As recent studies have shown, the call center industry is alive and thriving. There have been well over 32,000 new positions in this industry in the past year, with plenty of expansions for some offices. With that being said, it is imperative that call centers operate to the best of their abilities in terms of customer satisfaction and performance. But, the question of how call centers will do this then arises. Here are the best practices we have come up with, that will be ebenical for call centers to function to the best of their abilities.
List of the best Call Center Practices
- Evaluating Agents During the Interview Process- The heart of all call centers are the agents that are hired. These agents will be on the front lines of each call center, interacting with all customers that make calls or receive calls. Due to this, it’s important to hire talent that will shed a positive light on the company, motivate others, and drive performances that will lead to business growth. When having interviews with potential new hires, a structured interview process is the best method to do so. By allowing a group of candidates to apply together and work through a specific set of tasks, will give those in charge of hiring an opportunity to select the best performers in a set group. By taking the best of the best, training will further aid the agent’s skills and worth ethic.
- Leveraging Call Monitoring and Scoring- After interviewing agents and finishing the selection process, managers will know how to best facilitate each hire moving forward. Quality monitoring software and speech analytics will automatically monitor and then score each agent and their calls, which will deliver feedback for each employee.
- Effectively Communicated with the Agents- In addition to the scoring tasks listed above, supervisors also need to schedule a time for coaching sessions and training with agents. There are many advantages to doing so. Managers will not only get to share their ideas for agent performance and improvement, but agents will also get to speak with their managers about what they would like changed or improved. The best way to do this is to sit down and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their output. Not only can managers focus on agent improvements, but agents can also communicate what would make their workloads easier. Both sides will result in improved business and customer satisfaction.
- Incorporating Customer Feedback into Performance Improvements- Not only should agents be the sole focus of feedback, but the business as a whole along with all staff working will benefit from feedback and improvements. Sometimes, the best resource a business has is feedback from customers. The only issue with this is that some customers don’t give feedback for their calls, and sometimes 1 in 26 customers will only complain about a poor experience, instead of praising the good ones. More than one out of ten customers will be unhappy with their services, and most feedback is negative. This does not entirely equate to agents’ services or the business as a whole but should be taken into the smallest of considerations. As long as managers know that the key takeaway from feedback is to reduce customer churn, and to make needed changes, then this will be beneficial to take into account.
- Focusing on the Metrics that Matter Most- By keeping track of all incoming data and KPIs will be the best way of maintaining a high level of performance throughout a call center. However, not all metrics need to be focused on, and managers need to be careful which ones they look at. Metrics that should be prioritized are call resolution, average handle time, agent schedule adherence, call abandonment, average hold time, and service levels. These are the best metrics to take and improve on for most businesses.
- Avoiding Negative Language- Most call centers will use a script to base calls on, which give agents the framework they need to carry out services. Additionally, training agents to avoid some phrases and negative words will help the overall mood of each call.
- Training Your Agents Effectively- Effective training is one of the most obvious call center practices for success. It’s an area that many centers need to improve on, but usually don’t spend too much time dealing with. Training agents to perform in a way that your business is seeking is imperative. Call center training will last for about six week, where agents can learn how to take calls and deal with customers. This type of training shouldnt be viewed as a one and done, and managers need to keep training agents for improvements throughout their whole work careers. Regular coaching sessions need to be incorporated into the monthly routine, so that all agents can keep improving and get constant feedback from upper management.
- Vary Training for Retention- In addition to constant agent training, practice calls, classroom style learning, and computer-based quizzes are also good tools to ask employees to complete. By switching up the types of training that are offered to employees, agents will be able to look forward to hearing their feedback from the multiple tests that are offered.
- Outlining and Sharing a Career Progression Path- All employees, no matter the company, want to see their career path improve and flourish with the company they are working for. Your agents will feel the same way, and outlining a clear progression within the call center might improve their efforts on the floor. If you show how high-performing agents can progress and all the opportunities they will get, might lead to increased agent productivity.
- Creating a Productive Physical Environment- Boosting productivity by allowing a more comfortable environment for agents is a widely recognized benefit in any office or call center. By adding in couches, standing desks, natural lighting, art work, and warm colors, your agents might feel better about their work environments. This, in turn, might increase efficiency and productivity.
- Empowering Your Agents- If agents are overworked or cut down, their motivation levels will suffer. By letting your agents take on the role of decision making, your call center will then foster a sense of ownership in the workplace. This way, when giving agents feedback, you can ask them how their performance levels will be improved and what they can do to boost their own productivity. This will give them the freedom to create their own solutions and will show them that you are valuing their opinions.
Bringing All These Steps Into Your Call Center
Managers, and even agents, need to continuously work to improve customer satisfaction, productivity and sales. At the end of the day, there is no right or way to go about this, and each center will need to determine which approaches work best. The tips listed above are only a few ways that managers can go about improving agents’ work, but there may be countless others out there that will work as well. As long as call centers keep improving their practices and urging agents to enhance their efforts, your business will still make moves towards its peak success.