In the training world, it’s easy to just do what everybody else does. But there are a number of misconceptions about training that you should be aware of.
Myth #1 - Employees Must Memorize Everything During Training
In school, we memorized facts. That was considered learning. So it makes sense that as a trainer (or “teacher”) you want your pupils to memorize everything. Otherwise, you’re not doing your job, right?
Wrong! Your job as a trainer is NOT to get your employees to memorize everything.
Let’s clarify. Your job as a trainer is NOT to get employees to pass assessments with a score of 85% or more—your boss really doesn’t care if call agents or sales reps can pass a quiz. What your boss does care about is whether your employees are productive or providing excellent customer experiences.
That means that your job (as a trainer) is to get new agents to a high level of proficiency in as little time as possible. That is NOT the same thing as getting new agents to memorize everything.
Myth #2 - It takes 3 to 6 months to reach proficiency
When you talk with other trainers about how long it takes new agents to become proficient, you might hear a timeframe of 3 to 6 months. So you figure that you’re doing pretty well because you’re getting similar results as other trainers.
But do you know how long it takes new call agents to be proficient at a BPO in Colorado? Fifteen days.
How about call center agents at UPS? Well, at the last ICMI conference in Las Vegas, attendees visiting the UPS call center learned that new agents are answering phones on the first day.
So, how long can it take new agents to be proficient? Sure, it can take 3 to 6 months. But it doesn’t have to. Proficiency can be reached in as little as 3 weeks, or maybe even 1 day.
Myth #3 - Training = PowerPoint slides with bulleted lists + screenshots
At your last job you noticed that classroom training consisted of PowerPoint slides peppered with bulleted lists and dozens of screenshots.
So, when you prepare training slides, that’s what you do, too.
But you’ve probably noticed that most of the learning happens when your employees are at their desk doing their jobs—not when they’re passively sitting through your presentation. As one of our customers put it, “Presentations are good for providing an overview of your systems, but they aren’t very good for training agents how to do their job.”
If you want your training to transform agents from inept to proficient, you need to recreate that on-the-job experience during your classroom training. That means interactions, running through scenarios, and pushing your agents to use your job aids to respond to questions.
Myth #4 - Training = Job Shadowing
While it can be nice to sit with a friend during the first few weeks of being hired, the truth is that very little knowledge is being transferred during shadowing.
Your experienced employees operate with mental models that help them make decisions and respond to calls appropriately. Those models are often difficult for your experienced employees to explain to new agents, and so mental models rarely make their way from one employee to the next during a shadowing session.
You need to provide a resource that your new agents can reference that walks them through the steps of responding to a question. Not only will agents apply the correct troubleshooting models right away, but they will gradually learn the models at their own pace without interrupting other agents.
Myth #5 - You Need an Enterprise LMS to Improve Employee Performance
Enterprise Learning Management Systems (LMS) are cool. And they definitely have their place. But most LMS solutions aren’t designed to improve your employees’ proficiency.
Most LMS solutions are designed to manage courses that are paced and help students learn concepts. But you’re not a college—you’re a business. And while learning concepts is helpful in many situations, that doesn’t necessarily equate to better employee performance.
Your employees need to be able to update billing information, process purchase orders, or answer customer questions. Which means that your agents need a system they can reference in the moment they need to perform a task or while they are on a phone call with a customer.
And that is not what an LMS is designed for.
So, if you want to improve workforce proficiency and performance, you don’t need a system with quizzes and voiceovers. You need a system that delivers the right answers to your employees while they’re doing their job.
Myth #6 - You Need More Videos!
Videos have recently become all the rage. And in some situations, they make a lot of sense.
But if you’ve ever made training videos, you know how long they take to produce. And most trainers we speak with don’t have the resources to create (and maintain) up-to-date videos that have the latest and greatest information.
The other problem you’ll face is that employees don’t have time to watch all of your videos. So, while videos are great for overviews, they are not so great for in-the-moment help.
Can you imagine your your call center staff putting customers on hold while they skim through a 10-minute video looking for an answer?
Myth #7 - Word and PDF files work great for managing procedures
This myth is perpetuated by those who are either just starting out, or by managers who don’t have to actually write the content and keep up with the changes.
But for anybody who has suffered through adding screenshots and watching the text jump all over the place, and keeping track of the most recent document with up-to-date information, you know that Word and PDF are NOT great for managing procedures.
And anybody perpetuating this myth hasn’t ever talked with the employees who are actually expected to find and use the SOPs and workflow documentation while on a call with a customer. For the most part, employees don’t bother with them, which is why they put customers on hold and ask a neighbor for help.
Check out this customer who cut time to proficiency by 75%
In this customer story, you can read how Stephanie reduced the time it took new employees to be proficient—from 60 days to 15 days. You'll learn how she prepared her documentation and how she re-designed her classroom training to get such amazing results.
Note: Stephanie did NOT increase her classroom training hours. She simply changed what she did during those hours. You can read her story here >> Cut Your New Agents' Time-to-Proficiency By Over 75%. You don't need to sign up. That link will take you right to the PDF where you can download or print it off.