Onboarding new call center agents is overwhelming in any field, but even more so in the customer service industry. Aside from getting acclimated to the bustling, busy environment and learning their way around a whole new set of tech tools, agents must have their skills put to the test in front of real, live customers. It’s a lot of pressure!

The call center industry is notorious for its high turnover rates, and one of the main reasons for this is a lack of proper training and development. If you want to avoid the costly expenses and damaged morale that come with high turnover, the journey starts on the very first day of a new agent’s job. 

A strong employee onboarding program is essential to helping your newly hired employees feel confident in their abilities and become fully integrated, high-performing team members.

 Here are five tips to create onboarding processes that set your new agents up for success.

5 Point Checklist for Onboarding New Call Center Agents

1. Tailor desktops by role & familiarize new agents with tech tools

When onboarding new call center agents, our focus tends to go first toward the customer-facing component. After all, agent performance is one of the strongest drivers of customer satisfaction. And yet, their customer interactions are only one piece of the puzzle. Positive interactions can’t happen without the agent having a solid knowledge of the technology they’re working with. 

Tailor agent desktops by role to ensure only the most vital information is displayed to them. Use training videos and interactive modules to help new agents learn to navigate your call center software. In your training sessions, cover a wide range of scenarios that familiarize them with the various tech tools at their disposal, like your knowledge base, CRM, scripting and speech analytics capabilities. 

Your agents can’t properly use these tools to solve your customers’ problems if they’ve only heard about them. Give them the knowledge to navigate things with confidence on their own. 

2. Use your most—and least—successful calls as training examples

Your call center software gives you full visibility into every interaction that takes place over your system–use it! One of the best ways for new agents to learn how to resolve problems is to see it done successfully by more seasoned staffers. 

But don’t just hold up the five-star calls as training items; use unsuccessful calls as an example as well. When agents are able to hear where things went wrong in some of your low-rated calls–and see what was going on on the screen, too–they’ll be better able to identify at-risk calls and take measures to recover the interaction. 

3. Provide targeted coaching

Once your new agents are ready to take to the phones, providing early and frequent coaching is key to helping them reach maximum effectiveness as quickly as possible. The best agent feedback is targeted, specific and actionable. 

Use synchronized call and screen recordings from your call center software to compile detailed notes, then review them with your new hire while watching/listening to a live playback. It’s important for agents to understand not just what’s being scored, but why, so they can apply your coaching more broadly to all of their future interactions. 

4. Set goals

Contact center managers know where their key metrics stand at all times. Agents should, too. Training high-performing agents starts with early goal setting. 

Set goals and up the ante by sharing performance data in real-time either on a wallboard or in a shareable dashboard. There’s something about being able to see the flood of calls come in that brings out the competitive side of people!

Spend some time during your new hire onboarding familiarizing agents with your key performance analytics like average handle time, service level, first call resolution, abandonment rate, and customer satisfaction. Together, go over your expectations of what’s acceptable for new agents and where you’d like to see these metrics fall in their first 30, 60, and 90 days, or whatever time frame is relevant for your organization. 

Your contact center software should make it easy to pull individualized performance reports that show you exactly where an agent is succeeding and where they’re struggling so you can monitor their progress and tailor their ongoing coaching needs accordingly. 

5. Use scripts & don’t neglect compliance 

Compliance management isn’t the most fun topic to cover during agent onboarding programs, but it’s an essential part of call center operations and more importantly, can cause serious legal consequences if neglected. 

Make sure you’re offering an onboarding session that educates new agents in consent and compliance, including industry-specific knowledge like payment data security. Use training to help them become proficient in the tools they’ll need for compliance success, like automated consent management workflows and contact attempt controls. And of course, be sure to incorporate compliance scoring into the goal-setting and review process we outlined in tip #4. 

Confident, competent agents are the fastest route to satisfied customers. By using a streamlined, structured onboarding process that’s supported by your omnichannel call center software, you’ll drive business outcomes, deliver best-in-class interactions and mitigate your legal risk all while extending the longevity of each new agent you hire.

Additional call center checklists to consider when onboarding an agent

Employment requirements checklist

This is a list of items that you will need to consider when you are hiring new employees for your call center. This checklist can help you ensure that you are taking all of the necessary steps to find and hire the best possible candidates for the job.

  • Job descriptions: When you are writing job descriptions, be sure to include key information about the position, such as the required qualifications, duties, and responsibilities.
  • Job postings: Once you have written the job descriptions, you will need to post them on job boards or other online platforms. Be strategic about which platforms your ideal candidate is on.
  • Resume screening: Once you have received resumes from candidates, you will need to screen them to determine which candidates are the best fit for the position.
  • Interviews: After you have screened the resumes, you will need to conduct interviews with the top candidates.
  • Reference checks: Check references to get more information about top candidates’ work histories and qualifications.
  • Background checks: Finally, you will need to run background checks on the candidate(s) to make sure they are qualified for the position.

Training checklist

Consider this your contact center agent onboarding checklist that will help you ensure that you are covering all of the necessary topics in your training for new employees.

  • Overview of the company: Your employees will need to know about the history of the company and its mission. Include a list of the products and/or services that your company offers.
  • Company policies and procedures: Include your company’s policies and procedures, such as how to handle customer inquiries and complaints.
  • Sales techniques: If your call center is responsible for sales, your employees will need to be trained in sales techniques.
  • Technical training: If your call center is responsible for technical support, your employees will need to be trained in the use of the company’s systems and software.
  • Employee onboarding: In addition to training on the topics listed above, you will also need to provide an onboarding program for your new employees. This onboarding program should cover topics such as the company culture and values, the expectations of the job, and the resources that are available to employees.

Compliance checklist

There are a number of compliance issues that you will need to consider when you are setting up your call center. This call center compliance checklist can help you make sure that you are taking all of the necessary steps to comply with laws. Be sure to research both the local and federal laws that affect your contact center.

  • Licensing: If your call center is going to be handling calls from customers in different states, you will need to make sure that you are licensed to do so.
  • Telemarketing laws: If your call center is going to be making outbound calls to customers, make sure that you are familiar with the telemarketing laws in each state.
  • Do Not Call list: Register your contact center with the Do Not Call list in each state.
  • Caller ID: Ensure your call center is using caller ID blocking when making outbound calls.
  • Recording calls: If you are going to be recording calls, make sure that you are complying with the laws in each state.
  • Training: Train your agents on compliance issues, such as the telemarketing laws and the Do Not Call list.

Security checklist

When you are setting up your call center, you will need to consider the security of your systems and data. This checklist can help you make sure that you are taking all of the necessary steps to protect your company’s information.

  • Physical security: If you operate within a physical office, make sure that your call center is located in a secure building with access control measures in place.
  • Network security: Ensure your call center’s network is secure, with firewalls and access control measures in place.
  • Data security: Make sure your call center’s data is secure, with encryption and backup procedures laid out.
  • Employee security: Train your employees in security procedures, such as how to handle customer data.

Call quality checklist

This checklist can help you make sure that you are taking all of the necessary steps to ensure high-quality calls.

  • Equipment: Purchase high-quality equipment, such as telephones and headsets.
  • Connectivity: Make sure your call center is connected to a high-speed internet connection.
  • Call quality monitoring: Monitor the quality of your calls and take steps to improve call quality if necessary.
  • Employee training: Train your agents in how to handle calls and troubleshoot call quality issues.