Training Your Seasonal Customer Service Team

Training News
by Training Daily Advisor Staff

Yesterday’s Advisor presented 3 tips for improving your information technology (IT) training; today we’re taking a look at best practices for training seasonal customer care representatives. While the holidays may be over, the busy summer season will soon be here!

What best practices should be used when training seasonal customer care representatives? Even though seasonal employees are hired for only a few months, time invested in their training is time well spent, says Michael D. Mills, senior vice president of Call Center Solutions, CGS. Simply put, if your seasonal employees do not provide good customer service, “people are not going to buy from you.”

Mills recommends implementing the following best practices when training seasonal customer care representatives. First, “make sure you have the right training documents, training materials, and processing in place” before training starts, he says.

Second, provide classroom-based training because it is most effective for this type of job; it lets you “weed out folks who aren’t going to make it”; and it results in better customer satisfaction scores when compared to other training methods, Mills says.

Third, strive for a trainer/trainee ratio of 1:20—that is, one trainer for every 20 trainees. “Classroom environment is very important.” Some employers try to train 30, 40, or 50 seasonal employees in the same classroom, but that makes training less effective, Mills explains.

Fourth, use your internal staff to train seasonal employees; do not hire a temporary trainer, he says. Internal trainers provide continuity and experience with your company and consistency in training and, in the process, help make seasonal employees “an extension of your brand.”

Fifth, plan for attrition during and after training. For seasonal employees, “the average attrition rate is 40 percent to 50 percent in the first 30 days,” Mills says. So, if you need 20 seasonal customer service reps, consider starting with 30 reps in training.

Sixth, train seasonal employees with the actual tools that they will be using when they are on the job, Mills advises. For example, if they will use a tablet to assist customers, make sure they have been trained on how to use it.

Seventh, let them practice what they’ve learned; if they will be handling phone calls from disgruntled customers, let them practice with some test calls before they talk to your actual customers.

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