A call center agent is a person whose responsibilities are handling incoming or outgoing customers calls for business. A call center agent must be able to handle customer complaints, account inquiries, or support issues. Handling customer calls could be a challenging task because the agents must handle various clients with different characters. Sometimes the job could be exhausting and too monotonous. Consequently, this makes the agents easily quit their job. It’s obvious that call center agent turnover rate has become challenging issue for the business.
In the previous article, we share some of the tips on how to make an effective call strategy, from a clear call process to hiring qualified agents. Making your hotline number front and center and using the right tools also become the essential steps in enhancing your call center effectivity. Those steps need to be elaborated more if you want to boost the productivity of your call center agents, making all the call handling perform better and become easier to digest by the customers.
On the surface, it seems like an easy task, but boosting call agent productivity actually can be an overwhelming task even for a professional. Thus, a call center manager must carry out some changes that will make a significant impact on how the call center agents engage with their work, address customer issues professionally and collaborate with co-workers effectively. These steps will guide you to boost call center agents productivity in the work field:
1. Give More Autonomy
A call center agent will be able to boost their productivity when they are given a certain degree of autonomy. By allowing a call center agent to give flexible response towards customers and resolve issues creatively, they might be able to strengthen their morale, productivity, and work engagement. Increase their participation by reviewing every work supplement that your company had. Ask them to be more active to speak what they had in mind. Because they always have to be ready on the field, ask them to see if some of the work flow needs to be changed or rewritten because it's dated or needs to be upgraded for a good reason. It was observed that someone would feel motivated and engaged with their work when they become a valuable member of the team. Involving and giving agents more autonomy in the company decision making will result in a more productive work of the agents.
2. Maximize Their Time with Something More Valuable
A survey conducted by Knowlagent showed an interesting fact that most of the call center manager might not know. It is the fact that call center agents are idle an average of 49 minutes per day. To improve productivity, the CEO of Knowlagent, Matt McConnell, recommends the manager to allocate unproductive idle time to set up “off-phone activities” which should be done in less than 3 minutes. The manager must be able to break down larger tasks into smaller tasks to help the agent tackle them one at a time. But that doesn't mean a call center agent could not have a break time in within every phone call. Allow them to take short breaks frequently. Even though their job is not demanding physically, but mentally they deal with a lot of tasks. No wonder a call center agent might suffer from some stress due to their job. It will result in a decreased productivity and even give an impact on their health. It is important to allow agents to take short breaks frequently when their stress level increases. By giving them this flexibility during their high responsibility, it will help them to cope with the stress and increase their productivity.
3. Provide Agents with Complete Information about the Caller
A call center agent performance is sometimes observed from how long it takes for the agent to find relevant information to help the caller or handle time. A call center software that is integrated with business tools or automatic Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) will provide comprehensive information about the caller, like tracking consumer’s interest, likeness, and location, thus significantly reduce handling time. For example by implementing the OnTrace System Application from KPSG that integrate various sources, from phone number to social media, a call center agent can track consumer's behavior history easily. If a call center agent is still overwhelmed by the work flow, the company might add an additional function to its service by providing Help Desk to record, control, and monitor some issues or services that require status of the customers. This feature will help the agents improve productivity as they do not have to search through multiple systems to resolve the customer’s issue.
4. Provide Rewards and Incentives
It is a common knowledge that people need recognition, including at work. Simple recognition for the achievement of certain goals by the agents can give an impact on employee productivity. By giving tangible offerings such as incentive, bonuses, etc., it will give bigger impact on employee performance. Last but not least, an employer could give coaching and training that are critical to build call center productivity over time.
When we talk about productivity, we talk about performance and credibility of a person who is in charge. Those steps above will help call center agents to improve their work for a better cause.