Onboarding new call center agents is overwhelming in any field, but even more so in the customer service industry. Aside from getting acclimated to the bustling, busy environment and learning their way around a whole new set of tech tools, agents must have their skills put to the test in front of real, live customers. It’s a lot of pressure!
The call center industry is notorious for its high turnover rates, and one of the main reasons for this is a lack of proper training and development. If you want to avoid the costly expenses and damaged morale that come with high turnover, the journey starts on the very first day of a new agent’s job.
A strong employee onboarding program is essential to helping your newly hired employees feel confident in their abilities and become fully integrated, high-performing team members.
Here are five tips to create onboarding processes that set your new agents up for success.
5 Point Checklist for Onboarding New Call Center Agents
1. Tailor desktops by role & familiarize new agents with tech tools
When onboarding new call center agents, our focus tends to go first toward the customer-facing component. After all, agent performance is one of the strongest drivers of customer satisfaction. And yet, their customer interactions are only one piece of the puzzle. Positive interactions can’t happen without the agent having a solid knowledge of the technology they’re working with.
Tailor agent desktops by role to ensure only the most vital information is displayed to them. Use training videos and interactive modules to help new agents learn to navigate your call center software. In your training sessions, cover a wide range of scenarios that familiarize them with the various tech tools at their disposal, like your knowledge base, CRM, scripting and speech analytics capabilities.
Your agents can’t properly use these tools to solve your customers’ problems if they’ve only heard about them. Give them the knowledge to navigate things with confidence on their own.
2. Use your most—and least—successful calls as training examples
Your call center software gives you full visibility into every interaction that takes place over your system–use it! One of the best ways for new agents to learn how to resolve problems is to see it done successfully by more seasoned staffers.
But don’t just hold up the five-star calls as training items; use unsuccessful calls as an example as well. When agents are able to hear where things went wrong in some of your low-rated calls–and see what was going on on the screen, too–they’ll be better able to identify at-risk calls and take measures to recover the interaction.
3. Provide targeted coaching
Once your new agents are ready to take to the phones, providing early and frequent coaching is key to helping them reach maximum effectiveness as quickly as possible. The best agent feedback is targeted, specific and actionable.
Use synchronized call and screen recordings from your call center software to compile detailed notes, then review them with your new hire while watching/listening to a live playback. It’s important for agents to understand not just what’s being scored, but why, so they can apply your coaching more broadly to all of their future interactions.
4. Set goals
Contact center managers know where their key metrics stand at all times. Agents should, too. Training high-performing agents starts with early goal setting.
Set goals and up the ante by sharing performance data in real-time either on a wallboard or in a shareable dashboard. There’s something about being able to see the flood of calls come in that brings out the competitive side of people!
Spend some time during your new hire onboarding familiarizing agents with your key performance analytics like average handle time, service level, first call resolution, abandonment rate, and customer satisfaction. Together, go over your expectations of what’s acceptable for new agents and where you’d like to see these metrics fall in their first 30, 60, and 90 days, or whatever time frame is relevant for your organization.
Your contact center software should make it easy to pull individualized performance reports that show you exactly where an agent is succeeding and where they’re struggling so you can monitor their progress and tailor their ongoing coaching needs accordingly.
5. Use scripts & don’t neglect compliance
Compliance management isn’t the most fun topic to cover during agent onboarding programs, but it’s an essential part of call center operations and more importantly, can cause serious legal consequences if neglected.
Make sure you’re offering an onboarding session that educates new agents in consent and compliance, including industry-specific knowledge like payment data security. Use training to help them become proficient in the tools they’ll need for compliance success, like automated consent management workflows and contact attempt controls. And of course, be sure to incorporate compliance scoring into the goal-setting and review process we outlined in tip #4.
Confident, competent agents are the fastest route to satisfied customers. By using a streamlined, structured onboarding process that’s supported by your omnichannel call center software, you’ll drive business outcomes, deliver best-in-class interactions and mitigate your legal risk all while extending the longevity of each new agent you hire.