Featured Image for the blog: 5 Contact Center Training Tips to Boost Efficiency

Every business wants to improve their customer experience – drop fewer calls, build brand loyalty, and resolve cases faster. That’s why it’s important to have a plan in place to improve your team’s efficiency.

Contact center training is every bit as critical as hiring the right agents and adopting new technologies. But how do you build a more efficient team without being forceful or creating a stressful environment?

Here are five contact center training tips to boost productivity while you lean up your team’s processes.

1. Offer pre-introduction training

They’ve signed on the dotted line, given their previous employer a two weeks notice and they’re gearing up to come onboard with your team. Start building your culture of collaboration and trust now.

A 2016 study from Oracle on Global Engagement shows productivity starts with onboarding. A slim 41 percent of new hires felt their onboarding set them up for success.

Employees ultimately decide if they’d like to stay with a company during the first two weeks of employment. That means, within the first 14 days, your freshman hire is already thinking, “Is this the right fit? Can I see myself grow here? Is my manager a mentor and am I getting introduced to the right people and tools to perform my job well?”

Kick off onboarding before your new agent steps foot into your contact center. Send out a new hire package, equipped with an agenda for the first week, background and culture tid-bits on the company, basic product information and compliance procedures. If you’ve got the budget, set up a training portal with videos and training exercises that they’re required to complete before they start.

2. Have a self-study training library

Speaking of training portals, it’s a good idea to keep an online training library for team members. Stock it with every training material you have available: videos, product documentation, procedures, internal blog/wiki articles, etc. Task one of your fellow managers or admins with keeping it organized and up to date, and have agents refer to it first whenever they have a question.

3. Personalize your training

Align your learning with the needs of your agents. Beyond skill and relevancy, we all learn different. Some look for detailed instruction, others need to get their hands on a process to absorb it. Still others take in knowledge through repetition while some are quick to grasp concepts.

Adapting lessons based on an agent’s needs can move training from a necessary evil that CEOs would love to burn at the stake to a “strategic powerhouse,” says Charles Smith, founder and chief research officer at Knowledge Factor. “In every single industry, there’s between 25 and 35 percent constantly held misinformation in a person’s brain,” he explains. “If you eliminate that, you can dramatically enhance the performance of an organization and, at the end of the day, help employees be more productive and successful.”

Personalized learning doesn’t have to be overly cumbersome, either. It largely involves making sure there are several ways to learn the same content.

4. Keep the training interactive

Think about the last training you went to for a new process designed to make life easier. Although a little burned out, you headed back to work after training, excited to use what you learned. You sat down at your desk, turned on your computer, and the excitement began to fade into an insatiable anxiety.

You forgot what to do first.

As humans, we tend to forget past information once new information is introduced to our minds. Research from the SAVO Group showed an average person will forget 65 percent of material learned in a training session just a week after training. And another 90 percent will forget that information in 6 months. Traditional training methods aren’t working.

A 2015 study from the Harvard Business School found participates who were asked to stop and reflect on what they’d just learned improved the retention of their training at a greater rate than those who just practiced a task. By creating an interactive training with frequent and deliberate reflection breaks, learning will be quicker and it’ll stick.

5. Impromptu coaching

In a corporate landscape as ephemeral as Snapchat, one where 280 characters equals fully-formed thought processes, the idea of holding back feedback can mean you’re holding back on results.

When you give in the moment feedback, you’re showing your team that you don’t ignore problems – not even temporarily. And it shows you acknowledge good performance, when it happens.

Impromptu coaching can help your agents to remember what’s happened and what they need to do more or less of moving forward. And then it builds up your agents’ trust in you. It shows you’re there to help them produce the best work of their careers.