Increasing productivity is every manager’s job. But doing so is a challenge for inbound call center agents.
After all, call center agents are under tremendous pressure. They’re expected to handle huge volumes of contacts professionally, expertly, and courteously—and still achieve high productivity. It’s a lot to ask. So it comes as no surprise that some agents find ways to be productive at the expense of quality and customer satisfaction.
As a manager, it’s your job to make sure agents are highly productive without sacrificing quality and customer satisfaction. It’s also your job to make sure agents perform well. That’s a tall order. But you can do it with the right tools.
Things like training, recognition, and fair compensation motivate agents, as they do other employees. These things make agents feel valued and respected.
7 Ways To Prove That Call Center Agents Feel Valued & Respected:
• Build A Warm, Friendly Environment
Managers set the tone in call centers. So you need to take steps that foster the right attitudes, like creating an environment that’s warm, friendly, and fair. Learning every agent’s name, greeting each shift as it comes on, and creating a “break room” where agents can maximize their 20-minute breaks boosts an environment’s warmth and friendliness.
Action Step: Review your call center’s atmosphere with some top center employees. Compile a list of things you can do to make it a warmer and friendlier environment.
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• Recognize And Reward Excellence
Recognizing and rewarding excellence boosts agent performance. It also builds morale.
Creating a “rewards program” that lets agents accrue “rewards based on achievement” and then “redeem” them is one way to highlight an agent’s achievements.
Gift certificates, movie passes, lunch vouchers, and working from home are great ways to reward, recognize, and motivate agents as well. First choice on vacation requests is also a great reward.
• Share Success With Everyone
Everyone likes to be recognized for doing an outstanding job. So make sure you share agent success with all key parties in a timely manner.
Waiting weeks to recognize an agent’s performance achievements dilutes the effect.
• Promote From Within
If agents have no room to grow and aspire to, their desire to excel and work hard deteriorates. Promote from within. It helps you retain excellent performers and shows agents you appreciate and respect their expertise.
Also, set up career development plans and a process to help agents acquire the skills they need to be ready for a promotion.
Identifying skill set deficiencies and performance improvement opportunities are also good motivators.
• Invest In Training
Conduct regular and updated training sessions. It’s a great way to show agents you respect what they do. It also helps them maintain old skills and acquire new ones.
And make sure you update agents on new procedures, new promotions, and new ways of handling customer situations. It’s vital that you do.
• Reprimand Call Center Agents In Private
No one likes to be reprimanded—especially in public. But it’s a necessary evil. If you have to reprimand agents, do it in private. It reduces embarrassment for agents and forestalls office gossip.
• Encourage Feedback
Encouraging feedback shows agents you respect them and their expertise. So work hard at collecting insights from agents. Encourage them to share ideas with you. They know first hand what works and what doesn’t. Try to implement suggestions where feasible. Also, conduct a yearly survey to collect insights into how satisfied agents are with the environment and to ask what things you can do to improve it. You should also hold regular meetings to discuss key issues and gather ideas on what you can do to fix the areas of concern.
Use the 7 tips above to motivate inbound call center agents. Motivated agents are happy agents and happy agents are more productive agents. They’re also less likely to do things that increase productivity while sacrificing quality and customer satisfaction. Keep agents motivated in your call center and you’ll boost its productivity and employee retention rates as well as your company’s customer service and customer satisfaction levels.
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