Call centers are inherently seen as cost centers – cost of a lead, cost of conversion, cost of workforce, etc. As a result, BPO is a highly competitive sector with its own share of challenges (also read: Solving the Most Common Operational Call Center Problems)
Agents are the foundation of a call center. And maintaining high agent productivity is imperative for the success of a call centre. Managers are constantly looking for ways to improve agent productivity. Hence, we have tried to put together a list of effective strategies to help the call center managers to improve their agents’ productivity.
1. Give Them Autonomy
Call center operations tend to be quite structured with processes being set and not too much room for change. The work can seem monotonous for the agents and can impact their zeal to work along with agent motivation. Giving your agents some degree of autonomy will help them feel part of the customer service success and can also help them connect better with the customers. Allowing them to experiment with their sales pitch or tweaking the email templates or basically giving them the leevay to change and experiment can have a significant positive impact on their productivity.
2. Self-Service Options
Call center agents are busy people. With so many tasks and queries to handle, the work can sometimes get to them. Having self-service options for routine queries will take some work off the agents’ plate while resolving the customer’s query faster. For example, if a customer wants to know their bank account balance, rather than connecting them to an agent, it is better to have a self-service IVR. This will free up the agents to handle more urgent and complex query.
3. Recognize and Reward Good Performance
Appreciation goes a long way. An employee who feels recognized and well appreciated will be motivated to go out of their way to help the organization. In contrast, an employee who is only dumped with more and more work without any acknowledgement will start to resent it and eventually lose the motivation.
There are too many metrics to be tracked in a call center. Reward the agents for achieving their short term goals (conversation quality, FCR, customer feedback, etc.) and not just the long-term goals (conversion rate, CSAT, etc). With these instant gratifications, agents feel their goals are achievable and thus, increases their morale to work towards the bigger picture aka the long-term goals.
4. Let Agents See Their Performance
Probably it’s time to move away from the conventional call centre KPI and adopt some new ones. Having said that, knowing where they stand with respect to their own performance and those of their colleagues pushes the agents to improve their performance. Wallboard can be a useful tool to achieve this objective. It displays key metrics in real-time to give you an idea about the overall as well as individual agent performance. Having this scoreboard on the floor with provide an additional reinforcement.
5. Right Tools and Technology
To be a truly agent friendly contact center you need to empower them with the right tools. After all, on an average, an agent spends around 80 to 90 percent of their workday in front of a computer or using the calling tools – softphone or a PBX hardphone. Having the right call center software can transform your customer support while making the lives of your agents easier.
Get all your customer interactions on a single screen using a unified agent desktop to give agents a 360-degree view of the customer. According to a study, 87% of respondents requiring their agents to use multiple applications within a call slows down their work. A good way to tackle this issue can be using call center integrations to sync with any pre-existing system and make the operations smoother.
6. Work on their Career Growth
Provide the agents with the necessary training and coaching to hone their existing skills but at the same time offer opportunities to widen their horizon to learn about other aspects as well. Having an L & D program which allows the agents to self-evaluate while figuring out future career growth can be a step in that direction.
7. Community Forums
Sometimes the agents encounter a rather difficult or tricky case and they might not know the answer to such questions. Rather than struggling with it and spoiling the customer experience, having a knowledge base or an internal forum to access the right documents or used cases will help the agents to enrich their knowledge. The seasoned employees can share their experiences their to help the new incumbents. Similarly, compiling a list of frequently asked questions will help the agents to quickly get the right information to resolve the customer query.