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5 Tips to Boost Agent Performance Training

Most of the traditional methods used to manage agent performance just aren’t working anymore for many contact centers. The ongoing operational demands, combined with the budget and resource restraints of late have left many looking for a boost when it comes to developing and effectively communicating with their front line. Read on for some of the hallmarks of true, performance-enhancing training that, if implemented, will boost agent performance and leave you well-positioned to succeed.

1. Increase Frequency

Too often training is an infrequent occasion as opposed to a consistent, systemic part of the contact center operation. In a recent survey, almost 40 percent of contact centers reported training agents between one and four times a year. Many centers provide agents with access to a learning management system or knowledge base with the hopes that agents will go get the information and knowledge they need. Considering the enormous pressures to meet service levels, it isn’t hard to figure out why so much of what is scheduled doesn’t occur and why agents don’t often take the initiative to get the information they need before they need it. Yet dips in call volume occur when agents have little to do. The underutilized asset in this equation is this down time between calls. Exploiting this natural occurrence to push training to the agent desktop during these small pockets of down time is the only way to ensure training happens frequently.

2. Make it Targeted

Even if training is provided frequently, a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t provide maximum value. If the center and the agent invest time in training, it should meet the needs of both. An agent does not want to be trained on something that isn’t relevant to their needs, and the center doesn’t want to train an agent on an area at which he or she excels if there is another area that needs improving. Basing individualized training on performance meets the targeted criteria and provides the highest value.

3. Develop Easy to Digest Content

Adult learning theory asserts that short learning interventions that can be immediately applied have the best chance at retention. This concept is clearly important in a fast-paced environment like the contact center where the unplanned nature of calls gives agents less control over their day than most. A 15-minute learning break allows a short respite for some targeted information that is used on the next call for maximum reinforcement.

4. Measure Impact

One of the keys to success in any endeavor is measurement more prevalent than the contact center. Giving all players a view to their performance, and an understanding of how they impact that performance through training, provides the measurement and guidance needed to underpin a successful performance improvement initiative at the individual agent level.

5. Be Consistent

Consistency has two applications is this context.The importance of regular communications cannot be overestimated in keeping agents informed and engaged. Additionally, the consistency of message in those communications and training is important. Intraday management technology provides a conduit for regular communications and removes the possibility of different teams getting different messages or levels of information from supervisors, team members or even trainers.

 

About the author

Matt McConnell

Matt is chairman, president and CEO of Intradiem. Matt co-founded Intradiem in 1995 with a vision of helping companies increase the level of customer service they deliver by improving the performance of their agents. Today, Intradiem is a leader in its market with more than 300,000 call center agents around the world using Intradiem every day. Matt is the author of the book Customer Service at a Crossroads and holds 11 software patents. He graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1994 with a bachelor's degree in industrial and systems engineering.

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