Ten Terrific Training Ideas

Looking for some new ideas to use in your training program? At previous QATC Annual Conferences, one of the sessions was a Training Ideas Swap where attendees did a mystery swap of their best training ideas. Here are some of our favorites from those sessions.

  1. We play the “Alien” game to help customer service reps develop communications skills to best assist a customer. Each trainee brings a pair of tie-up sneakers and socks. Trainees give instructions to an “alien” partner who has never seen shoes and socks using step-by-step instructions for how to put on the shoes and socks. For example, if someone says “put them on your feet” then the person receiving instructions would literally put the shoes or socks on top of their feet. This helps get across the idea that customers don’t always understand simple instructions and breaking down detailed steps and instructions are needed to resolve customer issues.
  2. We created a contest that consisted of setting up customer orders on the web just as customers would enter their own orders. Agents with the most correct web setups won $100 cash right before the holiday season. The exercise helped everyone navigate screens more quickly and accurately when assisting customers with order entry.
  3. Keep the initial training and orientation sessions fun by having lunch together outside the work environment or going on a scavenger hunt at the mall, dollar store, or even at the zoo. Take advantage of time they can spend together before they get on the phones when it becomes more difficult to schedule group activities. Use this initial training time to help develop social bonds (to support retention) as well as to learn new skills.
  4. Our training program contains various modules and skill levels. When our trainers complete a module, rather than simply doing review questions themselves, they have the class break into groups and create their own review by presenting the material in a creative way and creating review questions. Teams create Jeopardy or other game show questions, card games, handouts, etc. This helps to keep everyone engaged and learning in different ways from different people.
  5. Align team member strengths with training responsibilities. For example, have the best presenters (those with most outgoing, engaging personalities and sense of humor) give pieces of the training. Give the best organizers the task of creating an agenda and training syllabus for distribution. Those with most knowledge about the topic might create the actual content. Those with good writing skills might create handouts or users manual.
  6. We utilize “trainship” programs, where the first employee enters a position as a trainee. Six months to one year later, the employee moves to a higher salary if they prove they have what it takes to perform at that level. This provides a great incentive for the trainee to learn the needed skills and achieve competence at a faster pace.
  7. Our QA team gives out “cash” (play money) for our daily compliment call, most improved on a particular skill, best voice or tone, best turnaround, etc. Daily “cash” prizes are also given for best productivity, perfect attendance, etc. The play money can then be redeemed at our call center store for company logo items, gift cards, snacks, etc.
  8. We do a scavenger hunt competition for new hire classes to help them learn to navigate our online
    reference tool application. The most common mistakes found through quality results are used to define elements where the group needs training and expanded knowledge base. When answers to questions are found online, trainees get a playing card from the trainer. At the end of the exercise, the person with the best poker hand wins a company logo prize. The better poker cards were located earlier in the deck, so the earlier, faster answers created a better poker hand.
  9. We use a game called QA Heroes. The QA team saves what we think are good calls that demonstrate good behaviors from the reps. We save the calls in a special folder within our QA recording system. Our e-learning developer takes these calls and snags the portion that is the best demonstration of the behavior or skill and puts these into an online file that all can access for training or ongoing coaching.
  10. We use an actual cookie jar that contains slips of paper describing actual types of calls. At the end of each day, an hour is devoted to “cookie time” where trainees take turns pulling out “cookies.” The trainer and trainee then act out that scenario with the trainer being the customer/caller. The rest of the class acts as the QA staff and fills in an actual scorecard and provides feedback and review in a roundtable fashion. As training progresses, more complicated types of scenarios are added to the jar, and trainees proceed to doing the calls in pairs with trainers observing. This helps reinforce that calls are varied and you never know what type of call you’re going to get.

Join us for the 2020 QATC Annual Conference on September 22-24 at the Hilton Nashville Downtown for the opportunity to network with your peers and share more great ideas! For more information or to register, please visit our website at www.qatc.org.

Winter 2020

The Connection

Ten Terrific Training Ideas

Looking for some new ideas to use in your training program? At previous QATC Annual Conferences, one of the sessions was a Training Ideas Swap where attendees did a mystery swap of their best training ideas. Here are some of our favorites from those sessions.

  1. We play the “Alien” game to help customer service reps develop communications skills to best assist a customer. Each trainee brings a pair of tie-up sneakers and socks. Trainees give instructions to an “alien” partner who has never seen shoes and socks using step-by-step instructions for how to put on the shoes and socks. For example, if someone says “put them on your feet” then the person receiving instructions would literally put the shoes or socks on top of their feet. This helps get across the idea that customers don’t always understand simple instructions and breaking down detailed steps and instructions are needed to resolve customer issues.
  2. We created a contest that consisted of setting up customer orders on the web just as customers would enter their own orders. Agents with the most correct web setups won $100 cash right before the holiday season. The exercise helped everyone navigate screens more quickly and accurately when assisting customers with order entry.
  3. Keep the initial training and orientation sessions fun by having lunch together outside the work environment or going on a scavenger hunt at the mall, dollar store, or even at the zoo. Take advantage of time they can spend together before they get on the phones when it becomes more difficult to schedule group activities. Use this initial training time to help develop social bonds (to support retention) as well as to learn new skills.
  4. Our training program contains various modules and skill levels. When our trainers complete a module, rather than simply doing review questions themselves, they have the class break into groups and create their own review by presenting the material in a creative way and creating review questions. Teams create Jeopardy or other game show questions, card games, handouts, etc. This helps to keep everyone engaged and learning in different ways from different people.
  5. Align team member strengths with training responsibilities. For example, have the best presenters (those with most outgoing, engaging personalities and sense of humor) give pieces of the training. Give the best organizers the task of creating an agenda and training syllabus for distribution. Those with most knowledge about the topic might create the actual content. Those with good writing skills might create handouts or users manual.
  6. We utilize “trainship” programs, where the first employee enters a position as a trainee. Six months to one year later, the employee moves to a higher salary if they prove they have what it takes to perform at that level. This provides a great incentive for the trainee to learn the needed skills and achieve competence at a faster pace.
  7. Our QA team gives out “cash” (play money) for our daily compliment call, most improved on a particular skill, best voice or tone, best turnaround, etc. Daily “cash” prizes are also given for best productivity, perfect attendance, etc. The play money can then be redeemed at our call center store for company logo items, gift cards, snacks, etc.
  8. We do a scavenger hunt competition for new hire classes to help them learn to navigate our online
    reference tool application. The most common mistakes found through quality results are used to define elements where the group needs training and expanded knowledge base. When answers to questions are found online, trainees get a playing card from the trainer. At the end of the exercise, the person with the best poker hand wins a company logo prize. The better poker cards were located earlier in the deck, so the earlier, faster answers created a better poker hand.
  9. We use a game called QA Heroes. The QA team saves what we think are good calls that demonstrate good behaviors from the reps. We save the calls in a special folder within our QA recording system. Our e-learning developer takes these calls and snags the portion that is the best demonstration of the behavior or skill and puts these into an online file that all can access for training or ongoing coaching.
  10. We use an actual cookie jar that contains slips of paper describing actual types of calls. At the end of each day, an hour is devoted to “cookie time” where trainees take turns pulling out “cookies.” The trainer and trainee then act out that scenario with the trainer being the customer/caller. The rest of the class acts as the QA staff and fills in an actual scorecard and provides feedback and review in a roundtable fashion. As training progresses, more complicated types of scenarios are added to the jar, and trainees proceed to doing the calls in pairs with trainers observing. This helps reinforce that calls are varied and you never know what type of call you’re going to get.

Join us for the 2020 QATC Annual Conference on September 22-24 at the Hilton Nashville Downtown for the opportunity to network with your peers and share more great ideas! For more information or to register, please visit our website at www.qatc.org.