Once thought to be too expensive for the call center, e-learning is hot. Through the Web, e-learning allows your customer service reps to brush up on skills or training between calls and shifts. The last part in our series address how e-learning smoothes ongoing tactical challenges.
The chief purpose of a call center is to provide the company with efficient, cost-effective customer interactions, but many managers are too busy putting out fires to concentrate on efficiency. Once implemented, e-learning is a time- and organization-saver. With e-learning, centers can:
- Efficiently tweak training content;
- Limit and control the quantity of paper-based documentation;
- Integrate content with performance management;
- Simplify the scheduling of training; and
- Eliminate the need for agents to move from their work stations to classrooms for training.
E-learning is a dynamic method of delivering learning faster, in smaller units, using better search and metadata tagging. The smaller the center, the more difficult scheduling time off the phone is. And managers who have invested in classroom training are more likely to fill the classrooms with individuals who really do not need the training.
Traditional costs associated with training such as materials and travel (even time to and from the training room away from the desk) are completely eliminated. Managers will no longer see a sharp decrease in productivity associated with training because employees will be empowered to learn at their own pace.
Developers will soon be exploring workflow-based learning, which occurs in real-time immediately after a customer asks a question that the agent cannot answer. Workflow-based learning blurs the line between online help systems and training. Companies with e-learning systems installed will be able to take advantage of this exciting development.
E-learning is a powerful strategy for any manager looking for ways to develop a workforce while minimizing the time agents spend away from their core deliverables. A higher percentage of training is actually accomplished.
With a variety of pricing options available, e-learning is becoming affordable even for the small and medium sized centers. As complexity and demand on agent skills increase, short, informal, online training will become entrenched in the call center process. As agent skills sharpen, customer satisfaction will closely follow. Busy managers like Olivia have a lot to gain.
Art Hall is a consultant with Alvarez & Marsal Business Consulting in Atlanta; specializes in customer management solutions. Kathryn Jackson is co-founder of Ocean City, NJ-based contact center consultancy Response Design Corporation.