Training Staff to Use a VoIP System

Implementing a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone system in your office can boost productivity and cut costs. But to realize these benefits, your staff needs proper training on using the new equipment. Without it, you may face complaints about call quality issues or employees not utilizing helpful features.

Don’t let inadequate training diminish ROI. Follow these best practices to ensure your team gets up to speed on the ins and outs of VoIP.

Assess Your Starting Point

Before designing a training program, gauge your staff’s preexisting knowledge. This allows you to build on what they already know instead of covering rudimentary concepts.

Create a short survey asking questions like:

  • Have you used a VoIP business phone system before? If so, which one?
  • What features are you familiar with (call forwarding, conference calling, video calls, etc.)?
  • How comfortable do you feel using a VoIP phone’s web interface to customize settings?

The responses will give you crucial insight into which topics need greater focus. Those with exposure to VoIP can briefly explain it to novices. This peer-to-peer learning builds engagement.

Craft a Customized Training Agenda

With a handle on your employees’ baseline VoIP expertise, map out a tailored curriculum. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t cut it.

Structure your agenda around must-know topics but allow flexibility. Highlight the phrasing, soft skills, and etiquette vital for professional phone interactions. Show how to personalize preferences and access timesaving functions.

Pepper in team activities to reinforce lessons and make training interactive. Examples include roleplaying common call scenarios and using the phones to leave voicemails for each other.

Don’t information overload attendees. Stick to concepts directly related to their day-to-day responsibilities. Further training can come later as users gain competency.

Choose Compelling Training Materials

You have creative liberty in developing training materials. But opt for formats conducive to adult learners, who prefer materials that are:

Visually Engaging: Capitalize on visuals like screenshots and brief videos to demonstrate the VoIP system’s interface and features. Seeing something in action sticks better than dry text.

Concise: Break information into digestible chunks instead of lengthy passages. Use bullet points, charts, and other formatting techniques to call out key takeaways.

Interactive: Include questions, quizzes, and prompts to apply knowledge as you go. This improves retention and gives you feedback on trouble spots to reinforce.

Accessible: Enable continuous reference by providing digital copies. Many will prefer to revisit materials independently later when actively using the new system.

Well-designed materials make your training delivery more impactful and knowledge transfer more likely.

Choose the Right Training Format

When training your team on a new VoIP system, carefully select the right format. Traditional in-person sessions allow for hands-on practice and discussions, making them ideal for concentrated knowledge transfer.

If your workforce is distributed across locations, virtual training through video chat can provide interactive remote instruction.

For more self-guided learning, develop online courses or e-learning modules that employees can work through at their own pace. Quick reference guides that condense instructions for key features into 1-2 pages are also useful for deskside support after training.

Match the format to your employees’ needs and preferences as well as the complexity of the subject matter. For instance, virtual sessions could cover the bulk of the material, while reference guides reinforce recall of day-to-day functions.

The right medium makes training more accessible and effective.

Determine the Right Training Frequency

Don’t overwhelm your team by cramming everything into back-to-back intensive workshops right off the bat. Adult learners retain information better when it’s broken into smaller chunks over time.

Start with a 1-2 hour overview training to introduce the new VoIP system and highlight core features.

Follow up with shorter 30-60 minute modules focused on utilizing specific capabilities in greater depth. Wrap up with periodic refreshers to reinforce previous lessons.

Spacing out training allows time for employees to practice applying concepts between classes. Sticking to bite-sized lessons avoids information overload. Find the right cadence that keeps your team engaged as they build VoIP skills at a manageable pace.

Frequent, focused training immunizes against knowledge loss.

Identify the Best Trainers

Carefully choose who will conduct the training sessions. It should be someone intimately familiar with the VoIP system who can clearly explain it to others. Often, this is an in-house administrator who oversaw implementation.

But it could also be vendors providing training on the products purchased. Their technical product expertise allows them to field any question attendees throw their way.

If you lack the right in-house skills, don’t wing it. Outsource training to ensure it’s done right, even if it costs extra. The back-and-forth after failed training is more frustrating for everyone.

Walk Users Through Hands-On Exercises

A tell-me-once lecture won’t cut it. Adult learners need hands-on practice to retain information. After introducing a function, have attendees try it out themselves on the VoIP phones.

Build hands-on exercises for activities like:

  • Placing calls with different dialing patterns
  • Checking voicemail
  • Setting up call forwarding
  • Initiating a conference call
  • Adjusting ringtones and display settings
  • Using the softphone application

Provide guidance as users complete exercises. Have them get comfortable performing tasks unaided before moving onto the next concept.

Schedule Follow-Up Reinforcement Sessions

Your training can’t end after one session. People only retain a portion of what they learn initially. Follow-up classes reinforce knowledge and address lingering questions.

You don’t need formal, instructor-led workshops. Try recap emails listing key takeaways or short how-to videos sent weekly. Quick refreshers keep information top of mind after training.

Better yet, dedicate 5-10 minutes per team meeting for open VoIP Q&A. This gives you a recurring chance to clear up problems and offer extra pointers.

Make Sure Managers Are Onboard

Get buy-in from managers on enforcing training. They should attend sessions when possible and monitor that their direct reports apply what they learn.

Managers can positively influence adoption by:

  • Following up 1:1 with employees on using new tools
  • Leading by example in their own phone communication
  • Providing feedback on room for improvement

Without their involvement, employees may shrug off training. Peer and manager support improves compliance.

Gauge Training Success

Once you implement VoIP training, assess its effectiveness. Gather feedback through:

  • Surveys: Ask attendees what they gained, what was unclear, and what else would help their mastery
  • Quizzes: Test knowledge retention on core concepts and commonly used features
  • Observation: Listen to employees use the phones and take note of any lingering struggle points
  • Analytics: Use VoIP system reports to detect usage patterns. Are advanced features being leveraged?

This data shows if your training hit the mark or needs adjustment. Filling in gaps ensures everyone gets up to speed.

Invest in VoIP Mastery

A VoIP system marks a big change for your organization. Settling for lackluster training hampers you from realizing the technology’s full potential. Use these tips to facilitate smooth user adoption and skill-building.

With the right prep, your staff will thrive with this new era of advanced phone communication.

Check out our top small business VoIP providers to learn more about their pricing, features, integrations, customer support, and more. With options starting under $20 per user monthly, it’s an affordable way to up-level your business communications across the board.

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