Call Center Management Feature Article
March 27, 2014
"Closing the Loop" In Call Center Training Requires Regular Monitoring and Follow-up
By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor
For many contact center employees, training is often a bit of a joke. Classroom training using materials that are years old (if not decades) is often very minimally helpful. Hands-on training is generally preferred – people tend to remember things more when they perform the tasks rather than just listen to a lecture about it – and one-on-one coaching is the best method of all.
There are many forms training can take. It can be any combination of classroom-based training, day-long seminars, training by professional third parties, simulations, “gamified” training solutions, one-on-one time with a manager or just “learn as you go” procedures that see new agents handle simpler transactions first.
Finding the most effective combination of training methods for your contact center is the tricky part. Additionally, ensuring that you “close the loop,” or make sure that the material agents learn is being put to use, is where some of the real challenges lie, according to a recent blog post by Monet Software CEO Chuck Ciarlo.
“Many types of companies employ the closed-loop structure as a guideline for quality management and monitoring, and a way to improve both customer service and employee performance,” wrote Ciarlo. “It means forging links between processes and personnel so they complement each other, thus achieving optimal results more quickly.”
Ciarlo recommends a four-step process toward closing this loop.
Have a plan of action. If you don’t know what your goals are, you won’t know if you’ve reached them. Build a realistic plan that will help you reach your training goals step-by-step.
Hold regular training sessions. Once you’ve built your plan, schedule sessions and ensure time isn’t wasted by know in advance precisely what agents will need to learn.
Monitor the progress. Use quality monitoring and recording, complete with scorecards, to evaluate agents through the learning process. This will help you identify the weak spots in your training program.
“Review the results of the training and coaching sessions after a sufficient period of time has elapsed,” wrote Ciarlo. “This can be accomplished through follow-up sessions with agents, and through recordings and quality scoring of calls dated after the most recent training. How many objectives were achieved?”
Repeat the process. Once agents have learned one set of skills and demonstrated they can master them, it’s time to set new (and higher) goals for contact center training.
This series of steps, carried out effectively, can raise the bar on the quality of customer service provided and the professionalism of the contact center’s agent pool.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi