Over the coming weeks, we’re taking a deep dive into some of the KPIs that high-performing contact center measures. Today, we’re focusing on agent ramp time, why it’s so important, and how you reduce it.

What Is Agent Ramp Time and What Does It Measure?

Agent ramp time is the length of time it takes to get agents through the onboarding process and perform at a competent level. The longer this process takes, the more revenue that’s lost. So, contact centers want to reduce ramp time as much as possible.

How Do You Measure Ramp Time?

Contact centers measure ramp time in two different ways:

  • Onboarding and initial training to first call
  • Training to competency on par with KPIs and benchmarks

It’s important to calculate the average performance across each metric to create a benchmark for tracking and comparison.

Why Is Agent Ramp Time Important to Contact Centers?

With the average call center turnover rate running as high as 45%, managers and supervisors spend countless hours onboarding, training, and getting new staff up to speed. Even in well-run organizations, the average customer service rep aged 20 to 34 stays on the job only slightly more than a year. The time and effort required to ramp up agents equates to major contact center cost.

By reducing agent ramp time, contact centers can be sure that agents are able to get on the phones sooner and help to offset costs. What’s more, properly trained agents are more efficient, productive, and have less turnover. That has a ripple effect, translating down the line to less onboarding, improved customer satisfaction, and, ultimately, reduced costs.

How Can You Reduce Ramp Time?

The better your onboarding, training, and coaching, the more you can reduce ramp time. The key is a robust contact center platform that provides real-time guidance and real-time coaching for agents.

Providing the Right Support Materials

No matter how in-depth your training regimen is, not all of the lessons are going to stick. You also can’t cover every possible scenario, either. As such, new agents aren’t going to remember everything they need and may encounter unexpected situations. This can quickly undermine their confidence.

Improve ramp time by making sure your playbook is thorough, complete, and up-to-date to cover as many scenarios as possible. You should take a deep dive into your call flows, decision trees, and guided instructions to ensure your documentation provides what’s needed.

You will want to pay attention to how your documentation is presented as well. Agents need to be able to scan it and find what they need and make fast decisions about the next steps. A common mistake is loading up content on a page rather than revealing information gradually as calls unfold.

A Scenario-Based Approach to Training

Rather than forcing memorization, training should include role-playing that put agents to the test in common situations using the tools you’re providing. Agents need to know where and how to find the information they need quickly and practice will help. They also need to understand what warrants escalation and what to do for help.

Scenario-based training more accurately reflects what agents will do when you let them take live calls. This reinforces the lessons and lets you better assess their readiness.

During training, you should also be measuring performance, progress, and mastery. This can help you take note of where additional training is necessary or where future coaching may be needed.

Leveraging AI-Powered, Real-Time Technology

When you’re tracking every call in real-time, you can significantly improve performance and shorten ramp time.

With an AI-guided platform, agents aren’t required to fully memorize a script or know exactly what they need to do on every call. A real-time guidance (RTG) platform monitors conversation and provides specific flow-through for calls. By understanding the conversation, context, emotion, and sentiment, RTG uses AI and predictive analysis to suggest the next action. Top-performing RTG platforms can reduce your ramp time by as much as 65%.

You can also help continually improve agent performance by on-the-spot coaching. Real-time coaching can listen to every call and automatically alert managers for immediate coaching opportunities. The AI monitors agent conversation for phrases, keywords, and other informative events. When it detects positive events, it can flag a supervisor for reinforcement. When a negative event or a coaching opportunity is identified, it alerts the manager instantly.

Real-time coaching improves agent performance more quickly, which also reduces ramp time to proficiency.

Another important tool in mentoring agents is real-time quality assurance. Real-time QA can score 100% of calls so that managers can focus on improving interactions rather than scoring calls themselves. Real-Time QA also lets you analyze current performance against historical trends for your entire team or individual agents to assess trajectory and spot improvements or deficiencies.

Improve Your Agent Ramp Time

When you improve your agent ramp time, you can ensure agents are productive faster and on their way to proficiency. Real-time guidance, coaching, and quality assurance can help you monitor and manage a team of agents to optimize performance.

Balto does all of these things. To learn more about how Balto can reduce your agent ramp time, book a demo today.