Contact Centers: Train Agents, Ensure Success

Properly skilled agents are some of your biggest strategic assets. Businesses engage with their customers through multiple channels. While it’s more common for customers to get basic questions answered through self-service channels, contact center agents still resolve the most challenging issues. Engaged, well-trained agents mean better customer experiences.

Everyone understands the value of providing excellent customer experience. The recent Global Customer Experience Benchmarking study showed that eight in 10 companies recognize customer experience as a differentiator—and that it’s the number one indicator of strategic performance.

To provide excellent customer experience, a contact center must provide the right tools and technology—and must train agents to have the necessary skills. Investing in your contact center staff—providing them with key soft skills and training on your technology and tools—can help ensure success.

Elements of a Training Program

The purpose of a program to train agents is, of course, to improve the quality and efficiency of your employees’ work. Another goal is to understand the knowledge and skills they have and where they may need additional coaching.

Integrated skills assessment software helps you gain detailed insight—to understand the knowledge and skills your employees already have and those they lack, or where they might need additional coaching—so you can allocate your learning and development budget better. Accurate skills assessment also helps with better routing and optimal resource planning.

Personalized, streamlined training reduces costs and enables effective service. The right software gives you easy visibility into training schedules and lets you track and reschedule training as needed. As team members receive training, their skill sets are automatically updated in a database, enabling you to continually improve the distribution and handling of customer interactions and work activities.

It’s important to deliver “the right training at the right time.” Ensuring that employees are well trained about what to do and say translates into improved employee and customer experiences alike.

For example, when the team has current knowledge and information, it helps strengthen the average handle time, first contact resolution, sales conversions and, ultimately, Net Promoter Scores. In addition, agent training boosts employee morale and reduces attrition.

Creating personalized development plans, focused on an individual’s abilities and needs, improves employee satisfaction and retention.

Don’t Forget the Soft Skills

With every contact your agents have with customers, there are two dimensions: the technical components and the softer communication elements. With today’s focus on everything technological, it’s easy to overlook those soft skills, but they have a strong influence on customer experience. Customers who encounter agents who are compassionate and concerned, and who show a sincere desire to help, are the customers who remain loyal to your company.

Key soft skills include communication, professionalism, having a positive attitude, an ability to gain the trust and respect of customers, extensive product knowledge, and problem-solving.

Your workforce is potentially your most strategic asset in the contact center. Everything you’re trying to achieve is translated into either successful or unsuccessful conversations between your employees and your customers.

Train agents with the right skills and set them up for success: The future of your business depends on them. For more information about training agents to provide great customer service, check out the on-demand webinar, 5 Customer Experience Requirements For Business Grow, with customer service and customer experience expert Jeanne Bliss.