The 5 pillars of training for better contact centres | DMA

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The 5 pillars of training for better contact centres


With more companies, from Barclays to RSA, bringing their call centre operations back to the UK (due to increasing customer demand for on-shore call agents), there’s been a steady increase in firms outsourcing this operation. Npower’s decision to sell 770,000 customer contracts to Telecom Plus is just one recent example.

The increased use of social media, and the growing demand for live web chat, means more is being demanded of call centre agents in an often testing and hectic job.

As a result, there’s now a greater need for call centres to support their staff with more robust training programmes giving them the skills to keep up with constantly expanding demands. A motivated and career-focused team will generate positivity that is transferred to the customer.

The more support you can offer, the more likely you will also see an increase in productivity. But you’ll also see a decrease in staff attrition, leading to a more knowledgeable core team who understand customer needs (and the needs of your business).

When brands are looking to partner with an outsourced call centre operation, this low turnover will provide reassurance that agents will become deeply rooted in the brand values and represent these effectively to customers.

The DMA has identified five key pillars of training, which enable staff to become better agents and strengthens partnerships with brands:

  1. Train relevant to the needs of the individual, not just the product being promoted
  2. Hard skills – product knowledge, campaign objectives, customer demographics
  3. Soft skills – listening techniques, call structure, updating customer records
  4. Complaint handling and escalation
  5. Regulatory requirements – TPS, Data Protection Act, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)

For more information on these five pillars, please check our two best practice documents: Best Practice Guide; Business-to-Consumer Telemarketing and Best Practice Guide; Contact Centres & Telemarketing, Business-to-Business

In this year’s budget, Chancellor George Osborne highlighted the need for businesses to support staff by doubling the annual investment allowance for UK businesses to £500,000. This allowance can be used for a number of investment purposes, including training and people development.

The ability to effectively communicate and resolve difficult situations with customers, be it on the phone, via email or Twitter, is vital to ensuring your company doesn’t fall at the first hurdle when engaging with customers and nurturing long-term relationships.

By DMA guest blogger Jo Varey, MD, Granby Marketing Services and DMA Contact Centres & Telemarketing Council member

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