Make Training Count Tip 10: Time is Currency

Concluding my series, Make Training Count: 10 Tips to Increase ROI, here is my final tip.

In the call center, we need to realize that time is currency! There are only so many hours in a day - how and where you spend those hours is indicative of who –and what- are the most important elements in your center.

Over the years, ICMI has encountered some consistent customer expectations, including, "Meet your commitments and keep your promises." So what does this have to do with training? Plenty! When you consider that our customers are both internal (our employees) and external, training plays a critical part of this commitment.

When we hire our employees, or internal customers, we make promises to them that involve training. These include:

  • To provide them with the tools and knowledge to ensure they are properly equipped to be successful in their jobs.
  • To assist them in continuously developing their skills, knowledge and abilities from a developmental perspective.

So, if or when we consistently cancel, move, change training, what message does that send to our employees? What are the potential long-term consequences? What about the impact that this has on our external customers? Yes, it is true that if we cancel a training session, the short-term impact on our external customers may be a positive one, in that we answer their contacts in a timely manner. However, what about the long term? The reality is that over time, this decision will negatively impact the customer experience (and in turn the organization).

Now, lets consider the impact on our external customers (and the organization) in the event that the training is:

  • Designed to keep representatives informed about a set of new procedures, products or services.
  • About handling challenging customer situations
  • To assist representatives in better identifying customer needs.
  • About contact center principles and the importance of reps adhering to their schedule (so they can be there for the customer!)

As already stated, time is currency. The bottom line is, if we decide not to spend too much of our time in or canceling training, the short-term return will be that the contact center and the customer get some "time back" because we’ve expanded capacity and ensured a quick response. However, in the long term, we may find ourselves in a significant deficit and a negative balance in our currency bank.

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Linda Riggs — 8:13AM on Sep 29, 2011

Great article, Rose! When we change or cancel training schedules, the impact on our agents is profound. The message they receive is that the training isn't that important, or we'd make it a priority. This affects how they use what they've learned as well. I'd love to hear from those companies who are making it a priority and have them share their success stories!

Jen Freund — 8:45AM on Oct 3, 2011

I would have to agree great article! Our agents take their ques from us and if we do not make training a priority, then they probably won't either.