Improper training is one of the top reasons for the call center industry’s notably high employee attrition rate of 20% to 30%. (The worldwide average attrition rate for all industries is 10.9%.) And high attrition rates are costly—you spend around three to four times the monthly salary of an average agent in hiring and onboarding costs for each new agent. All to say, it behooves you to focus on call center training so that you retain agents for as long as possible.
The problem of proper training is made more challenging for remote teams because your agents can’t benefit from the effects of social learning like they do in-office. In an office, agents can learn from co-workers by making calls side by side throughout the day, whereas remote workers are physically isolated and potentially in distributed time zones. All of your new hire’s knowledge must come from your training program.
6 Tips for Better Remote Call Center Training in 2021
Invest in making your remote call center training more effective because it has an outsized impact on your bottom line—it’s the key to increasing employee retention and engagement, improving customer satisfaction, and saving resources. Here are tips to make your remote call center training more effective.
1. Build a Training Software Stack
Your training tool stack is the ecosystem of tools you use to lead agents through your training program.
Your training tool stack is particularly important for remote teams because it’s the tools themselves and how they work together that help you train consistently and efficiently across your team, wherever they are. (Remember, you no longer have the luxury of stopping by a new agent’s desk to check on how they’re progressing in their training).
There are five types of call center training tools that will help you train your team faster and better:
- Onboarding Tools. Onboarding tools provide customized learning programs, simulate real-life scenarios, and provide opportunities for performance feedback.
- Knowledge Management Tools. These tools house all of your e-learning and support content and make them easily accessible 24/7.
- Collaboration Tools. Collaboration tools help new agents communicate with their colleagues and share best practices and knowledge.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) Based Guidance Tools. These tools gauge your customer’s and your agent’s emotions through tone of voice and provide suggested responses based on that, which makes each call a learning experience for you and your agents.
- Whisper Coaching Tools. Whisper coaching tools allow team leads and teammates to guide agents through customer calls without the customers knowing.
There are a variety of tools for each type. You don’t necessarily need one of each type, but you should have a combination of them to help you achieve your business goals faster.
2. Set Clear Learning Objectives for Each Training Course
Learning objectives are goals you place at the beginning of each training program that tell learners what they should know and be able to do after they finish the program. Setting these objectives is important for your agents because they establish the relevance and purpose of each course and give agents a way to measure the success of their learning.
Learning objectives motivate agents when those objectives clearly state how specific training will help them do their jobs better or reach their professional goals faster. If, for example, you set an objective like “After this course, you should become at least 30% faster at using our customer relationship management (CRM) software” for a CRM training program, then agents will be more motivated to take the course.
Set learning objects for each course by giving your agents clear benchmarks using specific, measurable, and authoritative language. Also, make sure to phrase your learning objectives in a learner-centered way, clearly stating what tangible benefit they will get from completing the training course. For example, instead of setting your learning objective as “After this course, you should know more communication techniques,” you can get more specific and relevant by stating, “After this course, you should be able to diffuse call tension by setting clear call expectations for your angry customers.”
3. Personalize Your Call Center Training Programs
Personalizing your call center training programs means suggesting different learning paths for each agent, depending on their individual professional needs and career goals. Personalizing your training is important in general because personalization allows learners to take ownership of their learning and development, leading to better engagement and higher interest.
A personalized program is good for remote work because it makes the most of asynchronous learning by providing and suggesting training courses that are hyper-relevant to each of your remote agents’ individual needs.
Start personalizing your training program by creating a pool of relevant remote training content—video courses, articles, mini-courses, and the like—for your agents to choose from. The content should cover topics relevant to your agents, like how to handle incoming calls, how to build rapport with customers, and how to implement best practices for your digital tech stack.
You can manually assign training content to your agents, but it’s time-consuming, at best, impractical if not impossible for companies larger than about 100 people. There is software that will help you create personalized training programs automatically. Invest in AI-based digital tools like learning management systems (LMS) and digital adoption platforms (DAPs) that will create personalized learning paths for each of your employees based on their user segment, professional goals, and level of experience.
Digital training tools like DAPs personalize the agent training experience by suggesting training modules based on an agent’s current responsibilities and presenting them in your employee’s preferred format (e.g., video, article, or walk-through).
4. Provide Soft Skills Training
Soft skills inform how your agents relate to customers—how well they diffuse tension, connect with customers, and address customer issues—which informs your customer’s overall customer experience.
Soft skills training is important for remote agents because agents need to diffuse customer frustration, handle customer requests, and provide solutions on their own, outside the supervision of their peers and managers.
The easiest way to create soft skill training materials is to develop microlearning courses containing videos of your veteran agents demonstrating how important soft skills are in real-life situations.
5. Make Sure Your eLearning Content Is Easily Accessible
Making sure that your eLearning content is available and easily accessible 24/7 means ensuring your agents can find the information they need whenever they need it without having to spend hours searching for it. Remote agents, especially, need access to eLearning content on the go because online communication isn’t always instant—if they ask a teammate or manager for help, they won’t always get an answer immediately.
The value of having an online eLearning content database for your employees is emphasized whenever your employees run into time-sensitive hiccups. Let’s say your agent receives a call from a frustrated customer saying their credit card was charged twice (for the nth time), but your agent has never encountered this situation before. An eLearning content database will enable your agent to find relevant resources and solve the problem on their own rather than waiting for someone more knowledgeable to become available—and in a distributed team with agents across different time zones, that could take hours.
If your agents have easy access to a searchable knowledge database, they can find answers to their questions more quickly and provide solutions to your customers more efficiently. It improves agent performance by acting as a just-in-time trainer or moment-of-need guide. It increases customers’ satisfaction by making sure your agents know how to handle their requests.
Invest in technology like a DAP’s searchable self-help menu that can house all your eLearning content and index that content to make it searchable and accessible to your agents 24/7. A DAP integrates with your CRM so that your employees don’t have to leave the application to find the answers that they need.
6. Give Constructive Feedback
Giving your employees feedback lets them know what they’re doing well and what they can work on. Feedback is important for remote teams because performance isn’t as easy to gauge in a remote environment. Agents can’t compare themselves with their colleagues because they can’t see how their colleagues are doing. Without a benchmark, they won’t know if they’re performing up to par.
Giving feedback remotely, though, can be more difficult than doing it face-to-face, as technology makes communication more challenging. The lack of body language and facial expressions if you’re giving feedback over a voice call or text chat leaves your tone up for interpretation. You have to be especially careful about the language you use when you give negative feedback because poorly-delivered feedback increases agent frustration and reduces happiness, leading to lowered performance.
Build a culture of feedback among your call center agents so that you can encourage continuous professional development and better agent performance. You can do that by investing in real-time feedback tools, scheduling regular one-on-one feedback sessions, and organizing weekly group calls where agents can state their most recent wins and challenges to create a collaborative culture of giving and receiving feedback.
Use Technology to Build an Effective Remote Call Center Training Program
Technology will help you train your remote agents efficiently despite the challenges of not being in the same place, so it’s important that you invest in technology that will help you meet your training goals.
Book a demo with Whatfix today if you want to see how we can support your remote call center training program and speed up digital adoption.