Adaptation of contact center operators Part 4. Communication with the team

Key features of communication for newbie agents in the company: advice and life hacks for both sides, agents’ adaptation.

Adaptation of contact center operators Part 4. Communication with the team

In this part, we will talk about the features of communication between newcomers and old people of the company: tips and life hacks for both parties. Do not miss our previous articles about the adaptation of operators and sales managers:

Practical demonstration of coaching skills

Critical! In training, the trainer should be able to show the correct technique of working with real clients. Turn on the speakerphone and the coach makes/receives demo calls. Especially when it comes to sales. If the coach is not able to demonstrate mastery of sales techniques by personal example, the training can be considered a failure, because it will not be possible to gain the trust of the trainees and all the correct words of the coach will remain just words. In numbers, you need 10-12 demonstrations per sales training course. Ideally, at the beginning of the course, the trainer includes listening to sound recordings of successful sales of working managers and his own personal sales, and before starting the training, CRM himself demonstrates the skills. Not necessarily all conversations will end successfully, you need to explain to the interns that this is normal and analyze all conversations with them in the key “what do you think should have been done differently/better”. If you are very afraid of risks, you can do with only sound recordings of the trainer's dialogues, but then, most likely, the effectiveness of any collections of best calls that will be sorted out with the trainees will be low in terms of training. And in general, why do we need such a coach who himself does not know how to teach? Life hack: if the director decides to attend training sessions, it will be great if the coach asks him to simulate a conversation with the decision maker (the coach for the manager, the director for the decision maker), and then analyze the dialogue with the group. It is the leaders who are able to give practical real advice from practice, but the coaches are not always able to do this. In addition, the participation of the top management of the company in training is a strong motivating factor, and the stories of top managers about their own experience are of great interest to subordinates, which is why it is so important to involve them. The only thing that needs to be done beforehand is to make sure that the leaders who took part in the training have the right technique for providing feedback and understand the features of adult learning. In some cases, for example, in the process of basic training, it is advisable to invite not senior managers, but operational managers. At the same time, of course, one must proceed from common sense and correlate the scale and goals of the learning task with the scope of competencies of the experience holder invited to the training.

The principle of "reification"

It is also very cool to provide visibility that the coach talks about the rules of conduct. For example, if he explains that inbound managers have to keep to work schedules because the unplanned absence of one of them puts additional strain on colleagues, this may be understandable, but not descriptive. A fun exercise that creates visualization looks like this : The trainer almost completely fills a glass (preferably plastic) with water, puts it on the table, and asks the group members to hold the table on weight. When there are several participants, it is easy to keep the table level so that water does not spill and the glass does not fall. The trainer then "sends the participants off for an unscheduled break" one at a time (asks them to move away from the table) so that the tabletop tilts. In the end, either the water spills or the cup falls – the remaining participants cannot cope with the "incoming load" .

Life hack for getting to know each other interns

What is the best way to introduce newcomers to each other during introductory training? Even at the interview, the recruiter must record 2-3 positive facts about the candidate (for example, he started working at the age of 16, was noted by management at his previous job, etc.). This information is passed to the coach. When the coach introduces the newcomer to the group, he will display a slide with [newcomer photo], the facts that the recruiter recorded, and the recruiter's review (until this point, the review is not voiced). Feedback in any case will be positive, since the candidate was invited to study. The content of the slide is voiced by the trainer. Get good effects:

  • An unusual performance is better remembered.
  • Newcomers see that the representatives of the company showed attention to them, remembered them. And they understand that they were not asked questions at the interview just for the sake of formality. And in general … it is broadcast that no one is forgotten, nothing is forgotten, the company remembers the good. This is an important message.

Getting to know other employees and managers

From my point of view, it is good practice to introduce operators/managers to their future mentors and direct supervisors in advance. I usually invite supervisors/senior salespeople to an introductory training for a short self-presentation (no more than 3-5 minutes) and talk about their growth story and experience in the company (the presentation should be practiced in advance). At the same time, the trainer should outline the range of issues that the supervisor helps the operator solve: from consultations in difficult situations with subscribers to organizing interaction with other departments, for example, with accounting. Some of my colleagues prefer to introduce operators and their future immediate supervisors in a relatively informal setting, for example, during lunch. I don’t welcome this approach, but I don’t deny it, the result is something like this. However, one must understand that within the framework of the training it is easier to “cover” the entire group, not everyone goes to the canteen for lunch. The same goes for getting to know group leaders and service heads. In addition, one important point must be taken into account: both current operators and newcomers should always contact the personnel department and accounting department only with the personal presence of a senior: trainer or supervisor. Otherwise, there is a risk of creating a bad practice, when a manager who decided to quit, instead of talking to his direct boss, immediately goes to the personnel department to write a letter of resignation. In this case, it is more difficult to return it. It will be a very good practice if one of the top managers attends the training for 5-10 minutes, briefly tells:

  • About myself
  • On the goals, objectives and plans of the company
  • About how the work of the future manager is connected with the achievement of the strategic goals of the organization
  • About the team and how the company develops and moves up (including in terms of increasing personal income) people – on specific examples

All four components of the performance and the observance of their order are mandatory.

Providing educational materials

Giving learning materials to get to know yourself is okay. After all, there is practically nothing that the caller who called the sales department or contact center cannot recognize or who is called. At the very least, everything related to induction can be passed on quite calmly: there is nothing to put the stamp “for official use” on and there is nothing that the trainee could not tell his acquaintances. If you give printouts, arrange them in a neat and professionally made A6 book (so that it is convenient to carry in your purse). Personally, I am a supporter of giving web access to educational materials, they can be read and listened to (for example, recordings of best calls) on a smartphone, for example, on the road. The only point is to keep track of the number of views / downloads. If there are few views, either with the materials or with the training, something is wrong.

Break rates

Training breaks should be at least 25-30% longer than the corresponding shift breaks. Otherwise (especially in cases where training lasts all day), beginners literally go crazy. Increasing the duration of breaks does not necessarily mean that operators should be sent to “walk” during this time. The available minutes can (and should) be utilized in production gymnastics, getting to know other employees, analyzing "instructive stories" and other adaptation activities.

A few words about industrial gymnastics

This is especially true for contact centers. It happens that the management of the contact center is trying to introduce elements of industrial gymnastics (a cool thing, by the way, directly affects labor productivity), but operators in every possible way dodge the exercises. The reasons are clear: someone "does not want to look stupid", and someone "does not understand why it suddenly needed to be done." The problem as a whole is removed if people are taught to do simple exercises at the introductory training (for once, the argument “we were taught that way” has real practical benefits). Secondly, you need to start with simple exercises, and not with "leg swings at shoulder level in a triple jump." To prevent anyone from “feeling stupid”, suggest that future operators in training do 1-2 eye exercises before each break . This is quite enough. If the course of study is long, it is quite possible that people will even have time to form a habit. If you don’t have time, it doesn’t matter, at least if something similar is practiced in the company, it will be much easier for operators to accept the idea after receiving permission to work independently. And, of course, you don't have to force anyone. The introduction of elements of industrial gymnastics for the eyes while still in training is an additional example of how newcomers can be adapted to real working conditions. What people learn in the introductory course, they will normally perceive and use in their work.

A little embellishment of the process

In addition to all that has been said – a small rose (that is, an apple or a tangerine) on the cake. At the end of the day of the school day (but not the first), give out tangerines to beginners. But not simple ones, but with a small sticker-sticker-logo of the company. Cheerful smiles guaranteed. There should be not only study, there should also be fun. In the next part, we will talk about how to organize the process of independent work of new sales managers.

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