Empowering Your Service Assets: The Contact Center Agents

Empower your agents to see increased productivity and help them serve customer better
We have all worked on countless reports during school and college; the purpose of which was to gauge our learning, our presentation skills, and our insight on the topic. I remember successful presentations because I spoke confidently and also handled audience questions and counterarguments with ease. The appreciation from my teacher at the end of the presentation was further proof that I had done well. However, in the unsuccessful ones I could sense the boredom on my classmates’ faces.
The point I am making here is that in a contact center scenario, you don’t need to “see” your audience, but you know who they are, scrutinizing your every pause, looking for counterarguments, and asking you a lot of questions. Inefficiency turns a customer into a skeptic but it takes confident agents to retain the skeptic customers. The way to do this is by not only ensuring the quality of your product but also by empowering your agents. Quality and service, after all, go hand in hand. Agents Are Your Voice to the Customer Many people emphasize that service is everything. Customers gauge the experience of your product not just by its effectiveness, but also the way they were treated by representatives. On a personal scale, one of the reasons why I am really happy with my DTH (direct-to-home TV) provider is because they implement maintenance activities quickly, and I get a call from an agent confirming the implementation of service, asking me about the experience, and if I was satisfied. It is follow-up service like this which ensured retention on my part and millions of customers in India for the DTH service. Empower Your Agents, They Are Your Assets Empowering starts by recognizing ones capabilities. Call center agents want to feel empowered and they thrive on performance recognition. When agents resolve customer complaints quickly and efficiently, and they are provided the tools to improve their performance, it is not hard to see the link between satisfied agents and quality customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. This is where the management skills of a supervisor come in. Is a supervisor able to service the needs of every agent under his/her purview? Is the supervisor ensuring the agents have a good time in office? Can the supervisor ensure a workplace where agents do not feel burnout by keeping a healthy work–life balance? Burnout should be avoided at all costs. It not only leads to attrition but also reduced productivity from the agent till they fully recover. This in turn adversely affects your customer service. Supervisors should therefore thread the line between “good cop” and “bad cop” regularly while managing agents. The difference between real motivation and intimidation determines how your agents will perform and their responsibility for the job at hand. Clue: Aim for motivation and leave intimidation to the police. Arm Your Assets with the Right Tools So now that you have motivated your agents, you have to ensure they have the right tools to service customers. Focus on developing agent skills, allow multichannel interactions, and train them on technical know-how. Technology tools enhance customer experience and also make the agent’s job easy. A simple feature like a popup window on the agent’s desktop with the customer’s entire relationship history will benefit the agent greatly. These tools will enhance the customer experience and lead to increased satisfaction. Just the way people have a favorite restaurant not just for the food but also the service, customers also remember agents who gave them the most value. They will want to interact with them in the future, and keep the relationship with the company going. This is not just a great way to retain customers, but also a good strategy for new customers.