcing of expertise.” Every customer interaction is tagged by the agent, enabling both employees and the system itself to grow smarter and more resourceful, right from day one.
6. Whisper coaching in call centers
Psst. When a contact center manager can not only listen in on a call but speak to the agent without the customer knowing, it adds a whole new dimension to call center training. Whisper coaching, provided by companies such as Voicent, enables managers to listen in on agents’ calls, and when it’s appropriate, they can share advice with the agents, coaching them in real time. This is especially helpful when bringing new agents up to speed or helping more experienced agents through a difficult call. Think of it as the equivalent of a TV producer talking to a presenter through his earpiece.
7. Real-time self-monitoring for call center agents
Empowering agents by letting them analyze their own performance engages them more effectively than a top-down approach. Beyond Verbal uses patented Voice and AI technology to detect changes in vocal range that indicate emotions like anger, anxiety, happiness or satisfaction, and picks up on nuances in mood, attitude and decision-making characteristics.
Call centers have applied this technology to help customer service representatives monitor their own performance, alerting them if they start to get annoyed with the customer and enabling them to correct their tone before the interaction turns sour.
Call center training best practices
We’ve described seven best practices for call center training. However, training contact center agents is an ongoing process and there’s no single training method that works for everyone. Contact center managers must be able to identify the right technologies that address individual agents’ skill gaps and implement practical coaching and development practices that are both time-efficient and results-driven. Whether using virtual private tutors, social collaboration, gamification, on-the-job training, visual assistance, whisper coaching or self-monitoring, innovative call center training technologies will help you cut down onboarding time and ensure your agents are fully engaged from day one.