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What Support Leaders Get Wrong About Agent Training and How to Fix It


Tony Won, Head of Customer Experience at TruPlay Games

Tony Won has worked in the video game industry for over a decade, doing everything from UI/UX design and music composition to leading customer support and experience teams (including building a few from scratch).

After leading support and CX teams at Gosu Group, Riot Games, Epic Games, and Telus International (Games unit) for the last 7 years, Tony is now Head of Customer Experience at TruPlay Games. In this week’s episode, Tony shares what he thinks support leaders often get wrong about agent training and how to fix it.

What support leaders get wrong about agent training

In Tony’s opinion, too many support leaders approach agent training with a traditional “teach to the test” mentality. Training isn’t adapted or updated to fit the way humans actually learn (e.g. hour-long trainings, where a trainer talks at the agents like it’s a 100-level college lecture, aren’t nearly as effective as step-by-step, interactive trainings).

Second, agents (aka the target audience) aren’t often involved or consulted in the development of training materials. Supports orgs talk a big game about personalizing experiences for customers, but many neglect to apply this same concept to internal training.

And third, KPI culture can kill creativity when it comes to training. For example, Tony said he often sees support leaders use test completion or pass/fail percentages as benchmarks for training. But those metrics don’t capture if an agent truly understands the material and changes their behavior.

Five ways to fix agent training

1. Determine your Kirkpatrick level 3 (behavior) and 4 (results) goals ahead of time. Then commit resources to long-term observation to see if the training hit those goals. Are agents still using that new tool or process several months later? Did the training change their behavior?

2. Try multiple approaches to accommodate different learning styles. Try shorter training sessions and different types of learning materials, and incorporate time for more participation and hands-on practice. Most importantly, ask your agents how they like to learn.

3. Involve your agents in the training design process. They know better than anyone how the training will be applied in their day-to-day work. And if you have agents with expertise in what you’re wanting to teach, ask them to create training content.

4. Ditch the unhelpful KPIs. Bad KPIs drive poor behaviors, and this is especially true when it comes to training. Instead of using “easy” KPIs like number of tests completed or percentage of tests passed, work with your data team to measure long-term behavior change and the effect on customer experience.

5. Don’t create training in isolation. Make sure your trainers have the time and resources to understand how your team’s policies, procedures, and processes affect agent behavior. And give them a seat at the table when discussing those systems. Because it doesn’t matter how effective your training is designed to be if agents are being measured on conflicting goals.

Watch or listen to Tony’s full episode above to learn more! And don’t forget to rate Beyond the Queue on Apple Podcasts. ⭐