How to empower call centre teams to perform at their best
How do you train your call centre teams when they’re busy on the phone for their entire shift, dealing with customer queries?
These are your most important people; the main point of contact for customers and the ‘public face’ of your company, so getting them the best customer service training is critical. But is it happening?
In many cases, call centre staff feel overwhelmed and unsupported:
- 25% – the global average turnover rate at call centres
- 27% – the churn figure for entry level agents in the US
- 26% – the overall turnover among call centre staff in the UK
Faced with high customer expectations and tough company targets, it seems a lot of advisors aren’t being given the skills or the tools to meet these demands. They’re either quitting – or staying and doing a bad job.
According to one survey, poor customer experience is costing UK brands £234 billion a year – and call centres are a big part of it. The top reasons for customers switching to a competitor include waiting in contact centre queues with no call back option and dealing with a call centre agent who has no knowledge of the customer’s previous interactions. And it’s not their fault.
Two inspiring examples of best practice
When designing training for contact centre employees, two factors should be taken into account: they don’t have the time for lengthy training sessions, and the learning must be focused on them understanding and responding to customers’ needs.
Embedding customer service at AXA with blended learning
AXA Business Insurance wanted to support its call centre in Glasgow to deliver a world-class, personalised service to its customers, mainly small businesses. The learning was designed by Sponge following consultation with AXA subject matter experts, so that best practice could be identified and worked towards.
The triple award-winning Inspiring Customer First programme was launched in January 2017 and focused on topics such as emotional intelligence and using positive language. The blended programme had something for everyone, from microlearning, interactive games and video to quizzes, peer coaching and live exercises. Team leaders played an important part, undergoing training prior to launch, offering coaching support, and leading short, daily learning hubs. At the end of each week, employees would test their skills in a digital game. Results were measured via customer feedback and an independent review website.
Results: Top-rated calls in AXA’s internal ratings system more than doubled, positive customer comments increased by 113% and formal complaints dropped by 24%.
How BT improved customer satisfaction while reducing onboarding time, repeat customer calls & handling time
To provide the sort of service its customers asked for in a customer feedback survey, BT Consumer – part of British Telecommunications – created 2,200 new jobs at contact centres in the UK. All needed induction within 12 months, so onboarding time per trainee had to be swift but effective.
A priority was instilling knowledge and confidence so that advisors could promptly and successfully resolve customers’ queries in the first call. Staff in Sales and Retention received 30 days of classroom training and 30 days in transition, where they practised taking calls with coaches.
Then, as part of a trial, some continued to learn new knowledge and reinforce what they had previously learned, using the Axonify Microlearning Platform that combines adaptive microlearning, brain science and gamification. The trial was repeated in the Connections department, which gets customers’ services up and running.
Results: In both trials, those who had the extra Axonify learning achieved higher knowledge lifts. The training also led to a reduction in repeat calls and call-handling times. Significantly, training delivery times were down by 24%.
We’ll leave you with a final big stat to ponder: In the UK, there are 6,200 contact centres employing 770,000 agents. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) calculates that it costs £6,125 to replace a call centre employee. Based on the 26% turnover, the UK-wide cost of replacing these employees is £1.2 billion. That’s an average of almost £200,000 per centre.
It pays to provide call centre employees with the best training possible and a supportive workplace environment. You’ll retain your workers for longer – and your customers.