The ultimate guide to onboarding support agents quickly


One of the major pain points we see time and again in tech support organizations is that they can struggle to keep people on the job. Between things like frustrating, lengthy conversations with customers and the mental drain those conversations bring, it’s not uncommon to see high turnover rates.

And when you think about how long it can take to find the right candidate, not to mention get them up to speed, it’s clearly a major problem.

Today, let’s take some of the pain out of this particular point and talk about what you can do to onboard new support agents quickly.

First, establish your priorities when hiring new agents.

Though it also applies when teaching tenured agents new technology and processes, onboarding often starts with the need for new support agents. That need typically leads to a debate of whether to prioritize technical or interpersonal skills—because it’s a rare event when you find a candidate with high levels of both.

They’re both essential to an agent’s success in their role, but most candidates will lean one way or the other. You’ll need to establish which skillset you want to prioritize based on your company’s overall goals.

This decision will then have two major effects for your company. First, it will define what your onboarding process needs to look like, and what your training program should focus on. Second, it will determine the types of tools you might want to provide.

For example, let’s say you want to hire for interpersonal skills first. Those agents will need help learning the technical side of things. You may want to look for solutions that can guide them through deciphering technical information and offering resolutions to customers, even if they haven’t worked with a particular issue before.

That way, you can trust that agents will be able to give the right level of technical expertise, even if that’s not their background.

Next, determine what your process for onboarding support agents looks like.

Having an established training and onboarding process is a major priority for many support organizations. After all, consistency in training is the first step toward consistency in your customers’ experience, right?

Depending on how technical the training is (and how much of it there is, especially if agents need to learn multiple dashboards for customer-premises equipment), it can sometimes be too much for agents.

What does that mean for you?

It means that the key to successful, speedy onboarding is to be as concise and succinct as possible. The simpler you can make onboarding, the faster you’ll be able to get agents up and running (without overwhelming them!).

After all, the more tools they need to learn, the more time they’ll need to dedicate to learning each of those tools. On top of that, they’re more likely to have questions on the job, too—especially if there’s only so much time dedicated to training.

One great way to make onboarding simple is to minimize the number of tools agents need to learn upfront. That way, they can dedicate their training time to learning one tool really well, rather than several acceptably well.

For example, with the RouteThis Dashboard, you can introduce agents to a universal hub that connects to any modem or router regardless of CPE and can walk them through troubleshooting. Then, if and when you need to introduce new equipment, that doesn’t require agents—new and tenured alike—to learn new dashboards.

Lastly, create a process for everyday reinforcement.

Anyone who’s ever been in any sort of teaching role will tell you that you can’t give people information once and expect it to stick. If you want them to remember what they’ve learned, you need to ensure they have the tools needed to reinforce those lessons on a daily basis.

When you’re training new hires, or helping agents learn new technology, it’s likely they’ll forget some best practices and details. In some cases, they may not realize they’re forgetting anything.

Your best weapon here is the ability to remind agents of processes as they’re working. It’s not exactly scalable to pull agents for pop quizzes or retraining when they need to be on the phone, so that’s where technology should step in to help. What you’ll need for this is a solution that is:

  • Easy for agents of all technical backgrounds to use
  • Designed to guide agents through established steps
  • Capable of deciphering technical information and providing key insights

This way, you can ensure that even new agents can go through established steps to reach the right answers the same way a more tenured agent would. And that means happier customers, confident agents, and lower frustration levels for everyone.

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