6 Proven Strategies to Quickly Onboard Support Team Members

Emily GregorLast updated on June 23, 2023
5 min

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Onboarding support team members is a time-intensive and expensive process for businesses. However, that doesn’t mean it should be skipped over or deprioritized. Delivering an effective onboarding process is essential for both building engaged, knowledgeable teams, and setting yourself up to provide an experience that delights customers. On the other hand, getting onboarding wrong can lead to high-turnover rates, frustrated clients, and higher costs to your business in the long run.

With the average small-to-medium business spending upwards of $40,000 per year on onboarding alone, it’s important that efforts are focused on areas that will drive value. That means both ensuring new support agents are able to rapidly ramp up productivity and motivating and inspiring them. Turnover can be high in support roles, and this only further adds to costs, with the price of replacing a worker coming to as much as 33% of their annual salary

So how can you improve your support onboarding process, boost team engagement, and empower agents to build meaningful connections with your customers? Let’s take a look. 

Six Ways to Improve Your Onboarding Process 

1. Give hires dedicated time for training 

The first thing you need to do to improve your onboarding process is make sure you’ve actually got time dedicated to that process. When you make a new hire, don’t expect them to start working at the same level as experienced employees immediately—"sink or swim" is a recipe for stressed agents and poor customer service. 

Instead, have a clear plan for what’s expected through the first 30 days, with training sessions and management check-ins peppered throughout to build their skills and confidence. Ensure they also have clear touchpoints, such as a peer-group buddy and a line manager, who are always on hand to answer questions and offer guidance. Taking this little bit of extra time and care at the start will make a big difference to their abilities, engagement, and your business. 

2. Break up training sessions 

Your onboarding process isn’t all about imparting as much information as possible, all at once. People learn better when information is spread out over multiple different sessions. This is known as the "spacing effect", and it’s why students who attend all their classes over a semester will do better than those who try and cram everything in the night before.

The same goes for your support team. Giving them 40 hours of training in week one and then setting them loose will be less impactful than delivering those sessions in bite-size chunks over several weeks. Spread the formal training sessions out and intersperse them with on-the-job experiences to maximize their value.

3. Clean up your training resources

Too often, training resources can feel like an afterthought. That’s particularly true when they’re bloated, unclear, or out of date. If your training resources have gathered digital dust, it’s time for some spring-cleaning. 

Take a look through and filter resources by theme, create dedicated folders on your internal server or cloud drive, and build a checklist for which resources should be shared and when.

4. Diversify your onboarding sessions to accommodate different learning styles

There’s no right or wrong way to learn. Some people like to read through instructions, others prefer videos or audio resources, and some will want to learn by doing.

While there’s a limit to just how expansive your onboarding program can be, try to provide variety in how you’re approaching training. You might even want to offer optional modules to choose between—for example, one with a live interaction with customers and another that involves role-playing it with a manager. By offering these different approaches, you can build an onboarding program that’s valuable to everyone. 

5. Invest in a dedicated onboarding team

When you first start out, it’s likely you can manage onboarding from within your existing support team. However, as you scale your business, you’ll reach a point when it’s time to build a dedicated onboarding function. It may be that you’ve secured funding, are releasing a new product, or are entering a new market. In those moments, having a dedicated onboarding team can enable you to grow quickly without draining resources from your existing support staff or overwhelming your hiring manager. 

Meanwhile, with a dedicated team, you gain the benefits of a consistent experience for new hires. You also reduce the risks of those hires being left to develop expert syndrome—in which they assume they know everything they need because they haven’t had the gaps in their knowledge revealed to them.

6. Streamline your tech stack

How you use technology has a big impact on the overall level of onboarding you can provide. A disjointed tech stack can mean support agents lose track of progress, miss crucial updates, or are unable to deliver effective support for customers. On the other hand, with the right technology, they can flourish in their roles while receiving a helping hand from more experienced members of the team when needed. 

At the heart of many support teams will be a dedicated business phone solution that integrates with other essential business tools like their help desk and CRM. This enables those crucial tools to share information with each other and can help new hires easily find the details they need—like previous customer interactions or purchase history—that help them deliver a memorable experience.

Beyond integrations, features like call whispering—which enables a manager to coach a new hire on a live call without the customer being made aware—can also streamline the onboarding process. Meanwhile, automatic transcription powered by AI can help new agents reflect on their customer interactions and refine their approach. On top of this, call recordings can enable new hires to hear real customer interactions to help prepare them for their role.

Together, features like these provide every new hire with the tools they need to confidently communicate with customers while also being able to tap the wider team for help when needed. 

Streamlining Your Onboarding Approach 

Now you’ve got the basics of improving your support onboarding approach, it's time to start putting them into practice. But fear not—we’re still here to lend a hand. To help kick-start your journey, we’ve built a free template that can act as a guide for your onboarding process timeline, and the documentation and training you should be sharing. 

Ready to take your support team to the next level? Try Aircall today to unlock their potential.

Published on June 12, 2023.

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