ICMI is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


5 Contact Center Training Trends to Watch in 2018

From fashion to food, pop culture to consumer behavior, everyone is looking for the next big thing. The search for upcoming trends is so prevalent that a Google search for ‘trending’ results in millions of videos, news stories, tweets, and blog posts. But thousands of people across the globe are impacted by one specific set of trends—the future of contact center training in the coming year.

Call Center Training

Contact center training has evolved a lot over the years, and it’s becoming more sophisticated as better technology and tools hit the market. These changes and trends are important to understand: They help leaders stay ahead of accelerating expectations from both contact center agents and customers—which is key to contact center success. Here are five training trends to watch—and consider implementing—for a successful 2018:

Optimize training for speed

Speed should be at the heart of every contact center training experience. Most contact center leaders associate speed with ramp time from new hire to full-fledged contact center agent. While this is key, contact centers should also focus on the level of change inside the organization. Teams need to adapt to create and provide training that reflects these changes quickly and efficiently. The ability to adapt and provide productive learning about new info, products, procedures, and services defines call center success. These changes are never-ending, and contact center agents need to know how to sell and support them. Therefore, training must reflect updates in real-time. Contact centers who provide on-going training to keep up with the ever-changing world around them will stay ahead of customer needs and perform at a higher level than those who don’t.

Customize training for each learner

One-size-fits-all training is no longer sufficient to meet the unique needs of agents. They expect and require training that meets the needs of their specific job role and function within the contact center. To do this leaders must shift their focus from creating a blanket training program, to producing customized learning paths for each contact center role. These journeys should also incorporate the entire learning experience—from new hire to a seasoned team member. Every employee is on a unique journey and brings individual goals, strengths, and opportunities for their call center team. Customized training paths that focus on both onboarding and ongoing training will drive higher employee engagement and better business outcomes than ever before.

Bite-sized training works

“Microlearning” is a new buzzword in the training dictionary. It provides training that is broken down into bite-sized pieces in order to educate agents without requiring a vast time investment. These training sessions are focused on a single subject and typically range from five to 15-minute increments.

Looking for creative ways to boost employee engagement or improve agent training? Join Lessonly this May at ICMI Contact Center Expo. 

Today, employees devote one percent of their time to learning, but check their phones 150 times a day. Microlearning is ideal for contact center agents who are very busy fielding calls, engaging in chat sessions, and responding to emails. This training technique doesn’t take much time to deliver and can be delivered during agent idle time. Furthermore, microlearning lowers the barrier of learning engagement. While most typical learning experiences focus on too many things during too long of a time period, microlearning is easy to digest and allows agents time to properly reflect on what they are learning—right from their desks.

Increase social learning

An overwhelming 98% of companies want to support the sharing of good practices and knowledge across teams via in-house social networks or functionality. Social learning aids training by making it a shared activity among contact center agents. Adaptive technologies such as chat boxes, forums, and Slack can reinforce critical learning concepts for agents while on the job. This is also key because employees tend to be more successful when they work and learn in group settings. This type of setting provides motivation, promotes team camaraderie, and improves an agent’s ability to learn and perform.

AR/VR as a practice tool

While augmented and virtual reality is nothing new in the gaming world, it is gaining popularity in the training world. These cutting-edge technologies provide useful applications in educational training sessions, especially for contact center agents. Instead of watching videos, or listening to a recorded interaction, leaders can place agents in roleplay situations where they gain hands-on-experience and practice their skills. Imagine placing an agent in an augmented or virtual reality that is high-stakes, emotional, and stressful. This low-risk scenario provides an excellent opportunity for learners to demonstrate their skills and gain key insights into emotional intelligence—a key factor that can make a break a customer interaction. AR and VR are fantastic opportunities for agents to practice and perfect their skills that will result in improved customer satisfaction and rep performance.

These training trends may come and go after 2018. But, one thing is for certain: agents and teams that apply these training movements in the new year will prime their contact centers for long-run success—and that fad never goes out of style.