Automation and Agent Training

With the massive influx of Contact Center technologies taking place, it’s easy for leadership to turn their attention towards implementing tools, plugins, and software that entirely alters the customer experience. These automation tools are inherently valuable and can save your organization, your team, and your customers time and money. However, the need to effectively train and prepare your agents has not gone away. If anything, they need to be trained more extensively in order to understand the new tools they have to work with on a daily basis.

How Automation Has Changed the Way We Train

Training call center employees is no small task. With their role requiring extensive amounts of client-facing experience and troubleshooting capabilities, agents need to be prepared for anything that might be thrown their way. Being prepared comes, of course, from thorough and extensive training opportunities.
With average annual turnover rates for Customer Service Representatives nearing 29%, Contact Center leadership is forced to train new employees on a fairly regular basis. And, unfortunately, training is not inexpensive. According to RankMiner, training Contact Center employees to be knowledgeable, conscientious and service-oriented can last anywhere from two to six weeks, during which time your organization is paying salaries while getting little return on investment. With high attrition rates in the Contact Center vertical, multiple rounds of employee training on an annual basis will inevitably add up quickly.
Training has also become more complex, and therefore more expensive, as new technology has been introduced into the Contact Center space. Where agents used to have to manually enter customer information into a company’s online interface, artificial intelligence is doing more and more of that. While this technology often leads to a more secure and efficient operation, agents still need to be trained on how to manage and use the tools effectively.

Finding the Balance Between the Human Touch and Automation Technology

Yes, training your agents is expensive and takes time. It is often easier in some cases to implement a simple tool that replaces human tasks. However, there are many aspects of the Contact Center experience that cannot simply be replaced with technology. Tasks like up-selling, relationship building, and troubleshooting require a certain human element that cannot necessarily be performed through technological plugins. With all of the new ways that customers can take advantage of when they need help from a company, calling in to a Contact Center is almost always their last option. This can result in heightened emotions and agents being forced to handle more challenging situations with frustrated customers. It is not as easy for artificial intelligence to handle these delicate situations and achieve the desired result.
Agents deserve to feel valued in their role, and they certainly are essential to the success of any Contact Center operation. When training new hires, it is your responsibility to help them understand that technology can make things run smoother, but it cannot build relationships. Only agents who are trained to be service-oriented and knowledgeable can do that.

5 Ways to Train Agents and Drive Retention

Agent retention is a major key to your success. So, given what has been discussed regarding training in a technology-driven landscape, consider these ways to train employees and drive retention efforts.

    1. Promote ownership.
    Your agents, by the nature of what they do, will have the most touchpoints with your customers. Empower them to own this and find ways to improve the customer experience through technological or human means.
    2. Give agents the tools they need.
    Everyone learns a little differently. Try to learn how each individual agent is going to learn best, and use this to help them become experts on the technology they are working with.
    3. Allow practice to make perfect.
    Not every new hire is going to be comfortable with your technology immediately. Give them the opportunity to master it before expecting them to use it while interacting with customers.
    4. Don’t only focus on productivity metrics.
    Yes, it is important to maximize productivity by looking at metrics like Average Handling Time and Average Calls Handled. However, only looking at these metrics can wear your employees down, increasing attrition rates in your Contact Center. Consider metrics that focus on call quality and customer satisfaction, while rewarding agents who exceed expectations.
    5. Demonstrate the value of human delivery.
    Help your agents understand their value. Technology cannot build relationships and deliver excellent service, but they can.


Contact Center Automation and Agent Training Solutions

Technology offers the opportunity to vastly overhaul a Contact Center experience, which alters the way agents do their work and are trained. It is your job to find the balance between implementing tools that promote efficiency and encouraging quality human interactions. KomBea is a industry thought leader with service and software solutions for automation and agent training. Request a free consultation on how we can help your business’s agent training needs.
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