Axonify Executive Interview
Christine Tutssel, Co-founder, Axonify
How to Navigate the Learning Curve for Seasonal Agents
Christine Tutssel, Co-founder of Axonify, discusses why it's
critical for call & contact centers to focus on appropriately equipping
seasonal frontline staff ahead of peak seasons in order for them to provide a
high-level customer experience and manage the increase in call volumes.
Q: When is the best time for organizations to start hiring
A: Hiring seasonal contact center agents needs to begin as
early as possible. New agents need time to accept the job, onboard, and train
to keep up with holiday call volume spikes. Consumers are dealing with high
inflation and supply chain disruptions this holiday season, so contact center
agents need to prepare for high pressure situations. Understanding how to
navigate these situations takes time, so it is up to the organization to
provide optimal training programs where they learn brand messaging, customer
service and product details. If companies want to achieve success, their
seasonal agents need to learn how to help.
Q: How can companies ensure proper training for
A: Managers should prioritize supporting their new hires
immediately. It takes time to learn company details and process and adjust to a
new job, especially a high pressure one, so it’s important that managers are as
supportive as possible during the onboarding process.
Next, businesses know that turnover for frontline employees
is high, so streamline the process. The last thing your new staff wants to do
is sit through long training sessions where they will tune out anyway. Instead,
divide your training modules into small, digestible bits. On the first day,
start with basics of scheduling, dress code, and technology information. Next,
focus on call training essentials like compliance, safety, and basic
conversation. The key is to start small so agents will feel comfortable and set
up for success.
Q: How can agents continue to increase their knowledge of
their roles as they go?
A: Now that your employees are armed with the basics on the
phone, continue the learning process. Some of your agents might be rock stars
and have great experience from previous call center jobs. Others might be brand
new to the industry and not know a thing about your product. This is why it
doesn't make sense to make your new hires sit through customer service courses.
Personalized training programs cater to different levels of experience and
improve employee development. Microlearning allows agents to learn between
calls that can take less than five minutes. Small scale amounts of information have proven to be
more effective and easy to remember. What would you rather do? Spend hours
in a room hearing about every customer service topic out there, or spend 5
minutes between calls learning as you go? Microlearning saves organizations
time and money by only giving agents information they need, like in a short
how-to video. Microlearning cuts out time spent relearning things that
experienced agents already know, giving them more time to tackle calls and keep
Q: How can organizations improve staff morale in a high
A: Everyone knows that customer service agents don't have it
easy. If a conversation isn't going well, they can't just hang up or walk away.
Chances are someone is calling to complain, or they need help. For customer
service agents, high stress causes burnout which is already an ongoing problem
in the workforce. A
recent survey from Salesforce found that 71% of service agents have
considered leaving their job in the past six months and 69% are considering
leaving customer service roles entirely. So how can organizations prevent this?
Add in a bit of fun to your agents' workday! Gamification is effective at
easing tensions while improving employee engagement and skills but be conscious
of your approach since gamification can backfire and create problems among your
staff if it isn’t the right fit. If it is, implementing leaderboards in a
central location can add some friendly competition among staff, and incentives
like gift cards or "employee of the week" recognition can help agents
progress. In the end, it's important to create strategies that work for your
team and workplace culture.
Sources: National Library
of Medicine, Salesforce
Service Agent Report 2022
About the Author
Christine Tutssel is the co-founder of Axonify and Chief
Revenue Officer. Christine manages the company’s global sales organization and
partner network. With over 30 years of sales and sales management experience in
the high-tech industry, Christine has worked in a variety of market sectors
including finance, banking, healthcare, manufacturing, distribution,
transportation and logistics and retail. With Christine’s go-to-market
leadership, Axonify has grown to become the worldwide microlearning market
leader with customers in 95 countries around the world.