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Train your agents to think like entrepreneurs - Ben Davidowitz - Blog

Train your agents to think like entrepreneurs

Here’s how you should design your call center training program.

It seems like every now and then, what managers expect from prospective employees evolves. It’s a result of the fast-changing corporate landscape, much of which is driven by technology.

In fact, just earlier this year, the World Economic Forum listed the top core skills of employees that most managers value the most. Some of these are creativity, coordination and socialization, the capacity to think critically, and a solid commitment to service.

All these aren’t that surprising, but what most of us don’t realize is that this list encapsulates the ideal traits of an entrepreneur.

But how do you start?

You want these same skills among your customer service agents—whether they’re outsourced from an external call center or not. Employees with these abilities can easily go along with the direction you want to take, if not help reinvent existing business processes.

The call center training phase is always a great place to begin. Successfully training agents to think like entrepreneurs has much to do with culture-building. Most probably, agents form their impressions about an organization during the training period. It’s also where both employees and employers talk about their expectations from one another, which is a good prelude to healthy working relationships.

Doing these tactics as part of your customer service training program can encourage new hires to think more like an entrepreneur.

1. Stay away from robotic customer service strategies.

Customer service jobs are already seen by many as a highly routine-based work, so don’t make it worse by handing out scripts and prescribing strict protocols to your agents. Nothing can kill creativity like robotic, repetitive tasks.

Instead of giving out scripts, allow agents to be themselves each time they extend their services to a customer. Teach them to deal with their tasks in a way that produces satisfactory results. Try not to force them into a single way of doing things and encourage them to go for what they think is the best solution to a particular problem.

2. Encourage free exchange of ideas.

Call center training sessions don’t have to be a one-way avenue. Leaders who encourage employees to speak up are able to harness good relationships and nurture loyalty. On the other hand, employees who feel that their insights are valued feel more empowered to carry out their tasks. Consciously or not, they’re the ones who actively take part in enhancing a company’s performance because they truly believe that they’re a necessary part of it. In the future, you can expect these employees to become capable leaders.

3. Allow agents to make their own decisions.

When you were just starting your own business, all the decision making power was probably in your hands. That was a time when you can afford to be extremely hands-on when it comes to managing your business affairs. But as your firm expands, you need to delegate these responsibilities among your team members.

Thus, you should only hire people you can trust to make smart decisions especially in emergency situations. Every single one of your employees should know how to decide on their own; one person taking control of more than they can handle is a sure recipe for disaster.

4. Motivate employees to learn something new.

We’re not talking about a second university degree or any additional formal education here, although those sound promising too. Learning, however, takes place in infinite ways. Often, the best form of learning is by experience. Professionals who can adapt to new environments or acquire effective habits that make their job easier are for keeps. But above all, ideal employees approach every task with an open mind so they can easily absorb new knowledge and skills.

Publish Date: March 2, 2016 7:53 AM


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