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Empowering Contact Centre Agents by Delivering Targeted, Engaging, and Effective eLearning

Sep 3, 2008
eLearning offers a range of educational outcome and cost reduction benefits for contact centre training delivery. These include reductions in training delivery time, increased agent skill sets, continuity in training delivery and greater content engagement. Through the use of eLearning technologies, agent skill sets can be greatly enhanced by allowing the trainee to learn at their own pace, and in their own style.

Today's contact centre agents are expected to know more and more products and services than ever before, all in the name of first call resolution. It is a difficult task to expect contact centre agents to understand all of the features and benefits of your entire product range or the services you can provide.

The majority of contact centre agents will have access to an extensive knowledge database which will house all of the information they need to provide to their customers. For today's Gen Y contact centre agent who has grown up in the age of Google and Wikipedia, and is accustomed to having information at their finger tips, these knowledge databases can be a very empowering tool.

Much of the new contact centre eLearning being developed focuses on these agent knowledge database tools, providing agents with the tools to find the information they need to help service your customers while avoiding the sort of information overload that often overwhelms new recruits.

The focus of this style of training is to familiarise new agents with the tools they will be using once they are on the phones. However, another key component of this training is to give an understanding of the products and services of your company.

It is important that the agent is not in the realm of 'they don't know what they don't know' (unconscious incompetence) and that they are in the sphere of 'they know they don't know' (conscience incompetence). Meaning that the agent will know that they don't know all of the details of an offering and will know to use the knowledgebase before attempting to assist your customer. Or 'they know they know' (conscience competence) where the agent will be able to respond to your customer enquiry and effectively use the knowledgebase to further their understanding of the topic.

The benefit of this approach is that the agent is conditioned through their training to use the knowledgebase tool as a first point of contact. Rather than placing the customer on hold and seeking assistance from a team leader or other resource, increasing their average handling time, and lessening the customer experience. A further outcome from this is that the team leader is freed from constant questioning and call escalations and better able to provide mentoring and coaching to support agent development.

In a recent implementation of eLearning to replace the entire induction training for a contact centre, Aframe was able to cut the time taken to deliver the training in half, delivering massive cost savings to this contact centre. In comparison to the previous Instructor Led Training (ILT) these agents were emerging from the training showing a significant improvement in their assessment results (71% ILT vs. 91% eLearn). Not only did the agents undertaking the eLearning complete the training in half the time, with greater assessment outcomes, their on-phone performance and speed to competency was greatly enhanced.

In this sales based contact centre, agents completing the eLearning experienced a whopping 9% reduction in their AHT on their first week on the phone. These agents also saw an astronomical 11.1% improvement in the sales conversion during the same period. With reductions in training time, greater knowledge retention, and more efficient and effective conversations this contact centre saw a remarkable return on their eLearning investment.

Salmat SalesForce, winner of the Hewitt Best Employer Award for three consecutive years, recognises the importance of performance managing, training and optimising the skills of their staff. Salmat SalesForce founder Kevin Panozza is convinced that staff training is crucial, stating that "well trained -- and empowered -- people can identify and resolve issues and so eliminate time-consuming call escalation that frustrates and irritates customers. The bottom line is you can't train customers -- so you have to train staff."
About the Author
Aframe provides comprehensive eLearning, learning content development, compliance training, and learning management system solutions across Asia Pacific.
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