There is no better gauge as to the importance of customer experience when engaging with a brand’s contact centre than the millions of social media complaints that consumers have about their experience.

If agents don’t have proper training and tools, they are not only unable to do their jobs, but may be damaging your brand.

10 ways to really kick goals and create agent success include:

  1. Create a Plan

The value of having a well-developed and executed plan is paramount. Having a plan in place will consolidate all the learning and development required for an agent and progression within their roles. Incorporating industry best practice and key milestones is key, along with the continual updating and development of the plan to suit changing business environments and new ways of thinking.

  1. Continuous Training 

Continuous training is key to a contact centre’s longevity and performance. Providing steady growth and development for your staff is crucial to maintaining KPIs. As technology and social circumstances change, training procedures must also keep up to date.

Most individuals need to be stimulated in their professional careers. By implementing solutions like gamification, training becomes more engaging and contact centres can deliver superior professional development. It has been shown that 94% of employees would have remained at a company for longer if their company invested more in their career development.

  1. Start Onboarding Before The First Call

By starting the onboarding process before an agent begins their time on the phones, they’re already familiar with the environment and are often less overwhelmed on their first day. This can include an introduction to the contact centre environment in the interview process.

According to Aberdeen Group, 83% of the highest-performing organisations began onboarding prior to an agent’s first day. Beginning the onboarding process beforehand lets managers use their time effectively by scheduling the simple and administrative tasks to be completed at home by an online automated system. By implementing an online onboarding process, contact centres can expect to see a dramatic improvement in training efficiency.

  1. Train and Refresh New and Existing Staff on the Power of One Principles

The “Power of One” is among the most important principles to introduce to new hires and reinforce with experienced agents. Regardless of the size of your contact centre, every agent has the power to influence customer perception, improve speed of answer, keep occupancy at a reasonable level, hold down your costs and in the end, maximize customer lifetime value.  Unfortunately, many of your staff don’t realise this, so it is important to teach these principles during the onboarding process and continually refer to and reemphasize their importance to existing staff.

  1. Shadow Program 

Creating a shadow learning program in your contact centre is a commonly used method of training new agents.

This method simultaneously achieves two important things:

1) it develops a sense of leadership amongst more experienced agents, builds employee engagement and opens doors for professional development

2) it gives agents a role model in the workforce, providing a model of their expectations and their professional pathway, while helping them learn soft skills that are harder to explicitly train.

By creating a shadow program, new agents have an opportunity to become familiar with the workplace culture. Research states that best-in-class organisations prioritise new agents and introduce them to their team early on in their training, resulting in revenue increases for full time employees of up to 17% due to its impact on employee training.

  1. Provide The Right Tools

Providing the right tools and technology is necessary for numerous reasons as they can significantly impact an employee’s experience of working in the contact centre.  Mobile apps that enable staff to view their schedule, apply for leave and swap shifts, regardless of their location are a great way to make life easier for contact centre staff thus increasing their engagement.

Intelligent Automation can also improve the efficiency of the centre by making it easier for staff to adhere to their schedule. For example, if an agent is stuck on a call, intelligent automation can see that they are on a call and move their break to when the call ends thus removing the need for a team leader or Workforce Planner to do so.  This helps improve staff engagement and efficiency in the centre.

  1. Clear Objectives (KPIs)

Setting clear objectives is very similar to creating a plan; it provides purpose and structure which is a key contributing factor to motivate employees and monitor progress. When setting out agent KPIs, they should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely) and clearly understood by the agent. By developing short-term and long-term KPIs, agents are provided with the necessary framework and guidance to accomplish high performance results.

  1. Feedback

Providing agent feedback is one of the most crucial aspects of any agent’s training. Without the correct feedback and guidance, agents will continue to use the knowledge they initially obtained rather than learning new things and adopting new approaches to improve efficiency and optimise performance. It’s found that 82% of employees appreciate both positive and negative feedback and use it to improve their performance and work towards exceeding customer expectations. Keep in mind that too much negative feedback is not good and will affect an employee’s confidence and experience.

  1. Vary Your Training Methods

Incorporating different methods of training is crucial to appeal to different learning types. The four typical learning methods are visual learners, auditory learners, kinaesthetic learners and reading/writing learners. Each of these learning methods responds differently to various training. As a result, it’s important to develop a comprehensive training program to utilise a wide range of learning methods.

  1. Team Meetings

Hosting regular team meetings is vital to building teamwork and collaborative learning in any workforce. Jobs within the contact centre industry can typically feel isolated by constantly responding to customer queries with minimal time for cross-team communication. Hosting meetings provides another dimension to an employee’s development within their role and further delivers the foundation and substance to build an inclusive and engaging workforce culture. It’s important to note that contact centres should give meetings a purpose and structure. Surveys show that 55% of people have wasted one or more hours within their week on pointless meetings, which is why it’s important to plan and create a meeting agenda.