5 tips to improve your telephone skills training

Make your telephone skills training more effective

Telephone skills trainingLooking at the relationship between quality management, training and coaching can help you focus your efforts where it really counts – the customer experience.

1. Review your quality management procedure

Your call quality monitoring should be regular and consistent. But is it due for an overhaul?

Some evaluations we’ve seen focus too much on compliance and breaches. This pass/fail approach doesn’t give agents much to strive for.

A more motivating approach is to define the difference between a ‘good’ call and a merely satisfactory one. Some call centres even offer a bonus for agents who consistently reach higher quality targets, with powerful results.

Also, encourage buy-in by involving contact centre staff in setting the new criteria.

2. Make coaching collaborative

Obviously monitoring needs to be followed up with feedback, coaching and/or training to be effective. But do your agents see these as negative, Big Brother type sessions that could lead to a disciplinary?

Instead, make feedback sessions short, upbeat and fun. Have agents listen to their own calls and compare them to ‘Golden Calls’ by more skilled operators. 

3. Monitor the monitors

Quality will only be as good as the assessor. In one company I worked with, the quality assurance staff preferred to give negative feedback by email because it was ‘easier’ (for them, presumably). Not surprisingly, performance did not improve and attrition rates were high.

Quality monitoring involves analytical, feedback and coaching skills. It tends to work best as a dedicated role, leaving supervisors and team leaders free to manage.

4. Combine call recordings and role play

Using recorded calls can be more effective than side-by-side coaching, as agents will often perform better or worse with their manager next to them than they would normally.

In the training room, listening and evaluating calls together improved individual quality scores by up to 20%. Try combining this with telephone role play. Research has shown that role play is up to 55% more effective than just watching training videos, actors or other agents.

5. Invite customer feedback

Don’t assume that just because your quality scores are improving, your customers are happier. It’s easy to fall in to the trap of obsessing about individual call elements while missing the big picture – the real customer experience.

Use regular customer surveys to fine tune your quality measures and focus telephone skills training on specific, high impact areas.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

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