Training Tips

Here are some of the tips from the 60 Ideas in 60 Minutes session on training at a previous QATC Annual Conference.  Put this session on your “can’t miss” list at the 2022 event in September!

  1. Improv for Listening Skills. Teach listening skills by using improv techniques where what people say depends on listening to the person before them. For example, have someone throw out a word, and then the next person has to create a sentence or story based on that word.  The next person has to add a sentence or story based on another word in the last person’s sentence.  This forces people not to think ahead but to focus on what the speaker is saying.  
  2. Subject Matter Expert (SME) Guest Speakers. Bring in a panel of experts for Q&A sessions. Trainees like to hear from people other than trainers for variety and expertise.  Upon conclusion of the presentations, have trainees write up the content presented as a review.
  3. Ongoing Demonstration of Skills.  Trainers should use all the same skills as students are trying to learn. For example, in sales training, students would learn to use open-ended questions for the sales discovery process.  In class, the trainers should use these as well.  For students learning to use benefit statements, trainers should preface needs with benefit statements.  
  4. Personality Assessments.  Have trainees take various types of personality assessments to identify their own communications styles. Each person learns about their own strengths and weaknesses first and then learns to apply these to others to be better able to adapt to other personality types and communications styles. 
  5. Formative and Summative Evaluations.  Evaluate the level of knowledge or comprehension of a topic area before you train. Evaluate first, teach based on student’s needs, and then evaluate again after training to test comprehension.
  6. Keep Training.  Stick to your guns and keep training in place even when calls increase. Don’t always give it up due to increased call volume, or your staff will miss needed training, handle times may increase, and you will never be able to justify needed staff if you always meet staffing levels by cancelling training.
  7. Group Definitions. When breaking into small groups for training activities, divide the trainees up differently each time.  Options include to divide the group by birthday month, house number, car color,  pet ownership,  or shoe color, etc.
  8. Service Sacrifice for Training. One company decided to deliver longer delays in order to be able to take staff off phones for more training.  Despite service levels being lower, customer satisfaction went up since customers were talking to better trained and more capable agents. 
  9. Define Terminology.  Don’t assume trainees understand call center terminology.  For example, the workforce management team may talk in terms of ASA, AHT, and Erlang and these words and acronyms won’t mean anything to people new to a call center. 
  10. Tabletop Training.  When you have a new process or new product to train but don’t need a whole hour of training,  set up a tabletop training where agents can stop by on their way to or from lunch.  They can pick up a drink or dessert and spend 10 minutes learning the new concept. 
  11. Review and Share. Do an end-of-day review by asking what are three things learned in the class, and then have each person share that with three or four other people.  Relaying those ideas helps retention for the person talking as well as reinforcing for others.
  12. Daily Motivators.  Prepare a set of tips or motivational ideas that you can email each day to the staff as a motivator as they start their day.
  13. Multiple Levels of Evaluation.  Doing end of course satisfaction surveys are good, but you should also do second and third level evaluations.  Level 2 involves testing on content and Level 3 involves bringing back proof that the knowledge is applied on the job. 
  14. Training Objectives.  When training on any topic, talk first about what you’ll do and why and then train.  It’s better if trainees understand the “why” of the training and how they will use it later on the job.
  15. Modify Group Sizes.  Look at the type of training you need to deliver and how much time you have available as you decide what delivery mode to use. If you have plenty of time and a complicated topic, consider smaller groups. For simple topics that need to be learned and applied quickly, use bigger groups so all can learn at once. 
  16.  Learning Objectives.  Know what students need to know or be able to do when they are finished with the training.  What are learning objectives?  Create assessment first and work backwards.  Students should be able not just to pass a test, but demonstrate the skills.  Working toward a clearly defined objective works best to design and then keep training on track.
  17. Trainer & Learner Evaluations. Do Trainer evaluations at the end of the session so your trainers constantly shape and improve skills. Also do “learner evaluations” at end that you can supply to supervisors or team leaders with the strengths and weaknesses of the trainees.
  18. Exit Interviews. Use an exit interview to also ask about not just the reason for leaving but how they felt about the training and how it equipped them for the job.
  19. Learning Styles.  Identify what type of learners you have in a training class.  There is a free survey that people can take online (  Most people know what kind of learners they are, but it is good to confirm with this survey. 
  20. End of Day Review.  As a way to review content for the day, ask trainees “What is something you learned today that you don’t want to forget by tomorrow?“