Creating a team that clicks requires more than a data dump
When it comes to creating a successful training session, much of the weight centers on the person delivering the information. Delivering information in an entertaining way, that won’t put attendees to sleep, is only one measurement of success. The media used, the data presented, and, of course, the enthusiasm of the trainer all impact what agents retain and, ultimately, employ on the call center floor. However, no matter how skillfully a trainer delivers information, if they can’t inspire and motivate attendees, their efforts are wasted
Training programs must be designed to deliver solid, useful materials and skills that trainees can readily use to enhance their performance. An element of training that is often neglected is the addition of inspiration. Dispersing information without adding ways to motivate and inspire reps ends in lackluster performances. As trainers or call center managers, it is important to impart these contagious emotions to the entire call center team. Doing so creates a team that “clicks.” Neglecting to do so creates a team of agents who simply go through the motions.
What do we mean when we say click? It can mean different things to different people. For instance, in the book, “Clicking,” Faith Popcorn and Lys Marigold say, “The very word [clicking], the very sound of fingers snapping – wakes people up, shakes people up. A light goes on, the puzzle pieces tumble into place and suddenly you’re aware and alert to the chance for a brave new future.”
The dictionary defines click as to fit together, to become suddenly clear or intelligible. The colloquial definition is to succeed or make a hit. This definition could be compared to when, former Boston Celtics player, Robert Parish recalled the days he and teammate Larry Bird “played absolutely effortlessly and clicked on the court.”
Computer users might associate clicking to power. Whether single or double clicks, a simple motion sends commands, moves icons, creates a link to the Internet, or brings an image flaring to life. Click again, and it’s in the trash – Gone Forever!
As a final definition, some have described their personal clicking experience as a thunderbolt, a surge. There’s a wonderful seismic word, tsunami, meaning a gigantic ocean wave caused by an earthquake or volcano. That’s a terrific way of capturing the feeling of a real click – a powerful wave that’s capable of changing the world or an individual.
How does clicking apply to the world of call centers? When a trainer and a group of agents click, agents grasp and understand the concepts that have been delivered. One could say, when something clicks, a light goes on in the trainees’ head that says, “Aha! I get it.” But that isn’t where the concept of clicking ends. Clicking continues on the call center floor as the elements learned are put to use.
To get agents clicking, it is usually best to end the training session with an inspirational story. Inspiration has the unique ability to breed self-motivation. Presenting a brief story after information has been delivered, will give the agent the ability to mix hard facts just learned, with individual emotions that together, will heighten their performance.
Trainees want life lessons as well as work lessons. Trainers will often collect stories describing the success of individuals who persisted and achieved lofty goals despite hardships, setbacks, lack of talent, or physical attributes. Stories can be readily found in biographies of scientists, athletes, inventors, adventurers, or campaigners for human rights. Relating to agents how others have overcome their challenges, inspires them to look at their situation in a new light. This thought-provoking exercise often brings a renewed sense of enthusiasm as well as a starting point for new ideas, solutions, or processes.
A trainer or call center manager might use a personal, on-the-job experience. Not only does this technique bring the trainer to the agent’s level, it also addresses similar challenges. Relating a personal experience along with the final, positive result gives trainees insight into their own tasks. Learning from tried-and-true examples of others, gives trainees a head start, and helps them avoid making the same mistakes.
There is an old Samurai adage in the Hagakure that says: “The way is in the training.” This means there is only one type of training, and that is the training everyone must conduct for him or herself. Teachers and trainers have a great purpose in life. But before they can be effective, they must first train themselves. Staying mentally sharp requires continuous training and finding new ways to overcome hurdles.
As a trainer, if you’re able to impart to trainees a vision, motivation, enthusiasm, and the tools and information needed to support them in their jobs, then everything will click into place. Don’t be surprised if the trainees eventually outshine the trainer.