Training Contact Center Agents to Multitask

Training Contact Center Agents to Multitask

As call center agents move to fully functioning omnichannel contact center agents, the question of agent training comes into focus—particularly training contact center agents to multitask. Can it be done? What is an agent’s capacity to multitask?

Agents are no longer simply answering phones. They are scanning customer information housed in contact center CRM systems. They are juggling customer chats and emails. And they are completing AFW (after-call work, or post-call processing) to log interaction information for the future. Often, they are doing some of this simultaneously, operating as blended agents who handle inbound and/or outbound customer interactions across multiple voice, web, and digital channels.

To ensure that your customer satisfaction surveys do not suffer due to your agents’ inability to multitask, it’s important to understand agent capacity to multitask—and the type of training that is needed to impart the multitasking skills your operation requires.

The amount of cognitive load one individual’s brain can handle is limited. What often happens, rather than multitasking, is “split-tasking.” What do I mean by that? Well, rather than truly comprehending information and completing tasks at the same time, an individual is more likely to split their attention and focus—rapidly shifting back and forth between information and tasks they need to perform.

For agents to learn to split and shift focus rapidly between a multitude of initiatives at once, without it affecting their ability to provide exceptional customer experience, two things are required: training and time. Here are a few ideas to help along the way:

  1. Make memorization a priority.

    Give your agents the time and space needed to memorize their way around your CRM system, to commit your policies to memory, and to recall product knowledge in a moment’s notice. It’s the only way they’ll be able to focus more attention on the customer when the time comes.


  2. Start with a simplified schedule.

    Agents, especially those new to the contact center, have much to learn in a short time span. To ease the transition through this process, find out what digital and voice channels they are most comfortable with, and start by scheduling them for shorter time periods across those. You can always ramp up the number of channels on which they operate—and the amount of time they are working across those channels—as the agents increase their skills and abilities.


  3. Focus on quality management.

Speaking of increased agent skills and abilities, find time to pinpoint and cultivate them throughout your quality management process. Whether it’s through call recording, performance monitoring, or agent coaching, be sure you have built in procedures that allow for you to recognize opportunities for improvement and celebrate areas of strength when it comes to your agents’ skills and abilities.

For more information on agent hiring and training statistics within your industry, download our latest report, “The State of Agent Experience and Engagement in Today's Contact Centers.”