Online training is call center training that happens via computer. It may be on-site or outside of the center. It is convenient. Employees could complete their training via mobile phone or a laptop from home just as easily as at work. It may also be self-directed. This means that employees would be tasked with completing the training in their own time. In some cases, this type of call center training is used to help agents who are struggling on a particular concept or skill.
On-line training is great for smaller centers where the manager or supervisors are often tasked with the trainer. The online courses can provide the baseline concepts and teach the expectations to a new agent. That frees the manager or leads to focus on the subject matter material, once the basic concepts of soft skills, communications, and customer service are complete.
Normally, there is some level of gamification involved in the training. Features like scoring and screens that say “well done” help keep trainees more engaged. The learning is rarely in a lecture format. A good training video is often accompanied by worksheets, quizzes, and assessments. Our online courses even provide coaching tips for the team leaders to use with their group to re-enforce the learned concepts.
Knowing What You Want
Ask yourself what you want your call center to do for you. Or better, for your customers. Knowing what you want is important and more you can define it, the better.
Let's say you might want a call center services provider to accept your customer service calls. And you never want a customer to wait for more than 30 seconds. This has a definite quantitative value, so it is easy to measure performance.
You might also decide that you only need call center services sometimes. That's okay too. Instead of daily service, you may need seasonal help for a few months out of the year, maybe around the holidays or at specific events.
Next, look at what you need from your agents. Typically, you want the agents doing high-volume repetitive work, like answering questions about your products or processing a return. Many companies leave the specialized knowledge to an in-house team. But even specialized work can be outsourced.
For example, if you want someone who can help your customers install a new engine in a lawnmower over the phone, you will need to have an expert for that knowledge. If the knowledge can be trained or broken down in a knowledge database, it can be done by an outsourced agent. At some point, either the knowledge is too specialized or too infrequently used to require a pool of agents to handle it.
Many companies prepare a Request for Proposal (RFP) or similar document to document their requirements. They will send the RFP to multiple call center outsourcers to have them respond with their proposal and pricing.
Deciding on a Call Center Management Company
Once you have an idea of what you need, you will need to select your a call center provider. Start with your short list that seems to meet your requirements. Then do your due diligence and reference checking..
If you only want someone who knows your industry, you are going to limit yourself. You may miss out on some process experts who aren’t experts in your field but could help reach your goals anyway. Some call centers are adept at learning any business and then apply the right processes to meet your goals. It can be harder to take a company that gets your industry but is not an expert in the processes you need to achieve your results. The bottom line is you don’t have to be a call center expert to enlist the help of an expert call center contractor. Likewise, the call center contractor doesn’t have to be an expert in your industry to deliver expert call center services for your organization. Both of you excel in your core industry and help each other learn what is needed to work together.
Also, look at what else the contractors on your shortlist have to offer. Workforce management will help you get the most bang for your buck because your agents will not be idle. Look at cross-training opportunities and Key Performance Indicator (KPI) results too. These will also help your call center be as efficient and effective as possible.
Culture matters as well. For example, when the online shoe and fashion retailer Zappos wanted an outsourcer to help with overflow and after hours, they didn’t choose an outsourcer that already knew about shoe sizing or even online retail. They could teach that. Instead, they wanted a team of call center agents who had the right personality. They needed people who could represent the company in a seamless way. To do this, they prioritized soft skills in their search for a call center services partner.