Skill transfer by Robert C. Davis and Associates: The proven skill transfer model for contact centers begins with a clear explanation

Five-part series

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

By Brad Baumunk, President and COO

Happy 2020! May it be the best year ever for all of us.

During a recent site visit, I did tri-levels with supervisors (observer-coach-agent) with the goal of observing our recent skill transfer training in action. As I organized my day and interacted with supervisors to get on their schedule, they were all excited to have me observe them. They told me stories of individual and team performance improvement based on using skill transfer for just a short three weeks. 

Improving agent performance in the contact center is critical to meeting individual, team and company goals. Transferring a skill is not the same as teaching, and at Robert C. Davis and Associates, we use a simple five-step process for skill transfer.

1.         Explain.

2.         Demonstrate.

3.         Practice with Coaching.

4.         Observe.

5.         Feedback.

This skill transfer model is based on establishing a positive learning environment that provides encouragement and accountability. The process will introduce new principles and methods to the agent, provide opportunities to practice in a safe environment, develop the new skills, and build confidence and commitment.

Today, let’s look at the first step in the process – Explain.

This step of the skill transfer process is very important. If you do it right, you will inspire enthusiasm to learn. The four things you typically explain are:

1.         What the agent is about to learn.

2.         Why it is important to learn.

3.         How the agent is going to learn it.

4.         A review of the principles and methods you will be teaching.

Here is an example of how this step should sound.

What: “John, what we are about to learn is an effective way to transition a customer service call into a discussion about additional services.”

Why: “This is an important skill to learn because you must believe you are working with the customer’s best interest in mind. Being able to smoothly transition into discovery will help you identify opportunities to help the customer find better solutions than what they currently have.”

How: “First, I’ll tell you how the process works, demonstrate it for you, and let you ask questions. Then we’ll practice together until you become more comfortable with the technique. Next, I’ll observe you demonstrating the technique until we both agree you have developed the skill to a level that allows you to use it all the time. Does that sound OK?”

Review: “We will focus on identifying opportunities to transition from service to sales. That will include asking questions focused the customer’s wants, interests and needs (WINs). We will also work on when and how to transition into discovery. These skills will help to put the customer at ease and increase your opportunities to sell new services.”

Soon we will look at the second step – Demonstrate. Until then, below is a quote to remind everyone that transferring a skill is not a one-and-done activity. It needs to be continually reinforced.

“In 30 days, people forget 90 percent of what they have learned unless it is repeatedly reinforced.”

– Albert Mehrabian, UCLA

Let’s have a call to talk more about Robert C. Davis and Associates’ proven skill transfer model (starting with Explain) and how it can be of high value in 2020 and beyond to your contact center operation.

Five-part series

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Robert C. Davis and Associates
Bob Davis, Founder and CEO | 678-548-1775 |
Brad Baumunk, President and COO | 512-695-2511 |