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5 Tips to Create a More Engaging Remote Training Experience

New agent trainingTraining new contact center agents remotely can be challenging. When your new agents are in an entirely different location, it is difficult to know if they are engaged and learning what they need to during training. Remote training doesn’t have to feel disconnected and boring; it can be a positive experience for your contact center reps when you get everyone involved.

Here are five tips to help you create a more engaging remote training experience for your employees.

Turn cameras on!

Do not be afraid to require that reps turn on their cameras. While your contact center reps may be reluctant to keep their cameras on, having cameras on is beneficial to both the new hires and the trainers. Not only does this give you more confidence that reps are actually there, but it helps your reps connect with each other.

Have a schedule and stick to it

Breaks are an important part of training, but breaks also can become a problem if they aren’t properly scheduled and transitions aren’t planned. It’s common to say you’re going to have a 15-minute break only to have it turn into a 30-minute break. It’s also common to spend the first 10 minutes back from break shooting the breeze and wasting time.

If you want to give people a chance to talk when they come back from break, say your break is going to be 10 minutes. Then do a “get to know you” activity for 5 minutes before starting up again. Regardless of what you decide, stick to it! Schedule your breaks and have a plan for how to get straight back into work when the break ends.

Use breakout rooms

Zoom (and I’m sure other) virtual training applications allow you to incorporate breakout groups into your exercises. People are often afraid to unmute themselves and speak up in front of a larger group. They have thoughts and questions and ideas, but they don’t want to interrupt you or sound stupid. Breakout rooms give everyone a chance to speak freely, process questions, and go through exercises without the fear of looking incompetent in front of the larger group.

One way to use breakout rooms is to practice different call situations. Present a scenario and have everyone practice in breakout rooms. Even if the way they practice in the breakout room isn’t perfect, it gives them a chance to try it. Then return to the main room and have a few people demonstrate what they did so you can provide feedback to everyone.

Another way to use breakout rooms is to give everyone a chance to mingle. When a presenter is on Zoom, everyone feels obligated to address the presenter. In breakout rooms, reps speak to one another without feeling pressure to speak only to the presenter.

Note: Be aware that timing the breakout rooms is really difficult. For some activities, five minutes is too long for breakout rooms. For other activities, it’s not nearly enough. You can always pop in to see whether it’s time to close the breakout rooms or extend them a bit more.

Move lecturing to courses or videos

Avoid lectures or lengthy presentations in your virtual training sessions. Lecturing over Zoom can be very boring. Same with demonstrating how to use software, learning policies, and other information dumps.

If you need to dispense information, consider how that could be done with videos or a course. If you can, offload the lectures to self-paced options and have reps go through those before meeting in person.

When you give them time to take the self-paced courses before meeting with a training group, they can be prepared with a basic understanding of the concepts and principles, which will allow for them to come up with better questions and comments when you are meeting together. This allows for you to spend your time together in the most productive way — doing things like activities and practice exercises that they may not be able to do on their own.

Focus on activities that simulate on-the-job situations

Provide your contact center agents with hands-on experience. Create activities — like scenario-based training — that simulate on-the-job situations. This will teach your reps how to handle different types of calls coming in.

As part of your breakout rooms, have your reps role-play different scenarios they will encounter on the job. Present a realistic problem/situation/scenario/question and leave it to reps to solve.

They can practice taking a call by taking turns as the contact center agent and the customer. Point them to the resources that help solve the scenario they are practicing (e.g. knowledge base, job aids). Then let your reps spend some time figuring it out.

Essentially, it is on-the-job training, but you’re doing it during training. Not only does this get them engaged, but it also teaches them valuable problem-solving skills that they’ll need when they hit the contact center floor.

Topics: Remote And Virtual Teams, Onboarding, Employee Experience