Call center agent training gives your staff the full resources they are going to need in order to perform admirably for you. This is why there are people known as cancellation specialists waiting for calls every day at the cable company or the cellular company. They are specially trained to stop the loss of business.

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If you can stop the loss of business you are three steps ahead. You don't want to end up spending your money and your call center company time replacing clients that have been lost due to poor training.

When you set up call center agent training you simply want to help your staff do a better job doing their job. That way when it comes time to prevent a client cancellation or soothe a customer's angry feelings they will be able to present your company as one that cares and will always do the right thing. Sometimes this takes very little. A simple apology, a little something for free, or the fast but correct answer to a question can solve so much. If you neglect this end of your customer service department it will reflect in your numbers.

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The method of recording calls is one of the best approaches to coaching call center agents and ensuring quality. Here is a nine-step plan to train agents and improve quality of service in any call center:

1. Random recording is important. Do not record three calls back to back or on the same day as an employee's performance is not based on only one day but more like the average performance in specific periods. The agent may lack quality performance in a few calls, but does not necessarily become a reflection of their typical performance.

2. Review the calls, see to the strengths and note the possible improvements needed. Before meeting with your employees, hear the calls and note what they did well and identify opportunities for improving performance.

3. Play a tape and let your employee listen. During playback of the tape, there is no need to respond.

4. After the tape is played, ask your employees to respond. Most employees will be too self-critical. Many call center agents will probably take into account many opportunities for improvement and struggle to articulate what they have done well.

5. Coach the call center agents. Use the "sandwich" approach. Tell your employees they did well, followed by constructive criticisms, and then end with positive feedback. When offering constructive criticisms, share opportunities for improvement. The agent is likely observant and can probably identify several opportunities to improve but hearing encouragement will help in the improvement of their performance.

6. Gain commitment to performance improvement. Ask employees, "What specific measures will be taken in the next 5 days to improve in this area?" Write down what the employees say and repeat it. Summarize the session by reiterating the strengths and offer a vote of confidence that can be improved in the area identified.

7. Repeat steps 2-6 with a second and third tape perhaps, if necessary. During these times, each call center agent will be able to learn step by step their mistakes and shortcomings and will soon catch on wanting to improve.

8. Follow-up before the next training session. Check with your employees between training sessions to maintain the commitment for every agent. You can touch base with employees by email or a personal conversation.

9. Discuss improvement in the next training session for call center agents. Before listening to the calls in the next training session, ask the employees how they've improved themselves since the last session. Look for improvements in the calls reviewed in the next session.

This 9-step coaching model for call center agents is simple, clear and supports opportunities for improvement.