138 4.1 Overview
4.1 Overview
The type of training that most successful centers provide to CSRs, supervi-
sors, and managers heavily emphasizes business training and handling a
wide range of call situations. Supervisor and management training pro-
grams should not be the extent of the learning process, however. Ongoing
learning should also include attending industry conferences and reading
trade publications. Networking with other call center supervisors and man-
agers is also a good source of learning and acquiring useful knowledge.
Testing the waters
It is easier for CSRs to make the transition to supervise if they have been
well prepared during their time on the front lines. CSRs who exceed perfor-
mance objectives, demonstrate leadership abilities, communicate well, are
technically competent, and have high-level customer service skills should be
offered the opportunity to learn other functions and to move into manage-
ment positions. Call center managers should continually seek out CSRs
who are interested in learning and should find learning opportunities for
those CSRs who express an interest in a particular area. For example, for
CSRs who express the desire to become trainers, managers should provide
opportunities for these individuals to help out with the training group,
either by assisting in training development or even conducting a training
session. Other occasions for these CSRs to try out their management or
training skills occur, for example, when a supervisor is out of the center for
an extended period of time (e.g., on maternity or medical leave or holi-
days). On such occasions, a senior-level agent could be asked to be an
interim team leader. CSRs aspiring to management roles can also be encour-
aged to represent their call centers in organizationwide, cross-functional project
Developing formal and informal methods of nurturing and growing
aspiring CSRs into call center supervisors and managers may be time-inten-
sive, but it is also necessary to ensure a successful transition into manage-
ment. It is difficult for people to be placed in a leadership situation when
they are not prepared for the role, either formally or informally.
Motivating call center employees
The aspects of the work environment that motivate call center employees are
the same ones that motivate employees in any other work environment, plus
some that take into account the special responsibilities of call center staff.
4.1 Overview 139
Chapter 4
These motivational factors, not necessarily in order of significance, can be
summarized as follows:
Working conditions
Work challenges
Management appreciation
Job security
Promotion and career path opportunities
Involvement in planning
Employer loyalty
Tactful human resource policies
Coaching and training
Training provides CSRs, supervisors, and managers with the critical
knowledge and skills to make a measurable contribution to strategic goals.
Appropriate training for center staff can improve productivity and service
levels by more than 15%. A training and development plan for the next 12-
to 18-month period should be established and should include ongoing
training programs for all staff in areas of customer service, sales, and systems/
processes. Additional training requirements will be dictated by what business
system/applications are in place—customer service, sales, and help desk,
among others.
Some general training issues
In general, it is important to develop a knowledge and skills matrix
and curricula that identify the initial and ongoing training needs of
CSRs, supervisors, and managers. A reevaluation of skills should be
done on a regular schedule to ensure that adequate training is being
provided and that there are reference points for defining “subject
expertise.” It is also important to ensure that call-handling guidelines
and other procedures be well documented and available at the CSR’s
desktop for quick reference. Specific training requirements may differ
from one organization to another; however, there are a number of
common, key elements that should be incorporated into any initial
training program, including
Knowledge of the organization, including its mission, vision and core
values, key performance objectives, office values, and business strategies

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