Plan, be flexible, expect the unexpected – our agent training golden rules

19th Nov, 2015
Read time: 2 minutes

Every Contact Centre Manager knows that regular agent training is key to delivering a great customer experience. But where to you find the time to add training exercises into their schedule?

Beginning with the end in mind …we offer two approaches to ensuring available training time.

1. Build your requirements effectively
The most effective and constructive method is to ensure that the resource planners build training requirements, however modest, into your annual shrinkage plan. This means you can ensure that you have capacity to deliver the training and that, equally importantly, it avoids peak business and holiday times. Planning in advance creates the opportunity for training to occur and it becomes a scheduled versus an ad hoc event.

Perhaps ask:

  • What are the key training requirements? The 'must deliver', 'essential for some agents' and 'nice to have' for all
  • Ask the training department and the operations managers for a rolling 12 month view of training requirements and budget monthly
  • The 'unknown' that catches us by surprise. Consider last year's events and factor in the same number of unexpected events. For example, if there were two emergency system training sessions, replicate them in this year's plan
  • Request that the planners schedule a minimum of 'must deliver' and 'essential' training for your team and calculate the necessary shrinkage
  • 'Nice to have' training could then be accommodated within team meeting time or 1-2-1s as needed.

Having a structured plan ensures that time is provided and when emergencies occur, substitutions can be made and anticipated training can be rescheduled for the next month.

2. For emergencies only… an alternative, and perhaps unconventional, approach
Consider the mechanisms available in your workforce planning tool to optimise your shifts or plan 1-2-1 meetings. Evaluate forecast demand for the target dates and choose a useful time without anticipated peaks. Use the intelligence in your planning tool to optimise breaks and lunch and create space to accommodate an emergency training session without impacting your service levels.

  • You may need to repeat training for several smaller groups
  • Move shifts by up to an hour to flex your capacity or change break times
  • You may find using a call back facility provides you with flexibility and peace of mind allowing you to capture caller details and maintain customer satisfaction. Once you are all back at your work stations you can call them back and recover any slippage.

Whatever your method – stick to the programme, it will deliver value. Staff need to feel valued. An agent's self-confidence and morale improves when they have the information they need to perform their tasks well. We believe it pays to invest your time in training agents, helping to provide a positive customer experience and internally, ensuring you have happy staff.

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