Blog - Development

Condense Training Cycles for Seasonal Workers

10/31/2013

Best training for off shore call center, facing a strategy to make a customer service company perform

It’s that time of year when contact centers are looking to supplement their existing staff to be ready for the upswing in purchasing. To ensure great customer experiences, it’s important to have a solid seasonal strategy in place. Whether you outsource extra volume to an outsource partner, supplement with internal staff, or utilize a hybrid plan, the reality is that once you have added the agents, it’s time to train them.

Seasonal upswings often do not allow the luxury of long training cycles. This will put your existing training team through the rigors of condensing existing training plans if there are not already plans in place for seasonal training. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure quality training without adding too much stress.

Outsource Partners Have Existing Systems

If you have not already, consider working with an outsource partner to handle the seasonal upswing. The outsourcer will already have a training system in place, and have the ability to recruit and staff quickly while bringing in quality agents with appropriate expertise. When considering an outsource partner, look for the following:

  1. Trainers with Education Backgrounds – the educators will have skills that support a rapid training cycle while ensuring solid knowledge transfer. As educators, they are adept in adjusting curriculum quickly and delivering information based on learning styles to accelerate the learning.
  2. Strong Quality Assurance Programs – QA teams must be an integral part of the training and development of agents, so make sure that the teams have communication systems in place to keep quality high from the onset of the program.
  3. Collaborative Systems Internally and Externally – getting feedback quickly is critical, but having feedback ongoing is also important to the success of the agents and the satisfaction of the customers.

Rearrange the Training Cycle

In an ideal situation, training can occur up front with lots of time for scenario-based learning and role playing. However, when the timeline is condensed to accommodate a flood of incoming transactions, it’s time to consider reworking your existing training cycle to accommodate the rapid ramp-up:

  1. Prioritize the Information – getting the agents up to speed on the products and services is critical. Therefore, it is important to determine what information must be given before agents can handle transactions.
  2. Provide Training throughout the Season – compartmentalize the training in a way that the important information is given up front. Then keep dripping that information on the agents along with other training that may not have been given, such as soft skills training.
  3. Make Sure the Tools Are Ready – this scenario is exactly when it is important to ensure that knowledge bases are updated and information is readily available to agents. The condensed nature of the training means the agents need more foundational components to rely on to provide good customer service.

Communicate, then Communicate Some More

Whether you decide to outsource your entire seasonal increase in transactions, bring in your own people, or use a hybrid plan, it is important to have a strategy that ensures all the bases are covered. Look at previous years and make sure that the agents are trained for any hiccups that might have occurred before. It is the unexpected that can derail your efforts.

Be ready to increase your communication cycles to be much shorter. Don’t forget to add those “atta boys and girls” to the communications so everyone knows how much you appreciate all the extra effort. Don’t be afraid to over-communicate – it may just be the thing that puts you on top of your seasonal increase and keeps your customers happy!

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