3 PROVEN STEPS TO IMPROVE AGENT PERFORMANCE ON EACH CALL
Call center agents carry enormous responsibility; they receive a high volume of calls every day, mostly from upset or frustrated customers. Despite that, call center agents are expected to perform and conduct themselves in a manner that both represent the company well and positively impacts customer experience.
An agent's day can be quite stressful, but call center managers understand that the impression agents create can be the difference between customers remaining loyal or switching their business elsewhere. This is why it is vital to take preemptive steps to ensure agents are performing at their best.
Nowadays, technological solutions in the form of automated call monitoring that relays transcriptions and speech & emotion analytics have made work easier. However, companies are continually looking for ways to improve their call center agent performance metrics. That said, here are three proven steps to improve agent performance on each call.
Step 1: Provide Regular and Effective Training
Call centers are equipped to measure agent’s key performance indicators (KPI) because, without them, managers would not be able to monitor agent performance. But before taking a keen interest in the agent's KPI, call center management should conduct regular training for its representatives to create a unified and synchronized team. Besides bringing the team together, regular training will keep agents up-to-date with key aspects that include:
Changes in policy and procedures (especially in regulated sectors)
Application of new software or hardware.
Training opportunities will represent a good chance for agents to see, hear and take a keen interest in activities that improve their output. Moreover, well-trained agents are more likely to resolve customer requests, which will positively impact customer experience. The following can be done to effectively train call center agents:
Direct Agents on What to Say to Customers
With real-time call transcripts, managers have concrete evidence they can use to demonstrate how a situation can be handled. And more so, in defusing tense situations, call transcripts can be used to provide agents with what to say because, more often than not, some things are proven to work with customers in certain situations.
Use Conversation Scripts to Check Compliance
Agents can improve customer service by sticking to the script in real-time conversations with callers. In some countries, this comes as a necessity for regulated sectors. What an agent says or doesn't say can carry a penalty. And managers can use call transcriptions to encourage agents to be more conscious.
Train Agents How to Monitor Their Tones
Agents attend to a variety of calls from different people, and some may not know they sound to customers. When dealing with difficult customers, the agent's tone should dictate the proceedings, which is why they need to master their tone. Managers can use sentiment analysis to detect variations in an agent's tone and demeanor.
Step 2: Measure Agent Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
The next crucial step is to stay consistent with technology that captures call center metrics. That's because, without ample tech, managers won't have accurate KPI to measure and monitor call center agent performance.
Investing in analytics and reporting technology would enhance agent performance. With this technology, managers would easily identify key areas of focus and provide meaningful metrics to agents to help them achieve their performance goals. Some of the metrics to track in analyzing an agent's performance in the call center include:
Average answering speed.
First call resolution (FCR).
Customer satisfaction rating.
Average handling times.
The number of active and waiting calls.
Step 3: Offer Incentives and Participation Opportunities
Most companies are facing difficulties in offering the best customer service. Agents attend to numerous calls at once, which prompts them to put other customers on hold. If you work in this industry at all, I’m sure you’re familiar with the resulting scenario. The customer becomes frustrated, and the quality of customer service and satisfaction rapidly deteriorates. Equally important and often ignored is the mental and physical toll these interactions take on the agents.
Even the best of us will be affected by persistent “badgering” over time. This undoubtedly impacts agent performance. That's why managers should look to adopt new and proven strategies to improve agent performance on each call and subsequently make customer service as efficient and satisfactory as possible. The following strategies can enhance agent performance in the call center.
Agents are more likely to work harder when they feel like valued and important members of the team. Managers can include them in a variety of tasks aside from customer service and also in key decision-making processes. This will build a sense of belonging and loyalty to the company, which could drastically enhance performance.
However old-fashioned it may be, nothing boosts employee morale than awarding prizes to diligent and hardworking agents. Set performance and goal-oriented contests and weekly or monthly reward high performers. That will not only break the monotony but will offer agents the incentive to go beyond merely finishing the task at hand.
The Bottom Line
Working at a call center can be challenging to agents, but efficient strategies from the call center management team can keep all agents happy and productive. The best work environment will automatically produce the best in everyone and help you skyrocket your customer service and satisfaction.
There are many Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies that could improve agent performance on each call. From voice, bots to call center automation, make agents' work less difficult by answering routine and basic questions so that agents and AI can work in sync to achieve your call center performance goals and improve the agent performance scorecard.
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