Published: August 14, 2018 | Comments
Time is money. We’ve all heard—and likely said—this phrase hundreds of times. While there’s no denying that time is a valuable resource, this mantra rings especially true for customer service managers. In the midst of juggling an influx of customer interactions, hectic schedules, and varying company resources, they also have to figure out how to maximize their team’s time and productivity.
Finding time for training is particularly challenging for the hectic environment of a contact center. In fact, one study found that, on average, employees only devote 1% of their week to learning—while nearly 40% of agents believe their current training program is neither sufficient or efficient.
It’s important for customer service managers and trainers to find ways to overcome this challenge and deliver the ongoing training that agents need. By instilling a firm commitment to ongoing learning, customer service teams will experience plenty of business value that includes:
- Improved performance: Continuous training empowers agents with essential information and gives them the confidence to do better work. Often, this results in a measurable increase in employee performance. Research indicates that companies that offer comprehensive training on a yearly basis reap 218% higher income per employee.
- Increased employee satisfaction: By investing in an agent’s personal growth, ongoing training communicates to employees that they are valued and appreciated. This positively impacts retention and engagement.
- Expanded knowledge and skills: An astounding 70% of learned information gets lost within 30 days. Ongoing training reinforces information, encourages retention, and promotes the practices of essential skills—recalibrating team members for optimal performance.
So, why do so many leaders ignore the benefits of training and stick to the status quo? The answer circles back to one issue—time. For many customer service managers and trainers, ongoing agent training means spending a significant amount of time creating content, leading classroom-style sessions, and taking agents off of the floor. However, forward-thinking teams successfully make time for ongoing agent training by utilizing a few modern training techniques. Here are three strategies that any team can use to get started.
Involve the team
For many leaders, it’s a struggle to find the time to actually design and build their team’s ongoing training program. Instead of putting the ownership on only two or three people, consider identifying other team members that can also create training content. These team members should be high-performing agents and subject-matter experts who embody key skills and traits—such as conflict resolution and effective communication.
Because they are frontline agents, these teammates can identify and deliver the training content that your team truly needs most. The benefits of working with other teammates to build content are two-fold. First, it’s easier and more efficient to build a robust training program—more hands make work light. Additionally, this process fosters employee engagement and ownership as teammates play a larger role in the training process.
Ready to make an investment in learning and development tools? Be sure to stop by the Lessonly booth at ICMI Contact Center Demo.
Keep learning short and sweet
Trying to present lengthy pieces of information during training is incredibly ineffective. Bite-sized learning, with small, focused lessons, is well-suited for ongoing agent training. Since contact center agents are busy fielding interactions, completing recurring tasks, and trying to meet goals, it’s easier to consume training content in smaller increments during idle time. Likewise, it can also take less time for content builders to create this type of learning as it only focuses on one specific topic at a time.
This bite-sized format for learning can also be leveraged for just-in-time training—right when an agent needs it. For example, if an agent is on a call with a customer who has a question about a warranty policy, the agent can access content that provides the answer they need in an instant. These ongoing, contextual training opportunities also boost learning retention and provide a much higher degree of value and relevance in comparison to long training sessions that may or may not cover the topics that agents find beneficial.
Make learning flexible and accessible
The state of training is changing, and contact centers are finding that just-in-time learning offers flexibility and accessibility that isn’t always found in classroom-style training. Training seminars take agents away from their desks and customers in order to learn, which requires strategic scheduling for everyone involved. A more efficient strategy for ongoing agent training utilizes modern learning software that offers agents the ability to review training materials—when and where it’s convenient for them.
Online training can also be paired with in-person training sessions in a way that makes them more beneficial. Companies can save hundreds of hours by sharing baseline information through online training. Then, each in-person meeting can be used to address questions and feedback from agents. This maximizes the impact of training, drives productivity, and pushes the entire team towards success.
Getting started with ongoing training
While the training needs of every contact center vary, making time for ongoing training should be consistent across every team. To keep pace with the speed of change—and competitors—ongoing training is a must-have for winning customer service teams. When leaders tap into the expertise of their team to deliver training that is short, impactful, and easily accessible, they’ll find that time is less of a challenge. Instead, it’s a tool they can use to make sure they’re operating smoothly and efficiently, so they have ample time to provide amazing customer service.