Recently, EvaluAgent released findings that show unhappy UK call centre workers cost the country’s economy £2.3billion per year. It seems that the entire industry shares a similar problem of high rates of attrition and staff turnover.
There will never be a quick fix for this, but a good starting point is to address underlying issues that perhaps are responsible for such high levels of unhappiness and low levels of morale that are felt by call centre agents. After all, happy staff work harder, achieve more, increase customer satisfaction – and they usually don’t quit their jobs either.
Ensuring call centre agents have the right know-how, skills, ability and confidence to do their job well is critical to success.
With a structured approach to training, guidance and performance management that sometimes thinks ‘outside the box’, agents know when they are meeting targets. They are also in a position where they are developing personally and professionally, and they are more likely to be equipped with the tools to deliver outstanding customer experiences.
Here’s five tips to bear in mind when coaching to empower your agents and working to improve call centre agent performance:
1. Encourage Ownership
One of many elements of empowerment in the workplace is that of ownership of development. Call centre agents should understand their objectives, why they are in place, and how their role sits in the bigger picture of the organisation. Those taking an active part in leading their own performance improvement and development will often enjoy higher levels of satisfaction and motivation, and faster progression within the workplace.
2. Look beyond the team
Organisations are big places, with many different skill sets and ways of doing things floating around. Often, much can be learnt just by gaining insight from other departments or managers.
3. Treat each agent individually
Create goals, targets and objectives. But make them unique – no one member of the team will be the same. Tailored personal development plans should also include clear, realistic advice on how to stick to reach these goals. Finally, make sure the plan is regularly tracked and refreshed – it should be a living document, and not something that is referred to once every three months.
4. Coaching – Make it Count
It’s essential that agents are empowered with the knowledge and confidence of tacking customer queries as and when the situation arises. Not only to minimise the number of people involved within the interaction process, but to swiftly get the customer to where they want to be. Optimising coaching and review sessions with a well-prepared, detailed and structured plan in advance will ensure both team leader and agent get the most from the session. Continually reviewing progress against this plan in regular coaching sessions will maximise the benefit of this process.
5. Buddy Up
As with any role or responsibility in life, everyone has a set of skills that they are natural with. Buddy programmes in the call or contact centre environment can help to pair up individuals who can learn from each other – encouraging both team building and professional development in the process.
For a happy, productive, motivated call centre, agent empowerment is essential as are well structured call centre performance management and call centre quality monitoring. The key is to implement processes that help managers, team leaders and agents alike stay on track.