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Train-the-Trainer or SME

Category: Uncategorized
Posted by: gcsagents on April 21, 2015

The pros and cons of the Direct Delivery Training Model versus the Train-the-Trainer and determining which one will work for you.

Training and education are on-going needs in any industry employing customer service teams. As an outsource provider of contracted contact centers, Global Contact Services uses both Direct Delivery Training, and Train-the-Trainer programs to provide on-going development of skill and performance of our Customer Service teams. The key is choosing which training method works for a given situation.

What is Direct Delivery Training?

For a contract contact center, Direct Delivery Training involves having the client’s trainer come on-site and provide the training directly to your training team and agents. Direct Delivery may also be delivered by the subject matter expert (SME) on a product/service or even the sales person. The main point is someone familiar and experienced provides the training to the sales team.

What are some of the benefits of Direct Delivery Training?

Direct Delivery Training provides the benefit of having an expert provide the information. It also provides a consistent training message and experience because the contractor’s agents receive the same training as the client’s agents. The trainer often has a higher level of enthusiasm for their product because they have experience seeing the benefits of it in action. Their history and accompanying stories of the company help the agents develop a feeling for the culture of the company.

Direct Delivery is often done in-person but can be provided through a webinar or video channel. You don't have to worry about providing resources to a Direct Delivery trainer. It can be a cost effective means of training as you can train many people at once and it may save money if the contractor does not have to invest in a trainer. It is ideal for short duration programs and ones with small staffs. It can also save time if you are trying to start or change key components of a complex program.

In some cases, the Trainer role may be provided by a professional trainer hired to develop and deliver a training program due to insufficient existing training material or a skilled trainer.

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When may it not be a good fit?

Often it is impractical for the client to continually provide a trainer. They may have other roles or responsibilities with the company. Or the trainer may not have the teaching skills or abilities to effective train your team.  Adult Learning is complicated. While trainers use the most advanced method possible, there is no guarantee your team's retention will be high. It can also be a costly endeavor if the turnover rate on your customer service team is high. Besides, many companies contract the customer service and expect the training role to be professionally provided.

What is Train-the-Trainer?

Train-the-Trainer models work by identifying key personnel within our center to be trained by the client and then assume the responsibility of training the agents. It makes sense to include the contractor’s training staff, but you may also include key Supervisors, Quality Assurance, and Account Managers depending on the size and details of the program. Training is often done by the client's trainer or subject matter expert who then becomes the primary in-house training resource for the client’s program. The training can be done on-site, off-site or via distance learning. By using your own personnel, you know they will have the best understanding of the training needed to provide the customer service team with what they need to know.

What are the benefits of Train-the-Trainer models?

One of the major benefits of the train-the-trainer model for customer service education is it lets you develop an in-house subject matter expert. This can lessen your long-term cost of training. The major benefit is in doing continuing education with the team and supervisors. Working in concert with the QA team, it becomes a powerful coaching resource for the supervisor. The trainer can adapt their education schedule to fit the budget and time constraints of the program. Train-the-trainer models also have a higher retention rate for information because they are most familiar with the most effective training tactics and the personalities of the team.

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When may it not be a good fit?

While Train-the-Trainer can be highly effective, you do have to have a person whose role is to train and allow them the time and resources, not just at the start of the program, but in an on-going capacity. Some companies may not have the budget to supporting an in-house trainer or the program may be too small to make it practical.

Talk to GCS to decide which is best for your company

While each program is different, we find the best solution most of the time is a hybrid model. We invite the client to do the initial training as Direct Delivery. We get to see and hear their information delivered with the passion and culture background that best helps personalize the product/service for the agents. That also serves as a Train-the-Trainer session for us. Once the client it through with the initial training, our internal team is ready to run with it.

If you are searching for a practical solution to the education of your customer service team, give us a call. Talk to an education specialist about investigating the best process for you. From full service outsource of your program to a consulting review of your training material, we have a solution for you.


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