While some contact centers are bringing every employee back to the office, many are opting for a hybrid (split onsite and remote) or fully work-from-home model. So, virtual training is here to stay! Whether you train new hires or veteran agents, here are seven tips to make virtual contact center training more impactful!
- Make training scenario-based:
This applies to both in-person and virtual sessions. Do not just train the process. Explain WHY an agent needs to do it and how it affects a customer’s experience with your company. For example, when training the warranty repair process, also train agents on how to deal with – and retain – upset customers.
- Use breakout rooms to role-play customer scenarios:
For example, break your class into pairs and assign each pair their own breakout room online. Have one agent be themselves, while the other agent plays the role of a customer. Ask both agents to turn off their webcams to simulate a phone call. Or turn off their microphones/webcams and use chat to role play a Live Chat scenario.
- Utilize the entire range of videoconferencing tools:
Alternate your facilitation methods. Use virtual breakout rooms, polls, whiteboards, gamification, videos, screen sharing, chat exercises and group discussions to keep your participants’ attention. Different facilitation methods appeal to different learning styles and personalities. For example, videos and whiteboard exercises help visual learners absorb information. On the other hand, playing back a customer call can help auditory learners retain knowledge. Extroverts love speaking up during group discussions, while introverts may feel better using chat or being part of a smaller group during breakout room exercises.
- Leverage blended learning:
Alternate self-study with virtual classroom work. You cannot have participants in a virtual classroom eight hours a day for six weeks. Leverage eLearning and other forms of self-study. Examples: have them watch a YouTube video on customer service and note five techniques used in the video. Or read a knowledge base article and find five benefits for the product shown. If your Learning Management System (LMS) supports it, you can also include quizzes to test for knowledge retention and track completed assignments.
- Have a second trainer as co-host, if needed:
This is helpful for the first day of new hire training or for handling a large group. The second trainer can help participants get logged in and answer technical questions through chat, phone, or email.
- Better yet, do a quick “Tech Check” before Day 1 of a new hire class:
For any new group, I usually give a one-hour window and ask participants to log in for five minutes, anytime during that hour, to ensure their webcam, speaker, and mic (or headset) work. That also gives me a chance to meet each person and begin to build rapport.
- Hold “scavenger hunts” to help agents find information in your knowledge base:
For example, play the start of a customer call and ask agents to look up relevant answers. Then, ask each agent to send the knowledge base link directly to you via chat. (Note: Ask them to send their chat answer to your name only, not “Everyone.” That prevents other agents from copying someone else’s link.)
Use these tips to help make contact center new hire and ongoing virtual training more impactful and engaging.