Top 15 Tips To Make Agent Training Sessions Effective in Outbound Call Center

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Low-cost outbound call center software coupled with productive agents can be a great tool to increase the revenue of the company. Hence, it is essential that best of both the elements are made available for the organization.

A solution can be upgraded with regular updates and a tele-caller can be made more effective with proper tutoring sessions. A contact center is only as successful as its callers are. Thus, it is important that regular coaching classes are held so that the workers can constantly upgrade their skills to keep themselves resourceful.

Arranging a guidance program can be challenging and time-consuming for the admin. For some managers, it can be emotionally draining and tiresome as well. However, with effective planning and proper knowledge of training needs you can tap the potential of the callers and bring out the best in them.

Here is a list of few tips that can help you in arranging effective coaching sessions for your tele-marketing executives.

1. Set up SMART goals

Smart Goals

• As a manager, it is imperative that you set up objectives that are practical and which can be accomplished effectively by the agent. This will not only ensure that the expectations are crystal clear but will also facilitate better communication between both the parties.

• This guarantees that the teaching process is grounded and is well planned. This also helps in giving it a purpose and makes sure that it goes in the right direction. Having SMART goals allows the admin as well as the callers to track the performance and level of improvement after the tutoring is done.

• The management must make sure that the intended idea of the program is made clear to the employees. This will result in everybody being on the same page with regards to the expectations from them, making the entire process structured, well organized and more productive.

• Specific: It is important that aims of coaching are already spelled out clearly and the areas of improvement are targeted. This specifies what is of utmost importance and what is needed by the company.

• Measurable: A target becomes achievable when it has a number attached to it. It helps in establishing concrete criteria to measure the progress and development of the worker. It also allows them to stay focused on attaining the goal. Faster response time, greater conversion rate are some of the examples.

• Attainable: After the goal is identified, it is necessary to evaluate whether it is feasible and realistic. Unrealistic goals can spoil and diminish the confidence of the employees.

• Relevant: The main aim of learning modules is to make the representatives more skilled and able to use the knowledge for the growth of the contact center. Thus, it is essential that the manager ensures that the goals add to the company and is aligned with its values and beliefs.

• Time-Bound: Giving an objective a proper timeframe gives it a sense of urgency and adds to its importance. Quantifying it and setting a proper time limit pushes the workers and urges them to work towards achieving it. Example: Increasing the closing ratio by 50 percent by the end of this month.

2. Allow the workers to participate

Workers participation in call center

• Guidance classes should not become a one-way conversation. Instead, it must be a probing question-answer session. The workers must feel comfortable enough to raise any queries in front of the management.

• This exchange of dialogue can help the administration to know the real concerns of the workers as well as their strengths. It also helps in delivering first-hand feedback from your tele –callers.

3. Develop a framework

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• It is essential that you conduct proper research before starting the training. Listen to the recordings of the workers and identify the places where they did well or those that need improvement. Developing a proper framework ensures that the sessions are targeted and are highly productive.

• This will help you against repeating any points that were covered in earlier sessions and also ensure that your time with the worker is optimized.

4. Don’t make it a public show

• Different contact centers have different ways of conducting the sessions. While few indulge in giving personalized and one-on-one coaching, there are others who have group sessions so that the workers can collaborate and learn. Whichever way you choose to go, it is important that you do not make the worker uncomfortable.

• No one likes to know that they are not working up to the mark, especially when the classes are conducted in a group. Also, if the management is using a call recording of a worker, it is necessary that the worker is comfortable with it. Otherwise, there are chances of him feeling cornered.

• When conducting personalized sessions, keep it confidential and conduct it in private spaces. Do not let the whole office know about it. If there is a group coaching planned, remember to highlight positive points and keep criticism constructive, and, at the minimum.

5. Quantify performance feedback

• Adding a numerical value to the feedback can send the message in a clearer and direct manner to the worker. Instead of saying, “The customer satisfaction level is dropping each day,” the manager can say, “The closing ratio is already low and this month, your customer satisfaction level has gone down by 25%. However, don’t worry, we shall look into it and try to deliver better results the coming month.”

• Giving the employees concrete numerical data shall help them understand the magnitude of the issue in a better way and they can also measure the degree of improvement after a period of time.

6. Let the agents be their own teachers

• More than you telling them, the worker realizing the issue can be of a greater impact. It is vital that they are allowed for some self-realization. Instead of telling him the answers to all the questions, the manager must guide and take the worker to the answer. This gives them a sense of ownership and feeling of exhilaration when they get it right.

• It is also necessary that you highlight the importance of the worker to the company and explain the benefits of his services. This adds value to the relationship between the organization and the employee and prompts them to work hard.

• Example: Instead of directly telling, “After the call ends, remember to send the customers a follow-up email recounting the interaction as well as thanking them for taking out time from their busy schedule to listen to you,” try and give them hints to go the correct answer. “Now that the call has gone perfect and the client seems interested, what according to you can be the next best step to carry forward this conversation?” This increases their interest and level of eagerness among them.

7. Effective Communication

• A good teacher is a great listener. Listen to the reps while they are on call, concentrate on their recordings and most importantly pay attention to them during the lessons. Focus on their problems instead of going ahead with your agenda.

• It is also essential that you make the representatives understand what is expected from them and why the training is arranged.

Talk to them clearly about performance expectations, evaluation method, goals of the guidance session, target metrics and the impact of their activity on the business.

8. Cram negative with positive

• Criticism is something that each one of us dislikes. Similar is the case with the tele-callers. It is important that the true feedback is told to them without them feeling humiliated. For constructive criticism to be effective, it is essential that you highlight the positive aspects of the callers and then mention the negative facets.

• Start the session by acknowledging anything good that the worker has done or by bringing to light his improvement since the last session. This will boost his confidence. Mention the negatives in a subtle and humble manner. Remember to end it again with a positive point. This will ensure that the reps leave the hall motivated and in good spirits.

• Example: “It is remarkable to see your progress since the last time. The pitch seems nice and the conversion rate, unlike the previous times, looks good and stable now. However, I have noticed that there is no proper follow-up with the patrons. It is important that you keep a check on them and keep them informed about the services. Only then will they start showing interest in the product. Make sure that you stay in touch with them. This will not only help you close the lead as a deal but will also help in increasing the profit of the company. It is good to see that you remain calm during the call and have a friendly approach to the buyers. With a little help, you can prove to be a great asset to the company.”

9. Give them examples

• It is vital that your feedback is supported with examples. This is especially true in the case of negative comments. Play the recording when discussing how their pitch can be improved. Pinpoint exactly where they went wrong and how the interaction can be shaped well.

• Apart from their own footage, play the call files where other workers have excelled with their job. This shall facilitate their understanding and they will have more clarity on what is expected from them while talking to the buyers.

10. Self-critic

• It is vital that a worker develops the skills of becoming a self-critic and self-realization. During the session give him the chance to listen to his own call tape. Ask him to identify the places where he was perfect and places which need improvement. Allow him to track his development since the previous classes.

• Rather than a manager pointing out mistakes, a self-assessment increases their zeal to work better and the entire learning process is faster.

11. Time it properly

• Tutoring sessions must be timed properly, otherwise they can be ineffective. The problem can arise because of technical issues as well as due to the inefficiency of the reps. If too much time passes without any instruction, there can be losses for the company.

• Too much time gap can result in less ownership of the conversation by the workers because they cannot remember the minute details. Technical faults can also remain unchecked in such cases. Thus, the sessions must be planned at timely intervals so that healthy discussions can be conducted.

12. Keep a look out for roadblocks

• As a manager, it is just not enough to identify the strength and weakness of a worker. It is also important to look out for obstacles that can hinder the performance and develop effective strategies with the agents to remove them. Only then can one see real progress in the call center.

• Sometimes the fault with the workers is because of technical glitches and providing them with the correct tools can be a great solution. There are times when drastic improvement can be seen in the performance with just a little troubleshooting.

• Example: The agent easily loses focus while on call because of the background noise. As a result, he has not been able to close the deal. Instead of trying to find ways to make the conversation better, it is important to identify the real problem of background noise and come up with solutions like noise canceling headphones, an echo-free room etc.

13. Role play

• It is always better to train agents to think as a buyer, so that they can understand the process of telemarketing better. The manager can be the employee and the worker can be the customer. Replay a recent conversation. This helps them in understanding the client better and they can also learn from the admin.

• It is also better to switch the roles. You can be the customer and let the worker play the tele-caller. Pose tricky questions; keep him in a fix so that they can know how to deal with clients. Give them constructive feedback so that they can tweak their interaction accordingly.

14. Periodic checks

• Learning is a continuous process. However, it is imperative that you keep a look out on how things have changed since your last session. Before scheduling the next class, drop by the agents’ desk. Have a quick talk with him, asking if the training has had a positive impact on his skills. Listen to his calls to check whether he is applying the changes that were discussed and whether his quality has improved.

• If you find that there is still a scope for improvement, let him know before the next class. This will give him time to make the necessary changes and you do not have to repeat the same things in the class.

• Giving the workers little nudges before starting the next session can help him in perking his performance in the right direction.

15. Collect Training Feedback

• It is vital to know if the workers are happy with the way the sessions are held and whether it has a positive impact on their working. They can be asked to fill anonymous slips and the evaluation process can look into factors like quality of the module, the importance of the session, the trainer’s qualities and if any necessary changes are required.

• This shall give the employee perspective of the learning process and shall help in making it more effective.

The success of an outbound calling software depends a great deal on the quality of the workers using it. Hence, it is important that right kind of guidance is provided to them so that they can put their best foot forward. Features like automation, call recording and customized reports, a sophisticated outbound calling solution can assist them in generating the desired results.

A best telemarketing software coupled with a little effort and patience can help you facilitate the training process and turn your tele-callers into super performers. We encourage you to share few more tips that you think can help the employees, so do let us know your comments!