Why Ongoing Education Is Essential for Successful On-Demand Customer Service
The secret is out: As the demands of offering a superior customer experience become more complex and resource-intensive each year, the on-demand customer service model has emerged as the preferred way for busy business managers to handle this essential task without compromising quality (or breaking the bank).
Yet along with this new reality has come a surge in the number of companies offering outsourced, on-demand customer service. And that, in turn, presents businesses with a tough choice: How to choose a quality partner among the many providers that have emerged over the years?
Luckily, there are a handful of important factors that can immediately determine whether an on-demand customer service provider can really deliver on its promise to provide a superior experience—you know, the kind that keeps shoppers happy while also actively converting prospects to loyal customers.
These factors range from the obvious—like longevity as a leader in the customer care business and a network of scalable, nationwide contact center agents on which to draw—to slightly harder-to-discern factors, such as the extent to which an on-demand customer service provider emphasizes continuous education and development for its agents.
”Happy Agents Mean Happy Clients”
What makes agent education so important for on-demand customer service? For starters, in a world where communications technology is constantly evolving, the most effective agents are those who are up to speed on how to best use that technology. And ongoing education also means those agents are constantly improving not only their tech skills, but their proficiency in upselling and person-to-person communications, too.
Indeed, an emphasis on offering engaging education opportunities is one of the key drivers to reducing turnover and ensuring agent satisfaction with their jobs. After all, any on-demand customer service provider is only as good as the quality of its agents. It makes sense, then, to work to make sure those agents are not only up-to-date with the latest communications trends and technology, but also with every other available method that can ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty.
“Any on-demand customer service provider is only as good as the quality of its agents.” Click To Tweet
At Working Solutions, we’ve made it a point to enlist a team of education professionals tasked with ensuring that our agents have access to the best opportunities for personal and professional growth. We know that doing so is essential to not only ensure success for our clients, but also in giving our agents yet another reason to love working with us.
After all, “happy agents mean happy clients,” according to Carla, manager of Education and Development of Virtual Contact Center Education and Curriculum Design, who describes a “caring culture” that “sets us apart from competitors.”
“The people I work with are happy,” adds Alison, an Agent Education and Development manager. “And it’s not a pretend happiness. It’s fun and we’re growing with the company and its clients. It’s a really good experience.”
And it’s not a pretend happiness. It’s fun and we’re growing with the company and its clients. It’s a really good experience.
Setting Up On-Demand Customer Service Agents for Success
And to achieve this culture, our education leadership team understands the importance of offering sessions that aren’t just highly useful and informative for agents, but fun and engaging, too—a particularly important factor when it comes to educating agents in a virtual setting.
As Tamara, vice president of Education and Development, recently explained in the pages of Training Journal, finding success in a virtual setting rests on a few important elements:
- Creating and nurturing a “caring culture,” which fosters an environment that attracts great people.
- Recruiting degreed educators and giving them the freedom to innovative new methods for educating and engaging agents—as opposed to simply “training” them.
- Offering an online community where virtual, home-based agents can share experiences, advice and encouragement with one another.
To accomplish these goals, our team of educators draw on a rich variety of interactive training methods that includes WebEx content polls, chat assessments, gamification and breakout sessions, among others. The result is engaging and hands-on educational sessions that are also self-paced for maximum effectiveness.
“We are constantly checking to make sure all agents are engaged,” adds Katie, a senior agent education specialist for Virtual Contact Center Education and Curriculum Design. “Our goal is to set up every agent in our classroom for success.”
Working with Clients to Deliver the Best Possible Agent Development
But as important as it is to offer contact center agents access to the latest information on technology and customer care best practices, it’s not enough. Just as essential to our success, and theirs, is working with each client to ensure that agents are educated on how to best convey specific messages and talking points.
“A good educator can take any curriculum, industry or service and learn it and know how to convey that information to agents,” explains Stacy, director of Education and Development for Virtual Contact Center Education and Curriculum Design.
“A good educator can take any curriculum, industry or service and learn it and know how to convey that information to agents.” Click To Tweet
That job is twofold, she continues: First, it’s important to learn the client’s current curriculum. Then it must be translated into an educational process that will truly engage and sink in for agents. It all begins with sitting down for a face-to-face meeting with each client to study the preferred curriculum firsthand.
“We start with objectives agents need to know,” she says. “I tell the client to give me the curriculum and teach me just like I’m an agent. And then I ask a million questions along the way.” The result is a comprehensive understanding of each client’s goals and preferences before that message is transferred to the customer service agents.
I tell the client to give me the curriculum and teach me just like I’m an agent. And then I ask a million questions along the way.
And when it does come time to take that curriculum to our on-demand customer service agents, Stacy is careful to pay close attention to each one’s progress along the way, so course-correction can be done as quickly and effectively as possible.
“We’re constantly gauging them in each class,” she explains. “Why? Because the classes and their needs are all different.” It’s also an essential ingredient in constantly improving our own best practices and “making it better,” she adds. “It’s a very dynamic process.”
Interested in learning more about how our emphasis on education helps us deliver the industry’s best on-demand customer service model? Contact us today.
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