Training for CX success: how investing in agent training impacts customer service.
Updated: Jun 29
Much like a triple threat entertainer or athlete, the contact center agent who’s ace at rapport, resourcefulness and communication has the potential to go far, for both their employer and in their career. Successful contact center agents are able to balance the daily challenges of the role with empathy, clarity and confidence, and more importantly, are able to extend those same qualities to the customers they serve. It goes without saying that building a customer experience that prioritizes these traits can help build trust in your brand and pave the way for stronger, long-lasting customer relationships. So how does a contact center find these legendary triple-threat agents? By training and setting them up for success!
“A good customer service experience heavily impacts recommendations. 94% of consumers who give a company a “very good” CX rating are likely to recommend that company." – Qualtrics XM Institute
Think of a contact center’s unique training approach as a gateway to improving customer experience. All the technological innovations in the world cannot replace the power of authentic human connection, so an agent’s unique skillset, enhanced by the technology that supports their role to offer that essential human connection, has real potential to build a brand’s reputation and revenue. Investing in ongoing training opportunities for agents allows your contact center to evolve and adjust to the fluctuations of customer and market needs, and helps to keep agents feeling more engaged and committed to their role now and into the future. When customers feel that they can connect with agents they trust quickly and efficiently, they are far more likely to stay connected and excited about their relationship with your brand. Remember: just like the significant investment needed to find and retrain a new agent when one leaves, simply attracting new (not yet repeat) customers is estimated to cost between 5 and 25 times more than what it costs to retain a loyal fanbase! Agents who are adept at relating to customers while representing your brand can measurably improve a contact center’s ROI.
Through our work with renowned brands over the past 2 decades, we’ve taken a close look at how successful companies train their agents to create better CX and lasting customer relationships. Consider the following as four pillars of successful contact center training, helping you create and coach a dream team of customer experience experts.
1. Foster a supportive work culture for new hires from their first day. The sooner an agent can feel supported in their new role, the sooner they will feel like an indispensable part of the team. Taking the time for face-to-face team introductions helps new agents put a face to a role, giving them a clearer sense of who to ask for help as they learn the ropes and helping to foster a sense of belonging. Make sure they are well informed about the business goals and priorities, their role’s responsibilities, and how the team is supporting and measuring progress. All of this helps the agent feel more immediately part of a team that is improved by their presence and that cares about their contribution, resulting in better effort and performance from their first day onwards.
2. Train to your new hire’s experience level, and build off the skills they have. It’s safe to assume brand-new contact center agents may need some soft (and possibly hard) skill development, and all new agents need to learn the brand’s approach to customer communication. As well as understanding their role and responsibility in creating strong customer relationships, it’s essential to train and establish brand-oriented best practices for common processes relating to etiquette, call handling and problem-solving. Training for more seasoned agents can focus on honing their existing skillset to suit the communication style of the brand and learning the finer details of the CRM and other necessary technological processes. Including senior and high-performing agents in new agent training activities can set an example of success, and give these senior agents a chance to impart tips and wisdom on how they approach cases, create a consistent customer service experience, and how they’ve been able to grow and develop their own careers with the brand.
3. Prioritize and demonstrate open communication in the training process so that your agents know that it is an essential part of your brand’s workplace culture. Open communication is not just a necessary requirement for working with customers all day long; it makes day-to-day operations more efficient and helps new agents trust their managers, supervisors and teammates from the get-go. The feedback process, necessary in all stages of agent training, should work both ways; agents learn how to accept and incorporate feedback when it’s given constructively and with a specific context. They should also be encouraged to ask questions, request help when needed, and offer feedback on workplace processes and culture, including training, which helps shape the contact center’s training to be even more effective for future agents, and effective, ongoing support for seasoned staff.
4. Help your agents become better brand ambassadors through customized training that represents your business’ values. This can be a fantastic way to determine how aligned agents are with not just their role in the contact center ecosystem, but with the brand’s goals for the future, which can help them visualize a more satisfying, stable career path while helping management identify agents who are more likely to succeed in the long term. Teaching the whole story of your brand’s products and services to your agents enables them to create consistent, savvy customer service that customers trust and appreciate. And contrary to popular belief, working within well-established brand guidelines actually helps agents feel more confident in representing the brand in their own way, making customer interactions easier and more authentic.
Agent training is a journey, not a destination, and with the right planning and process (including these four important points) your brand can create a super-powered, brand-centred approach that grows and evolves with agent and customer needs. This ongoing investment is crucial to the contact center’s operational success, as it significantly contributes to agent satisfaction and retention, as well as all-important revenue growth. But most importantly, prioritizing a culture of training and feedback directly enhances your brand’s ability to authentically connect with its customers in a way that keeps them coming back for more.
bespokeCX gives contact center teams the framework, tools and perspective to enhance agent training initiatives, deliver consistent customer experience, and build an agile, supportive workplace culture. By maximizing operational alignment and engagement, bespokeCX supports innovative and ongoing training and feedback processes that help agents excel at building and growing your brand’s valuable customer relationships. Visit www.bespokecx.com to learn more.