Training shouldn’t end when you agents start taking calls. It must be done continuously so you can keep enhancing the skills and updating the knowledge of your employees. Follow-up learning sessions let you introduce new customer support concepts, techniques, and practices to your call center agents. This keeps your company up-to-date and competitive.
Effective agent coaching will make your agents productive, helping drive your company to success. Check out these seven best practices for effective customer service training.
1. Identify areas that need improvement.
You must identify the areas of concern for your team and individual agents. Ask your employees what aspects of their regular workload they find difficult and how you can be of help. Only then can you design targeted skill development programs to address these performance gaps. In addition, you can also create coaching plans to help your team refine their strengths even further.
2. Gather data on employees’ performance.
To gain insights about employees’ performance, take a look at your call center metrics. You can also listen to agents’ calls and analyze previous interactions across multiple channels. This way, you can find out your agents’ training needs.
3. Encourage self-evaluation.
Self-evaluation allows employees to reflect on their performance and long-term career in your organization. You can carry this out by having an agent respond to a series of questions or fill out a questionnaire. This gives them the opportunity to assess themselves and think of ways on how to improve their skills.
4. Provide objective feedback.
Whether you’ll be delivering positive or negative feedback, you must remember to do it objectively. Rely on your metrics and observation data when evaluating your call center employees. Also, give them feedback as soon as you can, so issues can be addressed immediately.
5. Facilitate group discussions.
Encouraging employees to develop their skills isn’t your sole responsibility. You can encourage group learning experiences in the workplace. Sit down with your team and discuss the areas they’re confident in and those that give them some trouble. You can involve them in creating action plans to address the areas they find challenging. This way, you encourage agents to mentor and learn from each other.
6. Conduct role-playing activities.
An effective way to let agents develop their customer support skills is through role play. You can help your agents prepare for real-life situations without the stress and pressure of dealing with actual customers. You can ask your employees to take turns being the customer and the agents. Alternatively, you can also hold one-on-one call simulations with certain agents who need more coaching than others.
7. Track progress.
To measure the effectivity of your customer service training program, track the progress of your agents. This way, you can find out if they’re able to apply the knowledge they gained form your learning sessions. Based on their most recent performance, you can redesign your skill development plan and continue to polish their performance.