Having been involved in call centre training in a range of environments for over a decade now, the team and I here at Day One have gained a thorough understanding of what works and what doesn’t. This experience spans quick compliance modules for small businesses through to extensive and complex programmes for major, global brands.
I’ve seen a lot of tricks and tactics to try and engage learners more and make onboarding and skills development faster and more effective. I’ve also read lots of articles on the topic (as well as contributing to a few) and have been part of many lively conversations and debates on the subject.
There’s so much good and great advice out there that I thought it would be helpful to distill it down to just a few key points – those offering the biggest, quickest wins and the best value.
So here we go – my top 10 tips for effective call centre training:
1. Start off with the basics
Gradually build up knowledge based on what your learners already know. This adds to a feeling of being in control for the learner and helps to build confidence.
2. Personalise training to individual needs and link it directly to their role
It’s easy for learners to become disengaged if they get the impression that training is a box ticking exercise that may rarely benefit them personally – if ever. Ideally, training content will prove to be useful quickly for each member of the team – reinforcing the learning and helping each learner to see benefits.
3. Encourage learners to think, not just remember facts
Call centre workers are being asked to deal with a higher number of complex queries. Provide your learners with problem-solving training so they understand how important it is to explore options and think on the spot to resolve matters to the customer’s satisfaction.
4. Use simulations and scenarios
Training delivery that is as true to life as possible is shown to be the most effective. Simulated systems allow your learners to practise skills in a safe environment. Ensure that your learners are skilled in listening to your customers by providing opportunities for roleplay – buddying up with peers in scenario based training exercises.
5. Make learning content available any time, anywhere
Provide opportunity for your learners to really get to know your systems and access the information/advice/data that they need 24/7.
6. Allow your learners to listen to recordings of their practice calls
A call centre advisor’s voice is a very important tool in the objective of providing an excellent customer experience. Ensure your learners understand the optimum volume, tone and phrasing in order to promote your brand values by providing opportunities to hear your top-performers in action. Let them practice in non-threatening situations – with other learners by playing back their own calls, or in phone-based roleplay.
7. Use a mix of media to deliver information
Everyone is different – some people react better to text, audio, graphics or video based content. By making content available using a mix of media, you can help your trainees learn in the way that works best for them.
8. Incorporate micro-learning principles
Remember that your learners will have slow/down times during their shift. Build short chunks of elearning so that they can access those pearls of wisdom from their desktop when they have a free 10 minutes.
9. Ensure your training content is adaptable to changing needs
Creating training content should not be a ‘set and forget project’. Ensure that you have a system that allows you to update your content without starting from scratch with content development. Your systems, policies and processes will evolve, so your training should too.
10. Before training starts – recruit for a love of customer care vs a good interviewee with a strong CV
Attitude is king. Recruit advisors who get a genuine buzz out of talking to and helping your customers, and train the rest of the stuff they need to know.
As the best tools, techniques and best practices for effective call centre training are constantly changing and progressing, I’ll return to and update this post in the future. In the meantime, I hope these tips prove useful for you!