Ask the Experts | Technical Training for Call Takers

Question: When I listen to my CSR's I feel like they should have some technical understanding, so they can at least talk the talk. Do you agree? If so, how much should they know?

Gary Elekes; President, EPC Training and Contractor University Faculty:

That's a good question. That’s going to be a personal philosophy question and for me, I don't care that my CSRs have any technical training. I want my call center and CSRs to be effective communicators.

I want them to be happy. I want them to create a smile on the phone. I want the people on the other side of the phone call to feel inspired and that our call takers are excited about their work. They should be enthusiastic, they should be happy, and they should communicate that your company is a good place to work at.

It's very seldom that we're going to need too much technical understanding. Some technical understanding is good, but what does that mean? “Tell me what your problem is,” is a different question then, “Tell me what kind of thermostat you have.”

Overtime, I think what you do is build a training and onboarding platform for call center people to learn how to communicate compassionately and enthusiastically. You’re not going to train them technically first, you’re going to train them on people, social styles, and call taking capabilities.

Bringing in a training consultant like Brigham Dickenson from Power Selling Pros - that’s who we use - can help your team focus on the core of getting the call booked. Then over time, I think you can bring in those conversations to help call takers understand a little bit more about the trade and have people actually understand what it is we're doing in terms of plumbing HVAC, and electrical.

If you have your people learning the technical side, they may begin to focus on that, which tends to distract from the idea of being a social, polite, courteous customer service representative - all the skill sets necessary to be happy and friendly on the call.

If we could have both, then sure. However, in my personal experience over many years, it's very rare that we can find somebody that's great socially on the phone and is a call-center-type individual who is also capable of learning the technical side. There is potential to teach them some very basic fundamentals, but don’t let that take away from their ability to connect with your customers.

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