An increasing number of organisations are recognising the benefits of virtual training, particularly for work-at-home agents. In response to this, the popularity of this training approach is growing.
However, as with in-centre training, for it to be effective, it’s essential that virtual training is effectively planned and implemented. This means there can be a significant lead-time to virtual training content being training-ready; anything from 6 weeks to 4 months, depending on the complexity of what’s being covered.
While this may seem like a considerable amount of work, it’s an investment that ensures your work-at-home agents have the knowledge and skills necessary to deliver exceptional customer service and full productivity.
So, what steps do organisations need to take to train agents virtually?
Review current content
When preparing for virtual training, simply taking existing, face-to-face training materials and delivering them virtually, online, does not work. Although in-centre and virtual training have the same key learning objectives, they are two very different processes.
Current, available training materials may not be fully up-to-date or unsuitable for delivery in a virtual learning environment, so it’s important that these are fully reviewed by both internal and external subject matter and virtual training experts to identify what content can be used and what won’t work.
As well as ascertaining which content will be utilised, this process also includes a comprehensive review of the chosen content, highlighting what needs to be done to ensure it will deliver successful virtual training.
The training used in a physical classroom setting won’t translate directly into a virtual environment, at least not effectively. So, content reviewed earlier in the process might need to be extensively rethought, redesigned, and recreated for an online environment.
Designing virtual training content successfully is a collaboration between subject matter and virtual training experts, starting with initial exploration and story-boarding, before continuing through to the conversion or building of new content.
To ensure success for the programme, each project and module must go through a robust review and testing process before being signed off to go live.
Prepare virtual trainers
Just as virtual training content varies from traditional, in-centre material, the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed by trainers is different within the virtual environment.
A successful virtual trainer has the ability to maximise learner engagement, facilitate digital collaboration, create an interactive and immersive learning experience, and make knowledge and content easily accessible to learners.
Trainers in the virtual classroom monitor and manage groups that they do not see face to face. To succeed, they ask lean-in questions to engage trainees, and are ready to conduct sidebars through the training platform rather than in-person.
Before virtual training takes place, it’s important that you have the training team in place to effectively deliver the content, ensuring learners are supported and engaged along the way.
For more information on how to deliver a successful virtual training programme, please get in touch.