Joey has been working as a contact center executive for over a year now. A keen learner with a quest for details, Joey has been successfully meeting his daily targets for evaluation metrics. On the contrary, Chris, his colleague, and a very close friend has been lacking in his performance for over six months now.
When their manager identified this trouble, he decided to analyze the situation in detail and found that factors like lack of motivation and stress at work were causing such major performance gap between the two. Evaluating it further, the manager spotted many like Chris in his entire team. He then decided to resolve the issue and strategized an action plan with key measures like arranging regular training sessions, sharing monthly feedback with the agents, etc. His aim was simple – to boost agents’ performance and deliver exceptional customer service.
It is undeniable that contact center agents are a mirror for every organization. Their ability to deliver excellent customer experience can help create a lasting impression on the customers as well as devise the success story of the entire organization. However, all this can be attained by putting in constant efforts to improve the performance of the contact center agents. Some of the simple tips that may help in achieving this goal are:
1. Offer Regular Training
Training should never be a one-time process. While training the contact center agents initially is essential to inform them about the set industry standards, rules and regulations, it is equally important to keep them updated with the latest trends and market standards. It is also necessary to understand that the business needs and customer demands keep on changing. Therefore, planning newer training modules to keep the agents well-trained can simplify the attainment of these goals.
2. Offer Flexibility in Schedules
Flexibility at the workplace plays a vital role to boost agents’ productivity. The contact centers must understand that the agents feel more comfortable working in a flexible environment. For instance, permitting an agent to work from home in case of some personal issue or an emergency can allow them to fulfill their job responsibilities while still handling their chores.
3. Give Autonomy to Certain Extent
The job of Contact center agents gets monotonous at times. This is majorly due to the canned responses that they are supposed to share with the customers on call. Making their job tedious and repetitive, things get worse when contact center agents are unable to help valuable customers due to these limited responses. Therefore, allowing them to handle customer calls themselves can be a great help. From assisting them to hone their skills to establish a connection with the customers, autonomy can make the agents feel better at work while delivering better results.
4. Develop A Culture of Taking Short Breaks
Agents can feel stressed at work due to several reasons such as irate customers, tight deadlines or stringent policies. To make things easier for them, it is recommended to allow them to take shorter but frequent breaks. Whether they want to grab a snack or use the washroom, it is essential to make them feel free at work and not bound by any limitations. Moreover, allowing them such breaks would undoubtedly improve their productivity as well as will enable them to stay happy at work.
5. Recognize Jobs Well Done
Keeping your employees motivated at work is one of the most crucial factors to attain maximum output and results. It is essential for the supervisors and managers to understand that there is no harm in providing agents with the requisite feedback and recognizing their jobs well done. Helping the agents know the significant role played by them to benefit the business, the trick will inspire them to perform better at work.
Offering incentives in the form of free lunches and bonuses can also serve as a great help. However, it is essential to stay very careful when offering incentives. No such action should be recognized that may hamper the business in the long run. For instance, knowing the agent’s ability to make multiple calls may reduce the overall CSAT score. This is because the agents would then rush into making maximum calls instead of focusing on offering a satisfactory solution.
6. Train Agents to Handle Multiple Channels
It is recommended to make your agents capable of handling requests received at multiple channels. This will not only make it easier to manage various customer requests but will also offer agents an opportunity to expand their skill set. Doing so will not only help in improving the employee retention score but will also curb their exhaustion due to a variety of tasks.
From skill-based call routing to facilitating the delivery of excellent customer service, training your agents to handle multiple channels will also enable agent skills development as well as attainment of higher CSAT score.
7. Deploy IVR Technology
Installing the interactive voice response (IVR) system is one of the best ways to enable the delivery of excellent customer service. The technology can serve as an excellent help for those handling the customer calls. While it makes all necessary customer related information available to the agent before he/she gets connected to the right agent, the agent also gets access to the customer’s complete history before answering the call. Having this information available at one’s disposal simplifies the agents’ routine and make it a pleasant experience for all.
8. Provide Personalized Feedback
It is essential for the managers to understand that the overall performance improvement at an organization can only be attained if each agent is paid special attention. By “special attention,” we imply that each of them should receive personalized feedback from the manager’s end. Doing so will make them feel valued and special but will also improve their overall performance.
9. Inter-Agent Chat
There can be times when the agent gets stuck in a particular question asked by the customer about which he has no clue. Being live on the call, it might get difficult for the agent to collect relevant information from his/her colleagues. In such a situation, it is best to opt for inter-agent chat option wherein the agent can ask real-time questions without letting the customer and the rest of the organization know about the fact.
10. Live Call Monitoring and Coaching
It is not necessary for the agents to rely solely on the evaluation of the call recordings. With advanced features like the right telephony and ACD system, it might get challenging to answer even the most straightforward questions. Therefore, it is better to have a supervisor or a call center expert to evaluate their performance. Doing so would also make them feel safer as the agent would have the supervisor to guide him/her in case of any falter.
11. Encourage Feedback
Conduct regular feedback sessions with the agents to know their critical areas of concerns and things that they like at work. Let them share the tricks that work and doesn’t work with the customers. This is important as they are the ones who interact most closely with the customers. An annual feedback session can also serve as a great help to collect deep insights about the customers, things that can be improved at the contact center, to name a few. Do not forget to implement their suggestions wherever possible.
12. Encourage Internal Promotions
For agents to deliver an immaculate performance, it has become essential to offer them something, maybe promotions or appraisals, they desire for. Offering them a chance to excel in their career by putting in the best of their efforts in their current job would not only help them grow as an independent professional but also something to aim for.
Career development plan and the process can also be set up to help the agents acquire the skills they need to excel at their work. A chance to learn, grow as well as improve at their current job location is undoubtedly inspiring for the agents.
Listen To Your Agents
Contact center agents are the ones who know the things that are most liked by the customers. Therefore, it is important to carefully listen to the facts they wish to share and accordingly design an action plan. It is very likely that the agents know such things/facts about the company that you are not at all aware of. Thus, it is recommended to keep implementing the older strategies as well as, the newer ideas so that there is a noticeable increase in agent productivity and performance.