Update: This article was last updated on 14th November 2019 to reflect the accuracy and up-to-date information on the page.
A call center’s overall productivity depends on how the agent workforce performs in tandem with the available technologies. Here, the role of a call center manager is vital. Call center managers are like the essence of it all; they hold together the technologies and the agents to develop an amalgamation that benefits both individuals and the business.
However, when it comes to increasing agent’s productivity, the idea slightly differs from the concept of picking the right technology because agents are individuals and each one is different from the other as one may be quick at convincing the customer for sale while the other could be slow but better at customer retention.
A good manager knows how valuable both these types of agents are and keeps them happy irrespective of their differing behavior.
It is difficult for a call center manager to manage and keep all agents productive. It is also essential that these individual agents are given personal attention and value. If the agents are happy with their work, they’ll likely keep the customers happy as well, and honestly, what more do you wish for?
So, a happy agent experience is equal to a happy customer experience. But how does this pleasant experience come into play and how do managers handle the agents well and make them feel appreciated and valued.
Let’s look at the points below:
1. Know Your Agents
Knowing your agents is the most crucial aspect for the call center manager, and this knowledge of the agents should never be limited to their names or work shifts. It includes knowing their traits, strengths, and weaknesses.
This practice helps in a smart deployment of the agents and assigning them the roles they fit best for. It also makes sure that the agents get the work they like and improve their chances of completing it successfully.
When the right agent is assigned the right task, it becomes likely to achieve overall good productivity because then the inherent skills of agents are utilized thoroughly. In this way, working on the strength of the individual agents opens more avenues to work better as a team and get the best possible results.
Agents feel more comfortable and are likely to work on their weaknesses for the success and overall development of the call center organization. An agent who is happy with his boss will also keep customers happy.
2. Making the Customer Information Handy
It matters a lot to make the customer information available to the agents so that they are prepared to handle the customers in advance. It improves the quality of responses coming from them because now an agent already has the background knowledge of the ongoing issue.
If the agents are given all the comprehensive information about the callers, their chances of making a fruitful conversation and handling the call in a comparatively low time increases. This information also keeps a check on the Average Handling Time (AHT) while increasing the Customer Satisfaction Rate (CSAT) for the call center.
The agent can prepare better to solve the problem of the customer. In the same context, it is equally necessary to integrate the call center software with the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software.
The CRM software brings many utilities with it, such as task automation, better analytical data, and reporting for seamless customer experience.
3. Autonomy for Agents
The agents should be given an extent of autonomy in their responses and their ways of dealing with customers. This autonomy brings flexibility to the customer service because then agents can explore more ideas to deal with customers.
Such flexibility opens the possibility for more creativity from the agent’s side. After briefing the agents about the issue, it is advisable to make their own decisions while resorting to customer service calls.
Giving this freedom to agents also gives them a chance to hone their skills and think on their feet. They feel like they are solving issues rather than providing scripted responses.
Once the agent is given responsibilities to decide on their own, they become more accountable for their performance and produce better results. In other terms, an individual is taken to its best potential if they are valued and feel trusted.
4. Perpetual Training for Agents
New challenges keep presenting themselves on a day to day basis, and agents must be prepared for the next thing a customer complains about. A good understanding of the product or service can help agents handle new queries better and keep them looped in the learning and development process.
Call center managers should organize regular training and development sessions, product workshops, and more to keep the agents interested and actively involved in the business.
A call center manager should also keep working on his knowledge of current trends and technologies in the world of call centers. There are various technologies and tools that surface regularly and can help the call center to achieve growth and success.
So, it is equally necessary to remain conscious about enhancing the technology infrastructure and make the agents aware of it.
It is also advisable that the agents are trained and developed following a multichannel approach. A multichannel approach saves from the mundane and tedious everyday work while preparing the agents in more than one form of communication. It also improves agent retention as they are given variation in tasks with a sense of fulfillment.
5. Recognizing a Good Performance
Appreciation and encouragement lead to motivation, and that improves the performance of agents. So, despite the chaotic environment of the call center, a manager should always recognize and be open to express the same because such recognitions inspire agents to perform better.
It also includes incentives and timely performance appraisals. Reward your agents for the work they have done and make sure your agents are not underpaid. Productivity depends on how the agents are compensated for their hard work.
Being a call center manager is tough but being proactive with performance analysis leads to more success and higher productivity. Professionalism is necessary, but the call center manager should also wear empathy and compassion on his sleeves, and it should be balanced with the other.
6. Allow Agents to Take Multiple Short Breaks
Working in a call center is tough; the conditions and the environment can get tensed at times. Irritated customers, deadlines, and fixed protocols are a few things that cause this tension in the background, thereby adding to the stress of the agents.
All this tension and stress can also cause the agents to underperform or affect their productivity. Allowing agents to take short and frequent breaks can help uplift the productivity and satisfaction of the agents.
Research shows that humans naturally move from full focus and energy to physiological fatigue every 90 minutes.
These quick breaks can be for taking a breather, getting coffee, grabbing a quick snack or using the restroom. These breaks help the agents to hit the reset button and talk to their colleagues and customers with a bigger and better smile.
All these tips contribute to developing a happy and healthy environment, for both the agents as well as the manager. Try out these tips and keep your agents motivated and pleased with their work so that they keep the customers happy.
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