Jonathan DeVore

By: Jonathan DeVore on November 9th, 2020

Print/Save as PDF

How Can I Get Call Center Reps Using Our Guides Instead of Asking Me?

Training | Call-Center

Don't worry. Wishing that your reps and co-workers would look at your written procedures and guides (and stop bothering you with questions)  doesn't make you a bad person. There's only so much time in the day!

But wishing won't get you anywhere. So let's look at why your employees and agents aren't using your resources.

Watch this video to learn 4 reasons reps aren't using guides

Download Self-Assessment

Watch Next Video: 4 Types of Guides to Create

4 Reasons your reps aren't using your guides

Working with businesses and call centers over the past 7 years, we’ve noticed that when reps are not using existing guides and help resources to resolve calls, it’s usually due to one of these four reasons.

Reason #1 – Your reps don't know how to use them

The first reason is that your reps never actually learned how to use your guides or procedure documents to handle calls. So when you ask them to do it while on a live call, they be like...


During classroom training or shadowing, your reps are exposed to a lot of calls, they get a lot of advice, and they see a lot of presentations –but nowhere in those training or nesting phases do reps actually learn how to find and use your guides to help them handle calls. 

So, they don’t.

Reason #2 – Guides are not complete

If you did teach your reps how to handle calls by using your guides, then a reason they may be continually bypassing them and jumping straight to asking a supervisor is because the procedure documents are not complete. They do not take into consideration all the variables that exist to handle the questions and requests your reps are handling. 

It's like giving your reps a puzzle without all the pieces, or a map that leaves out several important streets (or trails).

One particularly difficult type of procedures to document are those that include "if this...then do that" variables. So even if your reps do pull up a guide, they're still left with questions because the guide didn't account for variable X, Y, and Z.

Reason #3 – Guides are not easy to find

The third reason is that the guides may not be easy to find. 

If your guides and procedures are in SharePoint, your reps will have a difficult time finding what they need in the middle of a call. Since they're being timed and they don't want to put the caller on hold for a long time while they search, they go for the quickest route – which often is a supervisor or manager (i.e. you).

Reason #4 – Guides are not easy to understand

The fourth reason is that your guides may not be easy to understand or use during a call. If you pull up a guide and it's really wordy, technical, or messy looking, then your reps will have to put a caller on hold while they decipher what the guide says.'s just easier to ask for help than to try and figure it out.

What can you do?

There are two things you can do to change the culture in your call center, and get your reps using your guides instead of always asking you questions.

Option #1 – Use Zero Memorization Training

If your guides are complete, easy to find, and easy to use, then you just need to make a small tweak to your training program to include teaching your reps how to use your guides. We call it Zero Memorization training. 

If you’re doing classroom training, the small tweak you make is to include dozens of practice scenarios and instead of explaining what to do, have your reps find and use your guides to handle those practice situations. If your training relies mostly on shadowing, then just ask your new reps to find the guide for each call that they shadow and then follow along. This will give your reps practice looking for and using the guides to handle calls.

Have your reps continue doing this during nesting and when they get on the floor. Set the expectation that they will reference your guides to handle any and every call that comes in. Establish that habit and I guarantee the number of questions that you are asked will practically disappear.

Case in point: The ScreenSteps team just helped a call center do this with their new-hires. We pulled a report after three months and saw that new agents had referenced the knowledge base between 1,500 and 4,000 times. Each. rep had actually referenced their guides 4,000 times in three months. And she was considered a fantastic rep who wasn't making any mistakes.

Which brings up another point – when you implement Zero Memorization Training, not only will the questions to your supervisors drop significantly, but your new reps will reach proficiency a lot faster and they'll make fewer mistakes because they won’t be relying on their memory to handle calls. They will use your guides which are the source of all truth.

Option #2 – Improve your guides

Option #1 only works if your guides are complete, easy to find, and easy to use. If they're not, then Zero Memorization doesn't work very well.

So, how do you know whether your guides meet those criteria? I'm glad you asked!

You can use this Self-Assessment (it's a Google Sheet) to help you do a self-assessment and grade how complete, easy to find, and easy to use your guides actually are. This is a great place to begin and discover whether your guides need some work.

If your guides do need some work, check out this video to learn how you can take care of two of those areas: complete and easy to use.

Talk to a ScreenSteps specialist

Reach out to a ScreenSteps specialist if you want to:

  • Improve the time it takes new reps to be proficient
  • Decrease the mistakes your reps make while handling calls
  • Improve your reps' QA and CSAT scores
  • Decrease hold time and abandonment rate
  • Reach your SLA with better workforce management

We'll talk to you about your current situation and explain how ScreenSteps can help.

Speak to a ScreenSteps Specialist

About Jonathan DeVore

Customer Success