When you hear the word “training” in relation to work, you probably think of on-boarding or a similar type of one-off training session that gives you the basic skills to do their job right. This type of training is the most common in every type of workplace, but on-boarding alone is not enough. In-depth and persistent training and skills development in contact centers is another powerful tool to increase and maintain employee readiness.
Due to its nature as a low-skill job that usually does not require intensive education or a college degree, leaders often overlook the importance of training and skills development in contact centers for new and newly promoted workers. While it is true that run of the mill contact center operations is not rocket science, some contact centers suffer from a chronic lack of well-trained, up-to-date workers with the necessary abilities to thrive in a competitive and ever-changing industry.
As a contact center leader, it is up to you to make sure that you know why training and skills development is important, how to implement training in an effective way, and how to continue the process of training over time.
4 Big Reasons Why Training and Skills Development in Contact Centers is Important
1. Training and Skills Development in Contact Centers Gives More confident and versatile employees
Generally, onboarding is directed towards training employees to understand the basics of the position that they are being trained to do. This is, of course, the first step towards building a functional workforce, however, it does not typically train employees to understand the operations and goals of the contact center in a holistic way. The employees who do the very best job in their designated positions are those who understand operations beyond the confines of their own cubicle. Even if those employees never end up being promoted or moving to a different position, their understanding of different positions allows them to be more versatile and confident in their own roles. It also allows them to know when to defer to other employees for expertise.
2. Better interdepartmental relationships
On a similar note, increased training improves relationships between peers and between different tiers of management. This ranges from frontline employees and supervisors to upper management. Employees who have only the most basic training tend to be less understanding of the interconnected nature of each department and management level. One of the best results of conducting more training is an improvement in relationships. In the simplest terms, employees who understand one another are employees who get along.
3. Empathy and soft skills
Another crucial aspect of contact center work, particularly in terms of supervisor and leader effectiveness, is the ability to empathize and form meaningful connections with customers and other employees. Soft skills like empathy, patience, adaptability, and problem-solving complement more concrete skills and give employees wiggle room in conflict. Unfortunately, out of all elements of training and skills development, contact centers focus less on soft skills.
4. Keeping up with technological advances
The technological landscape of contact centers and communication, in general, is changing rapidly. Even employees who have been in the industry for years can begin to fall behind. This is if you do not regularly update technology changes as a contact center. As most contact center leaders know, AI and automation systems show a lot of promise, but if employees and leaders alike fail to understand how to implement it effectively, it can actually damage customer loyalty and overall business outcomes.
How to Conduct Training and Skills Development in Contact Centers
When it comes to implementing training, there are a few ways to do it. As of now, most training still occurs in-person in a meeting/workshop setting. However, the growing capabilities of technology have made online training a more viable option. Those in training should see more of hands-on, real-time training with assistance from experts. Ultimately, being told how to do something is not the same as actually getting it done, and many employees want to see training and skills development reflect that reality.
Maintaining Skills through Application and Continued Training
One-off workshops and training sessions are not sufficient in a workplace that never stops changing. Continued training embeds employees more fully in the system that your particular contact center utilizes. This can result in much better turnover and retention results. It also increases employee satisfaction with their jobs, since it makes their daily work easier. This in turn increases morale and productivity. Continuous training also makes it easier to promote new supervisors as needed. It is precisely because they have a more diverse set of skills and connections. Finally, contact centers that focus on skills training attract proactive workers who are eager to learn more. This makes for an energetic workforce.
- Here are four reasons why your contact center should provide continuous training and skills development.- Click to Tweet
- When was the last time your contact center provided training and skill development?- Click to Tweet
- Some contact centers are more successful than other contact centers because of these four reasons.- Click to Tweet
Jim Rembach is the Editor in Chief of the Customer Service Weekly and it’s Podcast host. He is President of CX Global Media and the creator of the Call Center Coach Virtual Leaders Academy. As the host of the Fast Leader Show Podcast, he has interviewed hundreds of experts, authors, academics, researchers, and practitioners on various angles, viewpoints, and perspectives for improving the customer experience. He has held positions in retail operations, contact centers, customer support, customer success, sales, and measured the customer experience. He is a certified Emotional Intelligence practitioner, Employee Retention Specialist, and recipient of numerous industry awards.