In an industry that has annual attrition rates 1.3 times higher than other private sectors, contact centers often hire new agents. This frequent hiring process requires call centers to onboard new agents, a tedious process.
Manually onboarding new agents frequently creates a lot of paperwork that can otherwise be automated. And there are many digital tools that help with agent onboarding.
“New worker productivity is halted at around 25% during the first 30 days” - Gallup
Let's understand the importance of agent onboarding before we look at ways to automate the agent onboarding process.
Why is Agent Onboarding Important?
No new hire can start work on their very first day. Agents need relevant company and product information before they start working.
This period is important for new agents as it'll set the company culture for them and help them with their work moving forward.
Since each company has a different meaning of agent onboarding, the agent onboarding checklist differs from company to company, but some parts stay the same.
Let's have a look at various parts of the agent onboarding process.
1. Completing the Paperwork
The first thing that a new agent does on the day they join is complete all the paperwork. This includes documents like tax forms and bank details.
This is time-consuming, but essential for everyone. Doing this, in the beginning, can help make things like their pay get processed faster.
2. Offering Required Product Knowledge
Nobody hits the ground running when they start a new job.
While the administrative work is one of the first things that any new agent does, it isn't the first step towards understanding their role in the company.
The manager and other team members help the new hire to get acquainted with the company's products and services. The new agent learns about various services and products offered by the company.
This is a key part of any onboarding process. All new hires should be able to understand the products and services they'll be working on.
Only then can they do their job in a smooth manner.
3. Streamlining Workflows
Every organization has their own working process. There are different procedures and hierarchies to be followed.
These procedures need to be explained to each agent so they can do their work properly once they start. If they aren't explained properly, it will take a lot of time for an agent to understand and get streamlined working with the company policies.
Only once this is done can agents begin to deal with customers.
The process of onboarding involves a lot of steps and takes a lot of time.
Why is the Manual Onboarding Process Inefficient?
Manually onboarding every agent when they begin their role isn't as streamlined as one would think. There are different hurdles while manually onboarding agents.
Let's look at some of those hurdles.
1. Dependencies on Other's Schedule
Usually, an experienced agent is assigned to train and mentor brand new agents. This makes onboarding dependent on the experienced agent's schedule.
In situations where the agent with experience is busy, this puts a halt on the new agent's onboarding.
2. Delays in Beginning Work
As shown above, when different people from different departments are involved in an agent's onboarding, this can delay the agent from beginning their job. All these people are involved and if even one of the scheduled training meetings get delayed, it dents the entire process.
3. Cost-Inefficient Process
Manually onboarding new hires can also become a costly process. When different agents are involved in the training and welcome phase of onboarding, often there are redundant meetings which waste time of everyone involved in the meeting.
Now that we've seen some of the limitations in manual agent onboarding systems, let's look at how to create an effective automated onboarding process.
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How to Create an Automated Onboarding Process?
There are many tools that can help to automate agent onboarding in your call center. But before blindly using any of those services, there are some things to be done.
Let's look at those steps.
Define Your Onboarding Goals
Most organizations follow a 4-step onboarding system. Before automating your onboarding flow, you should decide what task to do and expect in each phase of onboarding.
Once prospective agents agree to the job offer, the pre-onboarding begins. All documents are verified, the agent is given enough time to being the role.
In this phase, the agent gets prepared to enter the company as an employee.
2. Welcoming New Agents
This is the day that the agent has joined for work. This phase is where the organizations onboard agents in person, unless they're joining remotely.
Most organizations assign these new agents to someone who's already been working for a while. This is so that the agent gets familiar with the organizational structure and how teams work.
Once the welcome phase is over, agents begin their training. Each organization has a different approach to training.
Some organizations ask a fellow teammate to conduct the training process, sometimes it is the manager who conducts it and some organizations do it with a mix of teammates and managers.
4. Transitioning to Their Role
Once an agent has received the required amount of training, they slowly begin the transition to start working. Someone is tasked to facilitate the new agent's access to all the software and tools used by them, including their coaching Dashboard.
Once an agent has access to tools like the CRM and cloud directory, they can begin interacting with customers.
Once you've set the onboarding goals from each of these phases, it's time to plan an automated onboarding system.
Identify Venues for Automation
Now that you have defined the various phases for automation, you should identify what task can be automated and what can't.
- The training phase can be largely moved to automated coaching, which is 3 times more efficient.
- Another task that can be automated is verifying the documents during the pre-onboarding phase.
Based on your organization's onboarding system, you should locate each task that can be automated. Automating all of these tasks helps your call center to have an streamlined agent onboarding.
The Future of Agent Onboarding
The high agent attrition rates make it a necessity for call centers to hire agents throughout the year. Onboarding these new agents can be a time-consuming and repetitive process.
Instead of manually doing the onboarding, call centers need to find avenues for automation. Depending on the industry and process followed in each call center, these tasks differ.
Organizations need to identify what task can be automated and what can't. Once the task for automation is identified, the process becomes more streamlined.
Till there is a software that can completely track agents and prospective hires like a CRM, the only way is automating different tasks individually.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Agent Onboarding?
Agent onboarding is the process of transitioning new agents into the organization and their role. Some industries that prioritize onboarding apart from call centers include real estate and insurance.
2. How is Agent Onboarding Done in Real Estate?
Once new real estate agents begin their first day, they're usually given orientation sessions on company policies and the real estate market at that area. This is then followed by a training phase that teaches the agent about lead generation and negotiating deals with prospective clients.
Once training is complete, these new real estate agents are partnered with seasoned agents as a mentorship program. This helps them to transition into the role.
Once the agent completes the transition, they begin dealing with customers.
3. What are the Benefits of Agent Onboarding?
Well-planned onboarding systems can improve the quality of agent training and agent satisfaction.
The insurance agent onboarding process allows agents to understand the different policies they’re going to be selling, while in real estate, it helps agents to understand the general guidelines while working with plots in each area.
4. What is the Agent Onboarding Process?
Each company follows different onboarding practices for new agents. The common aspects of all systems are agent training, transitioning into the new role, and giving them access to various tools used as part of their work.
5. What are the Limitations of Manual Onboarding?
When agents are hired as groups, it is often difficult to scale existing systems. Manual onboarding also requires time from experienced agents.
6. What is Phased Agent Onboarding?
A phased onboarding system refers to agent onboarding that is divided into different phases with each phase having distinct objectives.
7. What is Onboarding in Real Estate?
The real estate onboarding process refers to easing the transition for a new hire. The main parts of real estate onboarding are helping the hire to understand the market the organization deals with and on-field training with an experienced agent.
8. How do you Welcome a New Agent?
A lot of organizations assign someone from the same department to the new agent. This person usually shows them around the office, introduces them to everyone, and explains the organizational structure.
9. What is the Role of Onboarding?
An onboarding process helps new agents to feel comfortable and easily transition into their new role. An efficient onboarding process reduces turnover and increases productivity amidst agents.