Latest Contact Center Best Practices

Feb 26

3 Tips to Effectively Train your Call Center’s Agents

Posted by Rachel Brink on Feb 26, 2015 11:47:43 AM
Costing roughly $5,800 annually, employee acquisition and development is one of the more expensive and time-consuming line items on any company balance sheet. As it relates specifically to the call center space, an industry that has long been associated with extremely high employee turnover rates and low employee engagement, many managers have increasingly sought to mitigate the impact of low employee retention by enhancing the quality of their training programs. And with just a moderate 2% increase in employee productivity generally covering the entire cost of any training initiative, it’s hard to argue against the investment.

Among the benefits:

  • Reduced agent turnover: 41% of employees plan to leave organizations with a “poor” training score as opposed to just 12% for those organizations with a rating of “good”.
  • Improved Employee Engagement: 65% of employees say the quality of training and learning opportunities positively influences their engagement.
  • Less Repeat Calls: 60% of all repeat calls are process or training driven.
  • Higher Income and Profit Margins: Companies with comprehensive training programs experience 218% higher income per employee, 24% higher profit margins.

But while there is no denying the success of high quality training programs, many companies and contact centers fail to deliver employees the tools and guidance they need to efficiently perform their jobs. In fact, 31% of Americans believe employers are unwilling to train new hires for the specific skills they need. And 41% state lacked any training in the past two years. But they want it—in fact, 27% of employed Americans have stated a willingness to invest their own money each year for relevant skills training. So, how can organizations enhance the quality of their training programs, efficiently and cost effectively, to drive both agent and company performance?

Clearly define grading metrics and expectations: When asked the primary reasons for high employee turnover, 31% of contact center managers cite lack of understanding of personal and company goals and targets. By clearly defining which KPIs and metrics agents will be graded on (schedule adherence, call resolution, conversion rate, customer satisfaction, call abandonment, etc.), reduce employee anxiety and enhance the overall success of the organization. In addition, the use of gamification can be an effective added approach to help encourage and maintain a “healthy competition” between agents while keeping company objectives clear.

Share the wins and losses: Most companies experience the majority of their growth, not by virtue of making their best employees better, but by improving the performance of those struggling to perform. As a result, true performance growth can only be achieved if the transfer of information and knowledge from the most experienced agents to the least experienced ones exists. Successes, as well as failures, must be open topics for discussion and reflection to allow every member of the team to benefit from another’s experiences and expertise. The sharing of call recordings, as a simple example, is a quick and easy way to provide others insights into what went well, what could have been better, and how to address similar challenges in the future. As the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats.

Sometimes it’s a matter of coaching rather than training: While training is certainly the foundation to any employee’s success within an organization, coaching is the key to keeping agents happy and productive. In fact, organizations focusing on both training and coaching experience an 88% increase in productivity, compared to just a 22.4% increase for those focusing on training alone. It can also play a vital role regarding employee retention, profitability, and customer satisfaction, with organizations focusing on frequent coaching experiencing 56% higher customer loyalty. Remember, like any investment, employees require attention which implies basic training will always fall short without the added support of ongoing coaching to complement those efforts.


Topics: contact center software, call center software, best business practices, virtual assist, agent productivity, agent retention, agent training, agent turnover, business intelligence, gamification, employee turnover, employee engagement, agent attrition, agent coaching

Rachel Brink

Written by Rachel Brink

Rachel Brink is the Marketing Manager at 3CLogic with over four years of experience in sales and customer service. In her role, she routinely shares best practices regarding how to streamline business communications and enhance the customer experience through innovative technologies and processes.