Technology for Training Contact Center Agents

Looking for a more efficient way to train your contact center agents? You might consider workforce management software.

Today’s workforce management systems offer a range of capabilities that go beyond the management of staffing levels. They can also play a helpful role in delivering training and coaching sessions to agents.

Many small to mid-size companies are still using standard spreadsheets or bare bones scheduling applications to schedule agents’ shifts. The challenge for them is deciding on the best time to deliver training or coaching to their agents, without having to clock them in on the weekends or force them into working overtime to take training. Mainly they have to avoid scheduling training or coaching lessons during peak periods of activity, which in turn can have a negative impact on customer service levels.

Workforce management systems are able to forecast, with surprising accuracy, when low or high peaks will occur during any hour on any given day (based on automated, software-driven statistical analysis of past traffic volume patterns, derived from your ACD), so you can schedule certain agents for training or coaching sessions without having to worry about negatively impacting customer service. For example, if one of your agents is, for example, having a difficult time cross-selling or upselling during his or her calls, you can use your workforce management software to schedule a brief, 15-minute training session during a low peak volume period.

What’s more, you can automate your training program by integrating your workforce management software with an e-learning system. Today’s Web-based e-learning solutions make it simple to deliver training modules, whether based on your own training program or someone else’s, directly to a specific agent’s desktop.

These training modules can be delivered to any end point on your contact center network, whether it is an agent sitting at his desk right in the main center, at a remote center miles away, or perhaps another center on the other side of the globe. Even remote or home based agents can have targeted, custom training modules delivered to their PCs right in their homes, just the same as an agent sitting in the main center.

Using your workforce management system in tandem with your e-learning system, your call center managers will no longer have to take groups of agents “off-line” in the middle of their shifts and shuffle them off to a training facility for training or coaching. This is known to lead to wasted time, as agents will tend to loiter around and use the opportunity to “take a break.” Instead, you can train them right at their desks, thus enhancing the training or coaching process while at the same minimizing the impact on customer service.

Most of today’s workforce management systems are available on an on-demand, or software-as-as-service basis — and vendors are pricing these Web-based systems on a per-seat or per-agent basis. As such, even small companies with a few dozen agents are finding that it’s a compelling value proposition.

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