As anyone who has ever had anything to do with the operation of a call center can tell you, agent training is perhaps the costliest and most time-consuming, not to mention the most painful, element of operations. You take your agents into a classroom, disrupt the staffing schedule, risk being understaffed when call spikes happen, only to find that the agents absorbed only 10 percent of what they learned in the classroom. To add insult to injury, the few that did learn more than a little in the context of classroom training left the company five days after you finished training them.
E-learning has been garnering quite a lot of attention in the call/contact center industry lately, as it presents a solution to many of the problems of classroom training. Experiments with e-learning have shown that retention rates are higher, agents become more skilled than they would have via classroom lectures, work schedules are disrupted far less, if at all, than they would be when taking agents off the floor, and the quality of the training and the feedback agents receive is much higher.
e-talk Corporation, a provider of performance impact solutions, recently made the announcement that it has ventured into the realm of e-learning with the launch of its new integrated e-learning solution called etalk Expert. Expert was designed and introduced to interact with etalk Advisor, the company's system for measuring and evaluating agent performance, thereby allowing contact center managers to link e-learning directly to performance evaluations. Expert is a component of etalk's suite of Performance IMPACT solutions which were designed to create a cycle of quality improvement in the contact center.
Foundation and performance training. Expert was designed to facilitate a more effective blended training program for newly hired agents. Combining Expert's e-learning tools with classroom instruction can help reduce costly ramp-up time for new agents. Additionally, Expert can aid in simplifying the delivery of ongoing training programs such as product and service updates, legal issues or other topics, skills training and professional development courses.
Ongoing performance measuring and coaching. Expert provides measurement criteria by allowing managers and supervisors to test the agent's ability to recall and implement course information. Expert's quiz feature was added to help improve coaching techniques by incorporating coaching comments directly into quiz answers.
Maintaining production. Expert delivers training directly to the agent's desktop, which helps make training more easily accessible and allows agents to continue to work when needed, especially during peak periods, when it would be inconvenient and expensive to have the agents off the call center floor in a classroom.
Improving analytical capabilities and implementing agent motivation. Customized reports within Expert allow contact center managers to monitor training, track effectiveness, view trend retention data and correlate data with other contact center metrics. This is accomplished via:
' Automatic course delivery based on skill and performance levels,
' Supervisor delivery of courses based upon evaluation results,
' Manual delivery of courses based upon training program needs, and,
' Agent-initiated training to promote professional growth.
The goal of the creation of Expert was to allow companies to deliver online learning directly to an agent's desktop in a less disruptive manner. Using the call center's existing communications and technology infrastructure, training can be completed by agents during downtimes, helping make them more productive and available for peak business cycles. By employing a browser-based system, Expert helps provide consistency from a single source of training content delivery and affords agents the opportunity to reference previously viewed courses for maximum training effectiveness. etalk Expert can enable customer contact centers to conduct more efficient and effective ongoing training of contact center employees.
Expert can be used in conjunction with etalk Advisor, etalk's evaluation and analysis tool and includes a Windows-based authoring tool for custom content creation. Expert is licensed on a per-student basis and ships with a complimentary five-user trial license of Advisor.
[ Return To The
[ Return To The April 2003 Table Of Contents ]