Traditional training methods have long been the norm in large organizations – but the pace of change is now unrelenting. The days of classroom and PowerPoint-style training are fading fast as these methods are ineffective and outdated.
At Zenarate, we continue to advance the practice of AI simulation training to transform how agents learn and perform. In my latest Zenarate Insights blog, I’ll share my thoughts on the state of simulation training and how new reporting and insights help develop confident and top-performing agents.
Traditional Training vs. Agent Simulation Training
Traditional training typically involves classroom-style lectures, one-on-one role-plays and compliance training. While this approach may cover the basics, it doesn’t fully engage employees and equip them with the skills to handle real-world situations.
This is where agent AI simulation training comes in.
Agent simulation training is a highly immersive training experience that allows agents to practice and hone their skills in a safe and controlled environment. Unlike traditional training, it provides hands-on, experiential learning that prepares employees for real-life scenarios.
Every day, I work with customers transitioning from traditional to simulation training, and we consistently see two significant outcomes. First, they’ve received positive feedback from agents who feel better prepared to handle customer interactions. And second, they see impressive improvements in key performance indicators (KPIs).
The Impact on KPIs
One of the most compelling arguments for simulation training is a fast improvement to KPIs. Simulation training reliably speeds up proficiency by 56% compared to traditional training, and a more rapid learning curve means associates are ready to perform at expected levels much sooner.
Simulation training also leads to higher customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores. New and tenured agents trained through simulation are better equipped to provide comprehensive solutions to customers. We see less need for follow-up calls and a 33% higher average CSAT score overall.
Tracking Efficiency, Customer Satisfaction and Agent Success
Our contact center leaders use various metrics to track efficiency, customer satisfaction, and agent success, and you should, too. Metrics vary by industry but typically include first-call resolution, CSAT or Net Promoter Score (NPS), and QA or compliance scores. Other business-focused metrics include customer conversion, dollars collected and sales made.
However, I believe one of the most overlooked metrics is the voice of the agent. This measures how supported agents feel in their roles and how effective they find the training. Understanding what works for agents and what they need to succeed is crucial to a successful training program.
Improving Empathy and Active Listening Skills
AI simulation training also helps improve soft skills like empathy and active listening. These skills are difficult to teach in a traditional classroom, as they’re best learned through practice. Our customers love simulation training because it allows agents to practice responding empathetically to difficult customer situations in a controlled and safe environment. An emphasis on empathy training helps agents develop the skills to stay calm and supportive when faced with real-life customer challenges.
As we head into 2024, I think agent training and customer success will be even more intertwined, with both elements driving the other. Agents will continue to face complex situations, and there will be an increasing need for tools to identify skill gaps and provide immersive and continuous learning. Agent development will continue to address and support agent success as new agents demand more than just a job – they want to succeed and feel supported. I also believe that customer success will involve continuously engaging clients in ways that simplify their lives. We’re already seeing how the voice of the customer is helping drive product development.
As we develop future agents, reporting will be crucial in surfacing insights. With the recent launch of our Call Analyzer for AI Coach, we’re seeing how feedback data is helping to build real-time narratives for improved training and simulations and create new simulations that address high-frequency, high-impact topics. More sophisticated agent insights can pinpoint areas where agents struggle the most, allowing trainers to provide targeted additional training.
The advancement of reporting data put into action also allows real-time feedback and interaction, even in asynchronous training settings. It ensures and furthers AI simulation training’s ability to be modular and adaptable by catering to the specific needs of individual agents. It’s exciting to see the growing power of reporting and how training leaders can ensure agents are proficient and ready to interact with live customers confidently and efficiently.
2023 has been a fast-paced and exciting time for Zenarate and our customers. I can’t thank our customers enough for joining us as we work to transform agent training and, most importantly, outstanding customer service.
The future of AI simulation training is bright indeed, as agent training and customer success lie in continual adaptation, data-driven insights and a relentless focus on both agent performance and happy customers.
BS Business Administration, Leeds School of Business, from the University of Colorado. Holly leads our high-energy Customer Success team delivering the most Customer obsessed services & support in enterprise software.