Training is critical when bringing new employees into your company and especially into your call center. Offering a full range of training should include teaching them about the company’s product or service, explaining the company’s core competencies, showing them how to listen to what the market is saying, and demonstrating how to probe to find out what potential customers want and need.
Ongoing training is meant to reinforce and build upon the basics taught during introductory training. Successful call center managers and executives must understand that valuable training occurs not only when employees join their company, but it is a crucial part of the ongoing development of their employees as they continue to excel in their position. At the completion of new employee training, agents typically only retain a fraction of the information taught; so ongoing training is imperative for keeping performance on target.
Once the intial training has taken place, additional coaching should be focused on building agents “soft skills,” including active listening skills, professional voice qualities and courtesy. Training also will include call-handling techniques that are vital to the success of a call center. At TeleNet, we have found that role playing is essential in the development of an agent and it provides opportunities for us to teach where upselling is most appropriate.
One-on-one coaching sessions, refresher training and listening to calls allows agents to further their development and become more effective on the phone. Without refining skills and constantly tweaking, agents may become complacent. By investing in additional training, your agents will be able to demonstrate more consultative selling techniques as they become experts in the vertical, product or service they specialize in.
I recently read an article by Bob Wasserman, vice president of Call Centers and Systems Integration, and he said it best,