Last Updated: February 2024
“The support I received was thorough and timely and my issue was addressed with a single interaction, thank you 🙂 “ – a happy customer.
This is the Motto of any call center company – “Make the customer happy”.
How do you achieve this success on every single call? You need to train every single agent, be it a fresher or an experienced, with the best call center agent training practices periodically and requisitely.
In this post, we’ll outline 8 call center customer service training best practices for optimal results.
- Inception/induction Training
- Speech Training
- Calls Training
- QA sessions
- Team Meetings
- Feedback/Review sessions
- Training now and then
As a fresher, the trainee has no knowledge of what is the company or job profile and call center practices. Hence this inception provides crucial training, offering a comprehensive overview for agents, guiding them in their upcoming work.
Introduce the company’s goals, missions, and culture as part of the inception training. During this period, the agent should be trained in the aspects of knowledge, skills, abilities, and culture.
- Knowledge – brief about the industry in general and then about the company and its products or services in particular and call center expectations.
- Skills – required customer support skills and technicalities like systems and software used by the company, and how to operate or use them. A thorough theoretical and practical training should be provided.
- Abilities – the vital segment of customer care/support process, ie: ability to understand customer’s problems quickly, show empathy, ability to relate to customer’s attributes and handle efficiently, ability to provide fast solutions.
- Culture – be sure to share the company’s goals, values, and ethics, and make them understand that all of these are very important as they are going to represent the company in public.
Introduce the call flow structure to the agents in the form of a script. This script should include all the aspects of customer service call center best practices and etiquette.
Train them strongly on their soft skills – attitude, communication, decision-making, etc by highlighting the importance of those attributes on sample calls.
- Call opening script – “Hi this is [your name] from [company name]. How can I help you today?”
- Complaint handling script – “ I’m so sorry to hear that [customer name]. I will need a few details to offer you a quick resolution. Can you please answer a few questions? I promise it won’t take more than [X] minutes.”
- Annoyed customer handling script – “Absolutely, [customer name]. I completely understand, and I’m so sorry this issue has come up. Let me put you through to my supervisor so they can give a prompt and easy fix on this problem.”
- Call transfer – “I completely understand, [customer name]. Let me put you through to my supervisor so we can go ahead and authorize the change on your order.”
- Hold request – “Sorry [customer name], let me put you on hold for just a moment while I check in with the [name of department] for that order.
- Follow-up calls handling – “Hi! Welcome back [customer name]! I hope we have been able to resolve your earlier issue.”
- The closing script – “We appreciate the call, [customer name]. You take care and have a great day.”
The agent should be perfectly trained to communicate in a consistent polite and friendly tone with any type of customer.
Post inception/induction training and speech training, now the agents are introduced to the practical lessons of the call process. Call center agent coaching is nothing if it doesn’t include call training.
Call training will give the agents a practical understanding of the nuances of using the requisite key factors of the call process like soft skills, and etiquette within the set call timeframes.
This can be done in 3 ways to finely nurture the agents so they can gain the confidence when they hit the floor and take their first actual call.
- Recorded calls – plan lessons with recorded calls of other agents. Better if choose examples of bad calls and good calls for a better understanding.
- Live calls – Once you familiarize the agents with example calls, now time to make them listen to live calls, to help them analyze the situation quickly and try to solve the issue. This is a kind of shadow training.
- Mock calls – Now that the agents are taught theoretically and practically, time to test their acquired skills. Conduct mock calls during the training session itself, this will ease their common nervousness about actual call handling.
Call center agent coaching becomes very effective when including senior call center agents’ and managers’ experience interactions. Most of the call center training tips and ideas emanate from these sessions, they are indeed very useful for the agents to perform tension-free.
When the seniors share their own success stories or setback situations, challenges, funny incidents, achievements, etc. is sure to inspire the newbies.
And when the management is also involved in the training phase, it will create trust in them, that the company is concerned about them, and build a sense of belonging in the very beginning stage itself.
The role of QA or Quality Analysts is pivotal in training the agents before and after they hit the floors to make actual calls. They should be made aware of this QA process of call recordings and key metrics analysis and how it helps the agents in fine-tuning their call flows.
Agents should be frequently assessed based on these KPI metrics (as shown in the image above) and be informed about the same so that they are aware of what is working and where they are going wrong.
These are team discussion sessions that involve the managers and peers, coming together more often, sometimes every week, to share and discuss the pros and cons of the week, performance of the team members, best and worst moments, challenges and ideas, basically team learning kind of an experience.
Some interesting call center innovation ideas prop from such sessions too. Managers should be open to listening to their members’ problems or requirements and try to fulfill them. Thus the whole team’s learning process is healthy and leads to improvement.
Interestingly, best practices of call center management incorporate frequent one-to-one feedback sessions, adding to periodical performance review sessions.
These are quite effective, fostering motivate, encourage, and support the agents instead of criticising them.
Recognize and reward them, make them listen to their happy customers’ testimonials, and share their success ratings, this will prove to be a very effective learning experience from their own calls, which is sure to increase productivity.
Training now and then:
Call centers’ training processes don’t stop just at one stage, as the industry keeps updating itself more often, companies make changes to their policies, products/services, etc. Hence rises the requirement of training all the freshers, seniors, as well as managers too.
Another training demanding situation is whenever any agent under-performs consistently. They are called out of the floor and given specific training one-to-one basis.
“Coaching/training can happen at any time, at any place, and it doesn’t have to be long-winded. Sometimes it is most effective to offer a short piece of advice to your employee that is immediately relevant to a specific situation.”– Jodi Beuder, Five Training Tips to Make your Call Center Outstanding, Business 2 Community; Twitter: @CX_Jodi
“It is no secret that call centers can be very stressful environments. Handling calls from aggravated customers all day takes its toll, so managers must also know how to support their staff and provide teaching moments throughout the day. “Given these demands, the training requirements for call center managers is unique.” – Joanna Jones, Why Call Center Management Training Matters, Training Industry; Twitter: @TrainingIndustr
Automate Agent Training
You can also check out the latest in the industry, AI-based automated training methods like Automate Agent Training offered by Helplama Helpdesk in your training program.
This will be very helpful, saving 50% of your time training agents and increase productivity at the same time.
Helplama’s easy-to-use automated agent training module will train your agents using digital tools like previous calls/chat inputs and assess their responses very efficiently on the basis of all input KPIs.
Your agents will get to train on simulated tickets. You can also track their reports easily on its futuristically designed software.
“According to the 2014 American Express Customer Service Barometer, 99 percent of consumers surveyed said that getting a satisfactory answer or being connected to someone knowledgeable (98 percent) are the important prerequisites to great customer experiences. Once these prerequisites are met, those surveyed said that personalization (89 percent) and appreciation (80 percent) are keys to excellent customer service experiences.”
The above survey shows the customers’ requirements and expectations to be met by call center companies, which are ever-changing.
Hence it is imperative to identify customers’ current needs and do necessary modifications in the call center agent training processes to meet their expectations.