Customer Service

5 Ways to Train Seasonal Customer Service Staff

With the holidays rapidly approaching, many companies are staffing up their call centers to handle the bump in customer service calls. Whether they’re answering phones or chatting with customers online, seasonal help closes the gap for your overworked team and keeps customer wait times to a minimum. How can you train seasonal Customer Service staff to get them up to speed and maximize the customer experience without weighing down your already busy team?

Focus on timing: Rather than training staff members individually, focus on onboarding a “class” of temporary workers. With that approach, your hiring can be concentrated into one period, and your new workers are trained in a single session or series of sessions. Not only does this let your team connect and build relationships with each other, but it allows you to manage resources and staff time more efficiently during this busy time of the year.

Provide intensive cultural onboarding: Your typical Customer Service reps may go through weeks of training, but this often isn’t possible for seasonal help. However, it’s important that these reps get a taste of your company culture and messaging. Find a way to present a condensed introduction to your most important policies. Use videos or executive chats to quickly convey culture. Reinforce these vital elements of your brand experience with clear service scripts, quizzes to make sure new employees are absorbing information, and documentation they can refer to.

Develop specialized temporary roles: Permanent Customer Service reps need to be well-rounded and ready for a variety of different tasks. However, you can develop a more effective temporary team by having them specialize. Whether it’s by channel or by product, hiring temp workers to focus on one area can help you get them up to speed and in the field serving customers more quickly.

Leverage technology and knowledge bases: It’s important to invest time in training on the use of technology that helps your team be more efficient. For example, does your team use knowledge bases that are searchable by keyword? Or does your team refer to customer relationship management systems that let agents provide more targeted service? Reps who understand technology are going to immediately be more effective, offer personalized customer service and create a positive image with the customers they interact with.

Provide early mentorship: Furnish your temporary staff with early mentorship by pairing them up with experienced agents or having your customer service managers be more hands-on—walking the floor, sitting in on calls, and listening to recordings. Provide targeted feedback to help agents quickly get up to speed and address problem areas. Hands-on management as part of the training process can weed out weak performers and save time on discipline later.

Your seasonal Customer Service force is critical to your business. Investing in training while balancing other needs can be a bit like walking a tightrope. Smart timing, the right technology, and management oversight will help your next temp Customer Service team start off the holiday season on the right foot.