How to onboard seasonal call center agents faster
It’s that time of year again for your call center. You know it well. It’s the time when the number of incoming calls increases by 4X — it’s your busy season.
You know the feelings surrounding your busiest season: supervisors are overworked from being pulled in a thousand directions, experienced agents are overwhelmed from covering complex calls, and new hires/seasonal workers are nervous (sometimes even making themselves physically ill from fear of answering calls).
As the hardworking trainer and/or manager that you are, you are preparing your team for the upcoming season. This includes hiring seasonal workers to handle the increased workload.
Way to go! You’re on top of it, but looming in the back of your mind is the knowledge that you somehow need to train these seasonal hires in a short period of time. And, in true 2021 fashion, you need to do it remotely for the first time.
But typically your training takes 6 weeks. The problem is your seasonal employees are only going to work for 3-4 months. So how do you get your seasonal call center agents onboarded quickly? And how do they learn enough to handle the calls in the shortest amount of time?
At ScreenSteps, we’ve worked with call centers that have felt anxiety over their pending peak season and helped them reduce the amount of time spent training by up to 90%.
By reducing the amount of information they need to memorize, we’ve helped them overcome these qualms. We do this through a special training program we created. We call this system Zero Memorization Training.
Whether your contact center is headed into a chaotic tax season, the holiday season, or the summer travel season, Zero Memorization could help your company.
Of course, one size doesn’t fit all.
Depending on your timeline, below are short-term remote training solutions as well as a long-term training solution with Zero Memorization. Either solution can help to onboard your seasonal call center agents so they are ready to take calls.
Short-term training solutions
If you’re in the middle of your busy season and need an immediate fix, Zero Memorization will not be a solution for you this season — but it could be a solution for your next busy season.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do for a short-term training solution to help seasonal employees feel more comfortable handling calls quicker.
1. Keep seasonal employees’ roles basic
When you Google “How to train your seasonal call center agents,” most companies will advise you to “Keep their role basic.”
Typically, that means minimizing the types of calls seasonal agents handle. That usually means only giving them the lowest tier calls to answer.
Unfortunately, that means your full-time and part-time agents are dealing with higher-tiered calls regularly, leading to burnout quicker.
The advantage is that since your seasonal call agents are learning less they can spend less time training and start answering calls sooner.
2. Plan on using continuous learning
Once you’ve completed onboarding the seasonal employees, don’t forget to continue training them.
Sometimes it is tempting to onboard seasonal employees for their tasks and let them ride out their temporary time with the company.
However, it boosts morale and increases productivity when you invest in your seasonal call center agents. This can include inviting them to provide feedback.
It helps to designate veteran team leaders over seasonal employees. That way seasonal agents have someone they can reach out to with questions, whether that is in-person or through messaging.
Plus, the seasonal employees will remember more as they learn a little bit at a time. That replaces memorizing all of your company's policies in one sitting.
3. Use CRM tools
During and after onboarding, provide resources so that they have access to the most vital information at their fingertips.
Create checklists, documents, and workflows for procedures that your seasonal call center agents will handle. Make it easy for seasonal employees to access FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions).
These documents can be available on both a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system and/or in a paper format.
Ideally, your knowledge base will be set up in a system that is easy to search and find information.
Long-term training solution
While short-term fixes are good advice for businesses that rely on their employees becoming experts before the agents answer calls, there is another way that allows even new and seasonal employees to answer all the questions as they learn and become experts.
The key is Zero Memorization.
That’s right — cut out memorization and instead train employees on how to find the answers in your knowledge base.
Zero Memorization: How it works
Zero Memorization is an onboarding and training strategy we developed using our online searchable knowledge base. Instead of asking employees to memorize processes and procedures, agents learn how to search your knowledge base for answers.
Essentially, your knowledge base is your Google search engine that only pulls information from your company procedures.
But it is more than just a searchable knowledge base for your agents.
Once they find the article, it needs to be formatted in a way that agents can successfully follow the steps without putting the caller on hold. These procedures are set up in call flows and checklists that help walk agents through a call.
For example, say you work for a call center that helps with filing taxes. Someone called in asking which tax forms they need. Your call center agent would first use a checklist to gather necessary information about the customer (ie: name, account number, etc.). Then the agent would search your knowledge base for “What tax forms should I use?”
The guide would walk the agent through the call step by step so the agent could help the customer. The agent could do this even if this is the first time the agent had taken this type of call.
Using Zero Memorization, ScreenSteps customers have reported being able to cut down training time to days, not months. Organizations that fully adopt Zero Memorization see dramatic improvements in QA scores, decreased questions, reduced training time, and lower employee stress.
Plus, by using Zero Memorization, often teams are able to reduce the number of agents that handle the calls.
How long does it take to implement Zero Memorization?
Depending on how well documented and organized your processes are currently, it can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months.
The size and extent of procedures also affect how long it will take to launch a Zero Memorization program.
But you don’t have to do it alone. At ScreenSteps, we offer expert implementation and coaching services to help customers launch a Zero Memorization training program.
Talk to one of our representatives to get a clearer picture of how long it would take your company and if Zero Memorization would even be a good strategy for your business.
How Zero Memorization will transform your call center
When your company adopts Zero Memorization Training, it will transform the atmosphere of your call center.
Because agents — both seasonal and tenured — know how to access all of the answers, they will have more confidence in answering calls.
Experienced agents won’t be as overwhelmed because they aren’t designated as the only workers managing complex, high-tiered calls. Plus, there will be fewer escalated calls since all the agents can correctly provide customers with the right information.
And you, as a supervisor, won’t have to scramble around to answer questions from employees because the knowledge is available to them at their fingertips. That leaves trainers and supervisors more time for educating and managing high-level jobs.
Getting started with faster training
Figuring out the best way to train a new group of seasonal call center agents for your company can be an annual thorn in your side. But you can ease the stress with systems that make it easier to onboard seasonal hires.
At ScreenSteps, we’ve helped companies prepare for their busy season by providing an online searchable knowledge base and setting up Zero Memorization Training.
By transferring PDFs and Word documents into a searchable knowledge base, you provide all the right answers in one location. ScreenSteps can help you set up that knowledge base and train your employees to use it.
If you’re not ready to talk to anyone, learn more about how adopting Zero Memorization will help your employees — both seasonal and full-time — answer questions more accurately and learn the company’s systems quicker.
Or if you are looking for tips to improve your remote training for your seasonal (and full-time employees) during these days of work-from-home call centers, try these 5 tips from this article: 5 reasons call center agents aren’t learning enough in remote training
Need a fast start or want to plan ahead for your busy season? Schedule a demo today to see how ScreenSteps can help you onboard your seasonal agents in less time.