Your sales or support call center is a hub of activity. The right people, training, and call center training materials ensure that your call center agents are working hard to enhance the customer experience, even when tasks are piling up. Call center training materials provide your employees with the knowledge and skills to interact with your customers professionally and confidently, as well as perform better under pressure.
The problem is figuring out exactly which call center training materials you should use to achieve this. Do you have to develop your own materials from scratch? Are there any available to plug and play? What should training materials include to yield the best results?
In this article, we’ll look at some of the best practices for call center training. We’ll also take a look at the tools and technologies available for training call center agents. Finally, we’ll see how developing agents’ skills can dramatically improve the customer experience.
You can expect rave reviews from your customers if you follow three steps:
- Use a cloud-based phone system and other software integrations to improve the training process
- Apply call center training materials effectively
- Develop a comprehensive call center training program.
What Are Call Center Training Materials?
Call center training materials generally consist of:
- Cloud-based phone system
- Call scripts
- Quality assurance software
- A training program
Cloud-Based Phone System
A cloud-based phone system can be used in several different ways to train call center agents.
If you’re using a good cloud-based phone system, it should already come with or be compatible with quality assurance software, which you can use for call center training purposes. Quality assurance software typically offers features like call recordings, AI tools, and call transcription. All of these can bring several benefits when incorporated into your agent training program.
Call scripts are a good tool for agent training, as they give agents a basis for what to say during calls. That’s not to say that call center agents have to say what’s on the script verbatim – instead, call scripts should be used as a general guide for how to handle various types of calls.
You can set up a line for training purposes to allow call center agents to practice making and receiving calls using call scripts.
A good cloud phone system also offers dashboard analytics for assessing KPIs and metrics. It’s helpful for your call center agents to get familiar with the type of data you’re using to assess their performance. Giving them access to this information during training will help them understand the goals they’re trying to meet, and will help improve performance overall.
Finally, you need an overall standard training program that takes your new hires through an assessment process, orientation, initial training, performance review, and ongoing training.
How to Provide the Right Call Center Training Materials
The benefit of establishing a comprehensive call center training program is that you can implement the right call center training materials at each stage of the training process.
- During the call center agent assessment process before hiring agents, you could ask them to read call scripts and practice them with a partner to assess how well they can think on their feet.
- The orientation process is a good time to share how you use metrics, KPIs, and dashboard analytics to evaluate the performance of teams and individuals.
- During the initial training, many call center managers take advantage of their cloud-based phone system’s training features, like call monitoring and call whispering:
- Call monitoring gives you an opportunity to listen in on calls and offer personalized coaching for as long as you need to.
- Call whispering is a feature that allows you to “whisper” suggestions to call center agents during calls without the customer hearing you.
- The initial training period is also a good time to train call center agents how to use self-service software, so they can get immediate answers to questions during live calls.
Use call center software quality assurance (QA) programs to help you identify call center agent strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, it will help you in developing strategies to improve agent performance as soon as possible.
Samples of quality assurance call center software:
- Enthu – Uses automated conversation intelligence to identify calls that need urgent QA attention. Enthu captures insights from every customer interaction, and it can analyze calls in just a few seconds.
- EvaluAgent – Imports conversations in real-time for a faster review process, and lets you create custom filters to eliminate duplicate entries. With EvaluAgent, you can randomly assign calls, reduce missed opportunities through feedback and coaching, and gamify feedback to improve agent performance.
- Klaus – Identifies and fixes gaps in team knowledge, measures quality, tracks trends, and provides actionable insights for improving performance based on key metrics. This also helps new agents up to speed faster.
- MaestroQA – Grades customer interactions across phone and other communication channels. With MaestroQA, you can view reports which cover all team members and channels. It also lets you leave time-stamped feedback on customer calls, automate grading assignments, and make data-driven decisions more easily.
How to Evaluate the Performance of Your Call Center
Evaluating your call center’s performance is an active and ongoing process. Fortunately, there are many tools available to help you streamline performance evaluations. The right tools give you the ability to evaluate your call center on an individual, team, and company-wide level, helping you spot areas for improvement and ensure goals are being met.
The dashboard analytics feature of your cloud-based phone system should be your main source of information when evaluating call center performance. A cloud phone system that’s equipped with a live feed feature will even give you insight into call center activity in real-time. It’s a great way to get a snapshot of what’s going on in your call center at any given moment.
Customized reports also help you identify positive and negative trends in performance, so you can gauge what’s working and what’s not when it comes to meeting your business and sales objectives.
HubSpot’s 7 main call center metrics to measure call center performance:
- Customer satisfaction – Uses NPS or other rating software to get immediate customer feedback
- First-call resolution – Reports the number of calls that are resolved on the customer’s first call
- Service level – Shows the number of calls that are answered within a certain time frame
- Call availability – Shows how often call center agents are available to take calls
- Contact quality – Gives a qualitative report on courtesy, professionalism, and effectiveness
- Abandon rate – Shows the percentage of calls that were dropped or terminated by the customer
- Average handling rate – Indicates the average amount of time that call center reps are spending on calls
Evaluating your call center performance based on these metrics is made much easier when you use a quality cloud-based phone system. A virtual phone system automatically and continuously captures and reports on data. Review the results to form a clear picture of how your call center is performing. Use this information to continually improve your call center.
Call Center Skills Best Practices
By improving call center skills and following these call center training best practices, you can increase sales, reduce costs, and help your call center operations become more efficient.
15 call center best practices to help you improve your call center training program:
- Train call center reps how to leverage the advantages of technology, while still providing personalized customer service.
- Set up workflows that enable call center agents to resolve issues quickly and appropriately.
- Train call center agents on how to use multiple communication channels efficiently and expertly when handling calls in your contact center.
- When deciding how to scale your contact center, make sure you account for ramp time. Make sure to allocate more time to training call center representatives during the onboarding phase.
- Train your call center agents in the area of soft skills. These should include social skills, people skills, and social and emotional intelligence.
- Offer regular refresher training sessions. Customize training for each call center agent as much as possible.
- Engage your call center agents by communicating effectively and noting outstanding performances.
- Develop a structured interview process that takes job candidates through a process of tasks and assessments, chooses the best performers in the group, and trains them together.
- Implement quality assurance software that uses speech analytics and other tools to score calls automatically and deliver feedback quickly to your agents.
- Use automated survey tools. Especially ones that let you gauge customer satisfaction immediately after a call and share the results with your call center agents.
- Train your call center agents how to replace negative language with positive language to keep calls upbeat and professional.
- Make sure your training program includes best practises and methods for continually improving the customer experience.
- Prioritize key metrics and KPIs that directly relate to your call center’s goals and objectives.
- Set up a career progression path for call center agents to outline ways they can advance through your company.
- Ask your call center agents for feedback and utilize it as often as possible, so they feel that they’re contributing.
How the Right Call Center Training Improves Customer Experience
Happy customers are loyal customers, and loyal customers are the key to boosting revenue. The right call center training puts your company on the path to delivering a good customer experience with every interaction.
There are 4 ways that the right call center training improves the customer experience:
- Good call center training reduces hold times. Nobody likes to wait on hold listening to dead air. Worse still is when calls get dropped – this is something customers really dislike. The right training helps call center agents answer calls quickly, transfer calls quickly, and call customers back in a timely manner, if need be.
- Call center training ensures calls get routed to the right call center agents for efficient call flow. Design your call center to handle large numbers of calls in the fastest and most effective way possible. The right training ensures that call center agents are able to efficiently forward calls to agents who can handle them. This ensures customers don’t get passed from department to department without their issue being resolved.
- The most productive call center agents are confident that they have the right training. Especially if they know how to use it effectively. One of the many challenges of working in a call center is that peak call volumes can become overwhelming. When call center agents are unhappy in the call center, this fact won’t go unnoticed by customers, and it can have a major impact on the customer experience overall. On the other hand, when the call center environment is happy and upbeat, it naturally improves the customer experience.
- The right call center training teaches customer service agents how long they should be spending on each call. If rushed calls become the habit, it leaves callers feeling like a number rather than a valued customer. If they spend too much time on calls, the interactions start to feel unprofessional. Good training will help call center agents find the perfect balance.
Aircall designed its functions and features to support these best practices for call center training.
Aircall is a modern phone system that connects all your business tools together. It lets you monitor call center performance, simplify training, and streamline operations, all in a single interface.
Aircall is also an intuitive and user-friendly call center software. Our software makes it easier than ever to train agents and conduct quality assurance reviews across multiple channels.