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How can I run call center agent training on a shoestring budget?

Donna Fluss offers advice on running low-cost training programs for the call center in this expert tip.

Can you suggest some cost-saving tips for running call center agent training on a shoestring budget?
Ongoing call center agent training is the most effective method for improving agent performance. Yet, with increasing demands for cost containment in the call center, the training budget is often among the first areas to be cut. Here are a few suggestions to help you continue to deliver valuable training while keeping costs down.

Involve agents: Reward outstanding performers by inviting them to create and deliver a training session. This is a highly visible way to recognize and reward outstanding performance. Agents will appreciate having some time off the phones and an opportunity to expand their skill set. This approach also yields the added benefit of creating subject matter experts who remain in your shop and are available to assist other agents on an ongoing basis once the training is completed.

Invite other departments to participate: Engage sales, marketing or other operating groups to help develop and deliver a training program, particularly if the content focuses on one of their initiatives. Besides giving the call center additional resources, this practice builds cooperation between departments, helps achieve shared goals and communicates the importance of the program to agents. Additionally, it gives the external department an appreciation of the call center and its agents.

Invite participation from local colleges: Contact colleges in your area to ask if they have an internship or student work-study program. In many cases, students can earn credits or fulfill course requirements while contributing to the success of your department. This practice also promotes community relations and provides real-life work experience for students.

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