You’ve gone through the recruitment process, found the ideal call center agent, and they’ve agreed to join the team—now it’s time to onboard them. To ensure your new agent performs to the best of their ability and has a great experience at your organization, you need to get off on the right foot. To do this, you need to develop an effective onboarding process. Here’s how you can do it.
Call center onboarding is about introducing a new hire to the company and their role. It’s a crucial period where you set expectations for the future, get the new employee up to speed, and deliver the training necessary for them to carry out their duties. While the first week is typically the most intense, onboarding is often a longer-term process with frequent milestones across the first 90 days or so of employment. You need to set your new agent up for success by giving them a clear understanding of the role in terms of needed technical skills, operational procedures, company culture, and more.
An effective onboarding process gives new hires a solid platform to thrive within your call center. When done correctly, onboarding improves productivity, boosts customer satisfaction, and helps with agent retention. While all of these areas can be further improved with ongoing training, it’s essential that agents get off to a strong start in their new role.
Effective onboarding empowers agents to assist customers as efficiently as possible, feeding into key call center metrics like customer satisfaction, net promoter score, and first-call resolution. An agent who is fully up to speed with their duties and the tools required will deliver quicker resolutions than one who isn’t.
With nearly two-thirds of customers ready to jump ship to a competitor after only one or two bad experiences, getting CX right is essential. Onboarding should provide agents with the operational and product knowledge to consistently deliver exceptional CX.
For contact center leaders, ensuring agent productivity is an ongoing challenge. With an effective onboarding flow, you can improve agent efficiency, leading to lower costs and, as a result, greater profit margins.
Strong onboarding is a significant contributor to employee engagement, with LinkedIn reporting that 94 percent of employees would stay longer if the company was invested in their development. Given the persistent issue of high turnover in the industry, keeping your agents committed is key.
Onboarding is also an opportunity to outline your organizational mission and get new recruits aligned with your company goals. Doing this right from the start—while also remembering to reinforce the message regularly—will ensure that your agents understand and can relate to the shared objectives of your team.
While technical skills are necessary for an agent to do their job effectively, the onboarding process is about more than just practical knowledge. It’s about making sure that your new hire is the right cultural fit for your call center. While they may have all the practical abilities to do the job well, a personality clash with the rest of the team could impact team morale.
While the onboarding process may vary depending on the needs of each call center, there are a few key steps you can apply to any onboarding flow to maximize your chances of success.
After going through the interview process, new hires should already know what the job entails. However, the onboarding process is an opportunity to reiterate their core duties, day-to-day tasks, and long-term goals within your call center. This step is vital, as a misalignment between reality and what the agent expects can lead to higher agent turnover. Be sure to map out onboarding activities for the initial weeks and months, as this will set the tone for the early stages of employment. For example, you could schedule meetings with peers and supervisors to build relationships and outline a 90-day onboarding plan with clear milestones.
An effective training program is both comprehensive and long-term, covering key skills and knowledge, as well as best practices, organizational goals, operational procedures, and more. Be sure to keep it varied, with both group and one-on-one sessions, as well as different delivery methods. You can use an integrated learning management system to guide your new hires or provide an in-depth knowledge base to facilitate self-learning. Either way, training should be tailored according to the needs of the call center agent in question. For example, an on-site employee may require different training than a remote worker.
A dedicated onboarding team can help streamline the process, ensuring that there are no gaps and keeping the new hire on track. By assigning a lead to each area and separating the different elements of the process, you can refine the process and deliver specialized onboarding for each focus area. For example, you could assign a lead to concentrate on company culture, as this would help the new hire to seamlessly integrate with the rest of the team and build working relationships quickly. A mentorship system could also be part of this, speeding up learning and making new hires more comfortable by offering them a direct line of support. This mentorship approach brings the added benefit of empowering existing team members.
Technology is essential for call center operations, so it’s vital that you comprehensively cover tech as part of your onboarding process. Make sure new hires have access to any devices or online resources they need—this includes shipping items to remote agents in advance—and customize agent desktops for ease of use. You can also use a learning management system to facilitate training, incorporating interactive modules, videos, and other tools in a trackable, guided ecosystem. The learner-friendly nature of an LMS appeals more to modern audiences, helping new hires to acquire new knowledge quickly and get to grips with their role.
Onboarding a new call center agent is about more than just the practical side of things. To avoid agent turnover and keep morale up, it’s important that new hires fit in with the existing company culture. You have likely assessed this during the hiring process, but onboarding allows you to further reinforce your organization’s culture and values. It might be tempting to neglect this area in favor of more technical, skills-based training, but the importance of personality in the call center can’t be overstated. A dedicated onboarding module focused on mission, values, and culture will pay off in the long run.
An effective onboarding process extends far beyond the first day. Be sure to check in regularly, setting up regular one-to-one meetings and outlining milestones across the first few months of employment. The agent should know who they can talk to in case they run into any problems and what their support system is should they struggle to adapt. This longer-term thinking allows new hires to settle in and build the right habits without excessive pressure to fend for themselves.
Even if you’re happy with your existing approach to onboarding, it’s important to keep refining the process to ensure it remains effective. You should collect feedback, from both agents and supervisors, and use it to address any gaps you may identify in the process. Through these constant improvements, you can keep your call center onboarding flow fresh and help your organization grow alongside the new hires. Given the rapid technological advancements of recent years, you will also likely need to update your training regularly to keep up with new tech and software.
The call center recruitment process requires a lot of hard work from multiple parties, so when you do pull the trigger on a new hire, you want to make all that effort worthwhile and set them up for success. To do this, you need to develop an effective onboarding process, introducing the agent to their role and establishing expectations for their future in your contact center. With a clear plan for your new agent’s first few months, you can develop a program that will not only facilitate their growth but will positively impact customer experience, agent turnover, productivity, and key metrics like CSAT and NPS. With an integrated learning management system, personalized agent dashboards, and in-depth reporting tools, Scorebuddy can support your onboarding process and give new hires a platform for success. Request your 14-day free trial today to see what Scorebuddy can do for you.