3 ways to improve training in contact centres

3 ways to improve training in contact centres
Attrition in the contact centre industry is notoriously high, and has been for a long time. While many contact centres can attract the workers they need, they struggle to retain them. As a result, they’re caught in an endless recruitment cycle, which significantly impacts on workforce productivity and on their bottom line.

One of the reasons there is such high attrition in contact centres is a lack of training and development opportunities. Workers increasingly recognise that they need to continually upskill, in order to remain employable for the long-term. So, if their current employer doesn’t offer the opportunities they’re looking for, they’ll move to an employer who does.

How to improve training in contact centres

Designing effective training and development programmes in the contact centre industry can be a challenge. Many contact centres have quite flat workforce structures. So, realistically, few individuals will have the opportunity to move up the ranks. As a result, traditional progression-focused development programmes aren’t always fit for purpose – and business leaders struggle to come up with an alternative model that provides their workers with the support they’re looking for.

Progression-focused development programmes aren’t the only option though. In fact, our recent survey of 19,000 Millennials found that they want to develop their individual skills, rather learn how to manage and lead others.

It’s time for business leaders in the contact centre world to redefine what ‘training and development’ means. After all, there’s a whole host of different processes that they can utilise to nurture their workers, including:

  • Recognise that there’s no silver bullet for training – There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ fix for employee development. Everyone wants – and needs – vastly different kinds of training. So you can’t implement a new contact centre-wide training programme, and expect it to be a success for everyone. Instead, take a multi-channel approach to development; providing easy-to-access training on a range of different mediums. This will enable your advisors to learn what they want, in the way that best suits them.
  • Focus on variety – A demotivated workforce impacts on the bottom line. While your contact centre’s structure may not allow for many advisors to move up the career ladder, offering them the chance to move sideways and spend some time in another team is a straightforward way to enhance their personal development. Whether they shadow someone for a couple of days or take a secondment for a number of months – this will provide them with increased variety in their role, and boost employee morale too.
  • Have regular career conversations – It’s important to provide workers with an open forum where they can discuss their career priorities. You can’t just rely on an annual appraisal to achieve this; they don’t happen anywhere near often enough. Instead, arrange regular one-to-one meetings with your workers, where you can discuss their near-term career objectives and implement plans to achieve them. This will allow them the chance to talk openly about their priorities, challenges and goals; and it will give you the chance to nip any issues in the bud before they escalate.

Futureproofing the workforce

We cannot understate the importance of effective training and development within the contact centre industry. Not only can it improve retention, but it can enhance internal talent mobility too. For example, our 2016 Talent Shortage Survey found that 53% are investing in training and development to upskill their existing workforce, in order to fill other positions within the company through internal moves. This is a huge increase from year before, where only 1 in 5 employers said they were doing this.

Moreover, as technology – and AI in particular – becomes more sophisticated, the importance of developing contact centre workers will rise even further. We’re rapidly getting to a point where AI can solve common customer issues without human intervention. This will leave contact centre agents to focus on solving complex issues and non-routine tasks. Consequently, workers need to be more skilled than ever before – and employers need to improve their training and development programmes, to enable them to rise to this challenge.

At Manpower, we can help you to build a workforce strategy that ensures you attract and retain the talent your business needs. We have a wealth of experience in delivering workforce solutions to the contact centre industry, which reduce staff turnover, improve customer loyalty and save costs. If you’d like to find out more, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly.

To find out more about our expertise in contact centre recruitment and workforce planning, visit manpower.co.uk/contact-centres or email us at [email protected]