Last week the ICMI hosted a twitter chat (#ICMIChat) which focused on contact center eLearning and Gamification in the contact center. Underpinned by your contact center technology and your human capital, it’s a fascinating topic and one that is evolving what’s long been considered best practices in agent training.
If you’re looking to contact center eLearning or Gamification as an avenue to better train, prepare, and motivate your agents, you need to get your tools and people tightly aligned. And if you’re looking for an outsourced contact center partner, ask your potential partner how they incorporate new technologies to produce quality agents. You may find it’s easier to leverage a trusted partner’s training infrastructure versus revamping your own.
As a nearshore call center, we have trained thousands of agents spanning from inbound customer service to direct response sales programs. We have found the following tools invaluable, but not all inclusive, in our contact center training experiences.
1. Learning Management System (LMS)
Critical to a successful agent on-boarding and training strategy, we find that contact centers are best suited by embracing technology and utilizing Learning Management Systems (LMS) that can tie in Gamification.
Hosted technology and Software as a Service (SaaS) models are the least resource intensive and are easier to introduce into an operation than the cumbersome stand-alone, premise based models that still exist.
Fortunately, there are more and more plug-and-play LMS/Gamification platforms out there that are lighter on the corporate pocketbook, ideal for organizations that prefer to depend less on the CFO and the IT department (I bet this resonates with many of us!).
Many people in the contact center space know of or are starting to use eLearning and Gamification. This type implementation requires time and a learning curve to fully understand how to maximize it’s potential.
The quantitative upside is fantastic, once the organization knows how to best incorporate these into the operation – your CFO will be very happy!
However, the qualitative side is challenging: who will create content, what type of content is most effective in each operation, is the Trainer best-suited to manage eLearning and Gamification, or is it IT or someone else?
Much has been said, likewise, about the creation and use of knowledgebases which in and of themselves are fantastic tools if designed and rolled-out correctly.
A knowledgebase, however, is only as useful as the agent who uses it – and places the pressure on the training program to get the agent up to speed on it. If the agent does not know how to use the knowledgebase, the agent’s ability to apply the knowledge in her dialogue with a customer will be limited.
What is presented from the knowledgebase only represents a portion of the interaction; the knowledgebase does not instruct the agent how to treat the customer, how to be empathetic or authentic, how to use tone or volume. Nor does it teach the agent when to ask questions, when to respond or most importantly when to shut up and listen. The qualitative skills required to be an effective customer care agent usually are not in the knowledgebase and are taught in vastly different formats.
The responsibility of ensuring that agents digest and apply their learnings to their real life interactions ultimately falls on humans; eLearning and Gamification facilitate training, but they don’t replace the role of Supervisor or QA analyst. Additionally, CSAT surveys and other measurements can evaluate in their own right how the agent has assimilated to the objectives of each eLearning module. Remember, the HUMAN element is never removed from the equation; we must remain as creators and facilitators to squeeze the most amount of juice possible from automated eLearning and Gamification.
Technology is a powerful tool that when used correctly, it can automate and rationalize learning and education in a contact center. Human involvement never disappears, it evolves to create content and curriculum that’s more engaging and more accessible. At Callzilla, we have employed an “Always On” philosophy to our agent training technology which provides a 24/7 platform by which agents can complete training curriculum and get rewarded for doing so. The theory is that if an agent is better trained and better motivated to perform, their enthusiasm will carry over to their interactions with customers and will make those interactions more satisfying for the customer. Want to learn more about our “Always On” philosophy and why it works for us? Let’s have chat.