Support rep training is a highly researched topic in the realm of customer experience. At the same time, support rep managers remain to have issues in finding the best ways to train their support representative teams. Whenever support reps are asked their thoughts on how to improve their performance, better training is always highly requested.
However, making improvements to support rep training isn’t always simple. In fact, it can be rather difficult, since each business and support rep team is unique. But, with two decades of experience, we hope to help you with the best support rep training tips that can improve any team, no matter the industry.
Use Multiple Training Methods
- One on One Training
Make time for one on one’s with your support reps and recognize their strengths and things they can improve upon. No new hire will have the same starting knowledge, so it’s important to take time individually to make sure your whole team starts on the right foot.
- Instructor Training
Another way to train your team is by allowing new support reps pair with your team’s top performers. This allows your new support reps to learn from real-life examples and get tips from reps in their same field of work.
- Group Training
This method is a great way to do an overview of what your support representatives’ goals should be, and general best practices information.
- Online Learning
We believe that online learning should be used as little as possible, as it has a low rate of engagement. Still, it is a method that can be used lightly when there isn’t someone physically available to train.
- Support Call Training
Take advantage of your call center software and let new agents take support calls while a supervisor monitors over the call. This will allow the supervisor to whisper in on calls to assist the support rep or barge into the call in the call gets out of hand.
Keep Your Reps Engaged
Support rep training can take a long time, so take care to keep your agents alert and focused. To get your support reps engaged, use a variety of training methods instead of a few. Incorporate hands-on training, call monitoring training, and more to keep things lively. Support call centers can quickly get monotonous– in fact, its one of the biggest reasons for job satisfaction in the workplace, so mixing things up even just a little bit can be a big help.
Focus on Etiquette
Remember that some of your new hires may have never worked in a call center before, so going over etiquette is critical. While some aspects of this may seem like common sense, documenting the best way to act in certain scenarios allows expectations to be known. Some important call center etiquette tips to communicate includes:
- When a customer is irate, remain cool and calm
- When answering a new call, answer with a friendly greeting
- When newer agents need help or ask questions, be polite and helpful
- Share any helpful advice with your team to improve customer satisfaction
- Work together to analyze difficult calls as a means to improve future experiences
Oftentimes, scorecards will include some sort of ‘etiquette’ category. A few of the best metrics to use include:
- Keep a professional and polite tone
- Pronounced the caller’s name correctly
- Prevented long periods of silence
- Never interrupted the caller
- Kept explanations simple
- Used active listening methods
Discuss Career Growth During Training
One of the most prevalent reasons for turnover in call centers is due to lack of career growth for agents. Early on in training, be sure that you communicate later career benefits on agent positions combined with strong performance.
Having an environment where agents are able to give feedback and questions is also important. Having an open floor for comments can help management know how agents are doing and if there’s any gaps in training.
In order to break up tediousness, look for ways to automate certain tasks. Freeing up your agents from tasks that can be done by a computer will allow your agents to work on more important or meaningful tasks. Companies that invest in tools to automate work can offer a better experience for call centers, and those who use such tools can look forward to a high attrition rates.
Using QA Tools Effectively
It’s critical for call centers to utilize QA tools to help their customer service. Some of the most important tools include live call monitoring and scorecards.
- Live Call Monitoring
Managers and supervisors can use live call monitoring to supervise calls that their agents are taking. Through live call monitoring, management can make sure QA best practices are being upheld and better understand their metrics.
- Call Whisper
Call whispering should be one of your top training and coaching tools in your call center. Call whisper will allow managers to speak to an agent during a call, without the customer hearing. Call whispering helps agents gain skills and confidence fielding live calls.
- Call Barge
Call barge allows supervisors to jump into a live call to intervene. Call barge should only be used when completely necessary, when a call has gotten out of hand and an agent is out of options. Be sure not to be too heavy handed with call barge, as constantly barging into calls can lower agent morale.
- Performance Scorecards
Scorecards can be used to evaluate your agent’s performance when fielding calls, and can be done manually or through a software. Whatever the case, your scorecard should include criteria important to your call center– however, most call center scorecards have criteria including:
- Problem Solving
- Call etiquette
- Customer service quality
- Follow Up
Using the Right Metrics for Your Scorecards
Make sure that you’re tracking metrics that are relevant to your call center. Some common KPIs to keep track of include:
- Call Accuracy
- Average Handle Time
- Sales and Revenue
- Customer satisfaction
- Attendance and punctuality
Using the Rewards and Recognition
If you have any agent that reaches or exceed a goal, its critical to give them recognition for their hard work. Different ways to incentivize and reward work can be through things like preferential scheduling, work from home days, and many more. Have a lunch to congratulate your agents, to make sure they know they’re appreciated.
Pick out your top performing agents and give them the opportunity to help and mentor new agents. If you find an agent that is excelling in their position, allowing them to mentor is a great way to recognize them for their work and grow their leadership skills. At the same time, new agents will then have a source of helpful information from someone that may have been in their shoes not long ago.
Though new agents will be getting a lot of training at the start of their hire, continuous training and coaching is important with your agents. Be sure to meet one on one with agents periodically to get feedback and make sure they are on track to meet their goals. Besides personal coaching sessions, it’s a good idea to implement group training for all of your agents to go over important and ensure that expectations are set and that everyone is one the same page.