FRAM, probably best known for manufacturing oil filters for cars, uses “pay me now or pay me later” as its marketing slogan. In its TV commercials, a mechanic says this to customers who are reluctant to pay for an oil change. And the meaning is that you can pay for a relatively inexpensive but proactive oil change now or you can pay for a very expensive engine replacement down the road. Either way, you’re going to pay something. The sensible choice is to invest in the oil change. It’s cheaper and helps you avoid the stress of your engine going out during rush hour.

This same philosophy applies to training agents about new programs or products. You can invest in adequately training agents prior to rollout, or you can scramble to do “refresher” training after rollout, along with launching damage control measures for any upset customers who were served by inadequately trained agents.

Training costs can quickly add up, especially when you have to train large groups of agents. It’s a line item that stands out and catches the eye of cost conscious executives. It’s a cost that usually doesn’t have a direct and indisputable correlation to revenue, so it’s hard to do a business case for it. Everyone knows there should be training, but the amount is often hotly debated. And in the interest of saving money, the amount may get whittled down to an insufficiently low level.

Fortunately, good CRM systems with robust scripting capabilities typically reduce the amount of training needed for new or modified programs. However, even the best technical solution doesn’t completely eliminate the need for training. Companies that don’t invest in enough up front training risk the success of their new program. It really is a pay now or pay later situation.

But how much training is “enough”? That will depend on the complexity of the program. Companies that work with a seasoned contact center vendor can benefit from the vendor’s experience with conducting training for similar efforts. Their estimates are based on actual experience and should, at the very least, be used as a starting point for discussions when planning the roll out of a new initiative. Vendors and their clients have a common goal when it comes to implementing a new initiative – they both want it to be a resounding success. Collaboratively developing a training plan that includes sufficient up front agent training is a key to that success.

Pay now or pay later – words to plan by.

At USA800, our training department has a wealth of experience designing and executing training programs that help our clients achieve their business objectives. Contact us now to find out more.