In part one of our series, we detailed five tips for targeting better KPIs with your BPO vendor partner.
In part two, we’re focusing on how business leaders can work with their BPO partners to set more ambitious training targets.
In the last year, organizations with rock-solid training processes were handsomely rewarded, quickly scaling their teams remotely as the need for work-from-home agents skyrocketed.
And now even more emphasis on agent training has begun, as organizations are anticipating their training needs in a post-Covid marketplace.
If you’re looking to refine your already exceptional BPO training or trying to “catch” your competitors, here are the top three priorities for managing your training with your outsource call center vendor:
BPO Vendor Priority #1 — Train with the Right Tools
If you’ve ever watched a Disney sports movie, you know the importance of training with the right equipment. Think about it: Imagine you’re the plucky underdogs, about to face the unbeatable, youth-league Goliaths in the city championship. What gets you over the hump? Coach walks in with brand new pads and your slick designer uniforms, uttering some version of “To play like champions, we need to look like champions.”
Shiny new toys can often be overhyped — but that doesn’t mean the right ones don’t offer huge advantages.
To improve your training, you need tools that are tailored to your learning environment. Maybe you’ll be training exclusively remote long-term, or perhaps you’ll gradually shift to in-person instruction down the road,
Make sure your tools elevate your training. Here are some ideas:
Leverage a knowledge base
Great call center training can offer agents a hub of information that lets them “self-serve” to quickly find the answers they need to improve their understanding. A knowledge base is a solution that provides agents of all levels a reliable location to pose questions, get answers, and exchange valuable training resources.
Most programs will have complexities that will change over time. For example, a credit card company may be temporarily offering a balance transfer fee promotion for X%, where normally it’s Y%. An ecommerce company may be experiencing longer delivery times due to seasonality and there will be a need to clarify expectations. Things can change. This is why agents need to know where to find answers, not just memorize them.
- Training Tip: Have the trainer ask a question, and have the trainees search for answers in the knowledge base. Whoever finds the correct answer first “wins,” and then shares how they found the answer with the rest of the class.
- Training Tip: A great CFU (Check For Understanding) technique is to put together a fun “scavenger hunt” of questions a customer may ask. Either individually or as duo, have the agents find the answers in the knowledge base. Then they’ll report on not only the answers but also how they found them.
Use tools to monitor agent success
You can add training dashboards for agent performance, tracking progress and test score results that can help pinpoint high performers or struggling agents. These performance dashboards empower agents to identify their personal areas for improvement while making it more seamless for trainers to intervene with instruction.
The importance of monitoring success doesn’t end when the training sessions do. Performance monitoring tools like dashboards and gamification can serve as digital trainers as the agents graduate to working with real customers.
- TIP 1: Introduce the dashboards to the team early on in the training. Show that they are designed to help – not penalize – the trainee! Being an agent isn’t easy. You go through training, but as soon as the first call comes, you may freeze! That’s why it’s important to take steps to make the training environment mimic production.
Call it the Emilio Estevez strategy, if you want, but it’s time to rally your team around the right tools to create the all-star staff you’ve been dreaming of.
BPO Vendor Priority #2 — Train with Location in Mind
Understanding the local customs of different locations is not just for world travelers. It turns out it’s a great exercise to help you anticipate your training needs for agents across geographies.
After all, outsourcing creates countless customer engagements where people from different walks of life interact. It’s vital you anticipate pain points and train for them to help limit any friction in customer engagements.
When discussing your training goals with your vendor, make sure to discuss the following:
What will be different between agents and customers? — Your agents may be familiar with certain systems that your customers are not — and vice versa. Common systems, such as addresses, phone numbers, date formatting, currency, or measurement units, can vary widely depending on the cultural gap. Challenges like these will exist in almost every outsourcing scenario (and can be compounded by language barriers), so it’s vital to emphasize them early in training.
What customs or norms should be covered? — Depending on the BPO tasks your agents will tackle, you may need to train for certain differences, whether grammatical, cultural, or both. Helping your agents become more immersed in the communities they serve will help empower them with cultural intelligence to elevate their customer service.
What else does your partner recommend? — Make sure you engage your partner in the process, as they are your geographical experts. Your BPO vendor has first-hand experience training in your location, so ask them directly. Not only will you get expert advice and best practices, you’ll probably learn something new about your customer base.
BPO Vendor Priority #3 — Train with an Eye on KPIs
Training programs can have a variety of great benefits: they can bolster agent confidence, increase customer satisfaction, and even uncover process deficiencies – but it’s most important that they are tailored toward the business KPIs you think matter most.
The right tools and the right emphasis on regional training will take you far, but it will inevitably fall short if you’re not aimed at winning across key metrics. From the first day of training, let the trainees know the KPIs, and continue to explain why and how different training exercises will help them improve those KPIs.
For example, if you want higher sales per agent:
- Train your staff to speak to benefits (not just features).
- Create role-play scenarios that sharpen sales rebuttals.
- Simulate common sales scenarios to emphasize winning tactics.
Or perhaps you want to lower average handle time:
- Train your agents with a knowledge base “scavenger hunt,”
- Challenge them to find the correct resolution faster than their peers.
- Create agent familiarity with your knowledge system and how it helps resolve customer issues fast.
Need Help with Training? We Can Find the Right BPO Fit
If your business relies heavily on outsourcing agents to serve your customers, then exceptional training with a BPO partner you can trust is a must-have. The three priorities covered above will help you focus your training processes with your outsourcing partner.
But if you’re still looking for a BPO partner that can meet your high training standards (with a proven track record of success in your industry), let our call center outsourcing experts help with a free no-risk, no-cost consultation today!