Did you ever wonder how amazing it would be if your customer service team is replete with high-performing and super-skilled agents? Delighting customers and keeping them loyal to your brand will be a child’s play.
But what does it take to build an A-team of customer service representatives? You don’t have to go out looking for the elite professionals in the job market, nor do you have to poach the best-performing ones from your competitors.
You simply have to spot the potential in suitable job applicants, identify their talents, and coach them right. In this blog post, we have listed ten effective strategies that will help you train your agents to be as effective and skillful as they can be.
Are you ready to build high-performing and super-skilled agents in your customer service team? Go on, read the blog post to know more.
Craft a nifty training roadmap and invest in high-quality coaching templates
After recruiting your customer support agents, the first thing you need to do is to orient them into your company’s process and organize training sessions irrespective of their experience and skills. They must know every relevant detail about the company as well as what the average customer expects and wants from them.
For that, they need to be coached and a successful coaching strategy should be scalable and methodical. The very first thing you need to do is create a learning path or a coaching roadmap, which is a well-structured sequence of learning activities that teach particular topics. This will teach your newly-recruited agents everything about the process and the works they will perform daily.
Apart from that, invest in high-quality and sophisticated coaching templates, which can enhance customer support agents’ customer service abilities as well as make the training process extremely smooth and streamlined.
Make the training sessions insightful and engaging
After creating a roadmap and having the right coaching templates in place, it’s time to provide actual training. This is where you may find it challenging to ensure that the trainee customer service representatives grasp the lessons effectively and remain engaged throughout.
To overcome the challenge, make the training sessions informative yet interesting and engaging. Leverage technology to provide an excellent learning experience. Use various types of content such as video, audio, text content, and activities to make the coaching sessions interactive. Provide customer persona training by creating a persona, or fictionalized character, of an ideal customer. Be extremely strategic with your coaching techniques and focus on targeted training if possible.
Focus on building key skills
Some skills play a more important role in customer service than talent and aptitude. To effectively communicate with customers, your agents need a variety of skills such as technical skills, soft skills, excellent communication skills, time management skills, empathy skills, perceptual skills, and the willingness to learn new things.
To help your agents build the core skills, equip them with the adequate resources to learn and grow. Provide online and offline courses and give certificates of completion and excellence. Encourage them to use a wide array of resources such as books, webinars, podcasts, seminars, networking events, and more, and incentivize learning and skill-building.
Before wrapping up the training, make sure all the agents have the required skills for their respective job profiles and delegate responsibilities as per their skills. In case of any skill gap, retrain and re-skill the agents till they are well-equipped to face the customers.
Use mock calls and role-playing strategies
Mock calls are one of the best tools available to train customer service agents. Also known as role-playing, trainee customer service agents get to speak with their trainers, supervisors, or managers, who pose as customers and ask them various questions and make different requests.
Mock calls can give insights into an agent’s readiness and preparedness to handle actual customers. Conversely, agents also get the confidence to speak with customers and guide them effectively. It also helps in evaluating individual performance and monitoring progress.
While designing mock calls, keep a few things in mind. The mock call has to be in full, which is from the formal greeting and introduction to the end of the call. The trainee should be seated away from the caller and both don’t get to see each other. Record all the mock calls and keep them for training purposes.
Have a buddy system in place
After the trainees are done with the mock calls and all the training modules, it’s time to start the on-the-job training. Have a buddy system in place, at least for the first few days. A buddy system is the most effective procedure for onboarding and mentoring new employees.
In this system, two employees work together as a single unit. Team a new agent with an experienced and high-performing one, so that the latter can monitor and mentor the former. This will also enable new employees to learn a lot from their experienced and committed peers and imbibe their qualities and teachings.
However, be careful to pair up team members wisely. The system won’t be effective if the new customer service representatives are paired up with agents who usually use dubious methods and shortcuts to achieve their goals. Such pairing will set up wrong precedents and will lead to more undesirable practices and behaviors.
Focus on agents’ performance and productivity
After the new agents are ready to face the customers, communicate clear goals, expectations and instructions. Define the daily, weekly, and monthly targets and keep the deadlines realistic. Balance accountability with authority and don’t micromanage. Focus on their performance and productivity. Observe how well each one is performing as well as find out the areas for improvement. Use analytics to evaluate their performance and find out the potential problem areas.
Also, keep in mind that happy employees are more productive. So, provide enough autonomy and flexibility to the agents that will help them manage their work in a stress-free environment. Don’t be unnecessarily rigid on entry time and break times. On the contrary, encourage your agents to relax and wind up at regular intervals to boost their output and productivity.
Provide one-on-one feedback
After finding out the performance and productivity of each agent, it’s time for feedback. Now, there are many ways to provide feedback but there’s nothing as effective and insightful as a one-on-one session.
One-on-one feedback can help employees understand their performance as well as enhance their motivation and morale. It also enables them to know their potential problems and how they can improve them. On the other hand, one-on-one sessions also save managers time, remove blockers, and enable them to understand their agents better and build trust.
While taking a one-on-one feedback session, be specific and timely. Focus on the efforts and performance of the agents as well as provide genuine and constructive feedback.
Update skills regularly
The adage practice makes perfect is so apt for customer service representatives. The more they practice, the better they get at handling various customer queries and requests.
Training should never be a one-off process nor should it be reserved only for new agents. Just as it is an important focus on skill-building, it’s equally important to up-skill and re-skill regularly. Understand each of your agents’ training needs and provide them with the necessary coaching. Encourage your agents to up-skill themselves and provide them with the necessary resources to do so.
Focus on skilling, up-skilling, and re-skilling your agents and enable them to rise in their career trajectory. This will encourage your agents to raise the bar for themselves and others and will also enable them to perform better.
Encourage collaboration among agents
Make it easy for agents to collaborate with each other. Create the right environment and foster communication and collaboration among team members. Give agents the right tools such as messaging service, telephone, video conferencing, and more to collaborate.
It will enhance communication and coordination between team members as well as enhance team spirit and create a vibrant work culture. It will also increase trust and open up the feedback loop.
Involve agents in action plans
Involving agents in creating their action plans can give them a sense of ownership and enhance their performance. A renowned study found that when agents are involved in action plans, they work extremely hard to achieve their goals and objectives.
Customer service representatives who have created their action plans can understand what’s expected of them and make plans accordingly. Apart from involving the agents to create action plans, enable them to implement their ideas that will help them improve their own performance as well as enable them to achieve their targets.
All things considered,
If you have a customer service team, then you shouldn’t settle for anything less than powering it with well-trained and skillful agents. Even if you hire newbies and less-experienced candidates in your team, you can train them to become world-class customer service representatives.