3, November 2016
Working out of cubicles, sitting on reclining chairs, and interacting with customers who are dealing with their own problems – a day in the life of a call center agentis no bed of roses. It is why a large percentage of call centers deal with high rates of attrition, which directly affects their overall performance. But then again, in today’s marketplace, performance burn-out is a recurring problem across industries and roles.
Call center agents, though, are the lifeblood of your business. The first and last line of defense of your brand – as far as many of your customers are concerned. Hence, it is crucial to take a prescriptive approach to handling agent retention. Losing a good agent is akin to losing a valued customer.
So, here are five engagement strategies to strengthen the bond between your call center agents and your business.
Trained for Success
Reputed brands hold on to their workforce by ensuring that they are trained for success, irrespective of employment timelines. When you care about the career development of your agents, it more than just improves the way they interact with your customers. It assuages any feeling they have of organizational exclusion, performance inadequacy and insecurities or short-sightedness regarding their careers. Never cut short the training and development schedule for any of your agents. It can go a long way to acclimatize them to your company’s values and strengthen their bonds with colleagues.
The Metrics of Positivity
Being employee-focused while being ultra-focused on quantitative productivity metrics can have an adverse effect. Metrics such as Average Handling Time, Response Times and Adherence to Schedules are often indicative of agent performance. There’s no denying it. However, it is important to focus on other qualitative metrics such as Contact Quality, Contact Center Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction. They can help you have a clearer and more grounded understanding how well your agents are performing. And it will improve the quality of work schedules for agents since they won’t be held up against the sword of reflexive productivity metrics.
A Rewarding Experience
Rewarding people for superior performing is neither rocket science nor a revolutionary engagement methodology. Sandwiched between industry-standard salary packages and a spirited work culture, it is the meat and potatoes of increasing agent retention. But how you tailor-make your Rewards and Recognition program is crucial to its success. Also remember, that too much praise may lead to the law of diminishing returns. Hence, make every reward count. It will help your agents feel truly valued. From incentive programs and agent surveys to peer nominations and celebrating quick wins, engage your agents by showing them how much you value their performance.
Beyond Their Call Of Duty
Not every call center harnesses, or even realizes the full potential of their agents. The wealth of knowledge and expertise that they bring to the table may extend beyond the realm of their job description. Yet, such strengths can potentially lead to organizational effectiveness, if they are tapped into. It may be worthwhile to pick the brains and pull the heartstrings of your agents even after they have put their headphones down. It gives the agent a sense of ownership outside work routines and makes him/her feel like a more integral part of the organization.
The Consistency Of Comfort
The importance of ergonomic workspace in a call center is underrated. Considering the amount of time that agents spend on their chairs, and in front of their desks, as compared to other employees, it cannot be taken for granted. Ensuring a sound working environment can be a quick win in your effort to increase agent longevity. A happy agent has the best chance of making your customers happy. And as existentially confusing of a topic as happiness is, good ergonomics is one of the easiest ways to keep your agents sitting pretty.