Contact Centre Training: The Gift That Keeps On Giving
In our last post, we talked about ways to improve your contact centre’s customer experience. But, a great strategy is only ever as good as the staff that implement it. Today we’re discussing how crucial it is to invest in the correct training for your teams and individual agents, so that your customer service is second to none.
It’s counterintuitive to spend time and money on developing a customer experience strategy and then passing it to a customer-facing team without adequate training. Agents that have only been given a job description and personal targets will rarely consider the bigger picture. When you purposely train agents on providing your company’s unique customer experience, not only will you improve the emotional outcome for customers, but also for these employees. So where to start?
Establish a clear end goal
A great customer experience should deliver a consistent, positive emotional outcome for every customer. Many businesses base this on something called ‘the Customer Experience Statement (CES)’. Your company’s CES will be pivotal in your training, as it defines the desired emotional outcome for customers in no uncertain terms. Don’t forget, depending on your product or service, values or ethos, this emotional outcome can be anything; from surprised and delighted, to valued and important.
Instruct on how to get there
Only once you have decided on a clear end goal can you instruct your agents on how you would like them to arrive there – or, more accurately, guide customers there. A comprehensive training programme should incorporate many things, from explaining your CES to relating it to everyday ‘real’ situations.
As a rule of thumb, the first stages of customer experience training should include four elements:
- Identify and explain the role that emotions play within customer experience
- Communicate the reasoning behind your brand’s CES, i.e. explaining the emotion behind it and why that emotion is important to your organisation
- Incorporate elements of psychology, explaining how a person’s behaviour can and will influence emotion
- Describe how individuals can encourage the desired emotional outcome with specific actions, using actions and phrases that relate to everyday situations and your company’s workspace
Simultaneous benefits to staff and customers
Another significant benefit of this approach is improved agent satisfaction too. Adequate training will equip employees with the skills and knowledge they need to perform well, making their work easier and more enjoyable.
Also, any contact centre manager worth his or her salt will be well aware that agents respond well to positive calls and interactions with customers. It’s enjoyable to feel like you’re doing your job – particularly when employees feel like they’re helping people.
Studies show that around 58% of workers worldwide consider training opportunities a reason to accept one job over another. Furthermore, 18% state that a lack of training opportunities would contribute to the decision to leave an employer. Clearly, offering training can not only enhance your company’s customer experience; it can also boost attraction and retention numbers too.
Using software to support your training
There’s a whole host of software available to support contact centre training efforts, at the forefront of which is speech analytics. So how can speech analytics reinforce this particular type of training?
First, speech analytics software can be programmed to recognise certain key phrases – these can be custom-selected, so can reflect your desired customer experience with ease. When certain phrases are spoken (or missed, as the case may be) the software will deliver prompts; suggesting a suitable course of action for the agent to take. Depending on your goals, these can be anything from going in for an upsell to calling a supervisor; with speech analytics, the choice is yours. Although this software cannot replace adequate training, it can certainly reinforce it.
Why training is an investment, not a cost
Creating a customer experience strategy is futile if not supported by training. It’s crucial to tell agents exactly what you want, but also show them how to deliver it. Doing so will allow for a fulfilling customer journey, positive emotional outcomes for all parties, plus an office full of happy, engaged employees.
A great customer experience is all about making customers feel valued, cared for and content. When agents are aware of this, you’ll all be much closer to meeting your company’s end goal. Initially, training outgoings might come at a hefty cost. But plan your training right, and the investment will soon become the gift that keeps on giving.