Virtual contact centres are becoming increasingly mainstream, with organisations recognising the benefits that they can offer to customer service departments.

As the popularity of virtual and work-at-home agents grows, virtual training  follows suit – allowing organisations to train their agents in a flexible, effective and convenient, yet still engaging, way.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that virtual development is different to on-site classroom training and, as such, it must be planned and implemented differently.

From the organisation’s point of view, training starts with the preparation of the virtual content – often 6 weeks to as much as 4 months prior to the launch of classes.

Of course, the organisation also needs to prepare agents for their virtual learning experience. Here are the key ways in which virtual training starts before learners reach the classroom:

Preparation

Once recruited, home-based agents need to be prepared for their role and the training they will soon receive.

At this stage, trainees receive their work-at-home kit and are supported through the process of getting it set up and fully working. Though typically straightforward, there are sometimes connectivity and configuration issues to address.

It’s important that trainees are familiar with their tool kit and ready to go prior to the commencement of training, with an understanding of how their equipment works.

This preparation part of the process is supported by strong and effective leadership, so it’s important to ensure that the relevant team leads and account managers who will be managing the agents virtually, are skilled and knowledgeable in all areas of HR for home-based agents. They should also have a comprehensive understanding of how to motivate teams working within a virtual environment.

Acclimatisation

Once prepared and equipped with the tools required to succeed in their roles, trainees then need to be acclimatised to the virtual learning environment.

Because the virtual classroom relies on the technology platform for communication and collaboration, it’s important that trainees are comfortable with the systems, processes and environment before the training commences.

During this time, they are encouraged to engage through various online channels, allowing them to meet others, make friends and communicate, just as they would do at the start of in-centre training.

This part of the process is essential for learners to gain confidence and feel comfortable once their training starts. In addition to this, it helps to build the positive culture and feeling of belonging within the team, something that is essential to avoid work-at-home agents experiencing isolation or feeling unsupported.

Learn and Share

Having been well prepared and acclimatised, once they enter the virtual classroom, trainees are set up to succeed as they learn, share, grow, and engage with the virtual trainer and their fellow trainees.

Discussions are initiated and encouraged throughout the training, while the virtual learning environment enables interactive learning through quizzes, conversations, break-out activities and on-going feedback.

Establishing confidence with the platform and their co-learners ahead of the training is essential for the promotion of an open and engaging environment where employees can learn and share.

Virtual training is a multi-faceted process, which starts long before the trainees enter the virtual classroom. For the training to be effective and engaging, it’s important that the organisation prepares learners, trainers and team leaders. To find out more about SYKESHome virtual training solutions, please get in touch.

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