The Importance of Prioritizing Agent Training in Contact Centers
Customer Service leaders continue to face a paradoxical challenge – balancing the high volume of customer demands with the need to provide ongoing agent training and development. While it is important to ensure that agents handle as many calls as possible, neglecting their learning and development can negatively impact service levels and agent retention too.
So why do some contact center managers not make agent training a higher priority? I asked a few leaders and discovered that they view agent training as unnecessary and that the time spent on learning and development programs takes away from handling customer calls. Additionally, they see agent training as a one-time event rather than an ongoing process (indicating they overlook its importance.)
On the flip side, many best-in-class leaders believe agent training is an important investment and advocate for BOTH learning and development programs AND balancing contact center demands, especially during talent shortages. This approach yields better results for agents and, ultimately, customers too.
5 Strategies For Effectively Training Agents When Teams Are Stretched
- Incorporate Microlearning into Agent Training Programs: Provide bite-sized information that is easier to absorb and retain. Also, increase efficiency by using technology such as E-Learning Modules and Virtual on-demand training to complete at their convenience.
- Create a Mentorship Program: Provide ongoing coaching and support to allow agents to continue developing their skills and knowledge. Also, encourage cross-training. Allow agents to have a broader understanding of the contact center’s operations, leading to increased collaboration and a more cohesive team.
- Schedule Training During Non-Peak Times: Create learning opportunities during slower periods to minimize the impact on customer service operations.
- Utilize Gamification Techniques: Make training more enjoyable and effective by incorporating rewards and recognition into learning programs.
- Create a Culture of Learning and Development: Establish a supportive workplace through regular coaching, feedback, and incentives initiatives.
Investing in agent training is essential for improving customer satisfaction and reducing staff turnover. There are real ROI benefits that become visible over time.
Aent training does not need to be an either/or situation but rather a “Both/And” win-win opportunity.
Learn about the benefits of “Both/And” mindset and ways to thrive with multiple knotted tensions happening at the same time.
Check out my conversation with Wendy Smith, a Professor at the Lerner College of Business and Economics at the University of Delaware. She has done extensive research on strategic paradoxes and how leaders and senior teams can effectively respond to contradictory yet interdependent demands. I believe it relates to contact center investment decisions too.
I encourage you to get Wendy’s book co-authored with Marianne Lewis, as you’ll quickly understand our brains love to make either-or choices, and that we choose one option over the other. Yet, there’s a better way through Both/And thinking!