This article originally appeared in the July 2011 issue of Customer Interaction Solutions
Customers want their problems resolved efficiently and without the hassle of being transferred – or worse, having to call back. Executives expect call center managers to figure out a way to have agents improve their First Contact Resolution rate, but without losing any recent efficiency gains.
When everybody wants more, your call center needs to deliver. And this means that call center managers need to ensure they are continually engaging in healthy habits that keep agents’ performance delivering quality service as efficiently as possible.
Here are 8 healthy habits to help ensure your call center is highly effective:
1. Train agents to be well-versed in your products, policies, procedures, services, etc. Agents are the face of your brand. In order to do their jobs well and perform at a superior level, they need knowledge to handle calls and do so with efficiency. This competency is rendered when agents have the right skills that come with training.
2. Provide targeted coaching. Quick agent-supervisor chats can be worked into the day to review issues that arise during a call. Letting agents have the opportunity to review issues with their supervisor helps to clear up confusing issues immediately and prevents mistakes from reoccurring.
3. Give agents access to information they need to succeed. Agents won’t, and shouldn’t, always have to remember all of the information they need to perform well. It’s much more realistic to provide access to the blogs, forums, knowledge base or your internal systems that help promote informal learning.
4. Deploy important, must-read communications at the right time. Sometimes an urgent message has to hit the floor fast. Get the word out without disrupting calls. And, be strategic about it. Send it out in waves, and be sure to alert the agent that an urgent communication is ready for their review, in between customer interactions.
5. Motivate agents to perform at superior levels. Let them know that great customer service matters just as much as efficient call handling and they will be rewarded for hitting all of their targets. Also provide incentives for timely completion of training or coaching courses, as these activities enable agents to accomplish the performance you’re requesting from them.
6. Allow time for agents to complete administrative tasks, paperwork or call follow-up. Give them a ten minute slot in between customer calls to complete the tasks necessary for fulfilling the customer request or completing follow up calls. When agents know that they have time to do this type of work, it removes the pressure of having to complete the work at other, less convenient times.
7. Use idle time to your advantage. Idle time is available and most often overlooked as usable time, simply because it’s so unpredictable. But idle time can be put to good use. When gathered and reassigned, it can be used to complete any of the activities mentioned in steps one through six.
8. Reduce shrinkage by rerouting the activities that you need to create the knowledgeable agent who delivers quality service with efficiency and deliver these activities during idle time.
When everyone wants more, you need to practice these healthy habits. It’s about the quality of the agent, the knowledge they possess and how to groom agents to be everything you want them to be. At one time, the demand to enhance the customer experience conflicted with the need to keep costs low. When using idle time to promote agent development, this is no longer the case.
Want Healthy Habits that Ensure Your At-home Agents are Highly Effective?
Sometimes it’s even harder to apply the same eight healthy habits for your agents who work from home. It’s important to find ways to keep your at home agents as connected as the agents who sit in the center. Don’t skimp on any of these steps for producing quality at-home agents and delivering the activities that keep agents effective without losing efficiency gains.
To learn more:
At-Home Agent Strategies for Success Workshop
Get the blueprint and learn the best practices for the at-home agent model.
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Visit: www.gohome.us.com for more information!
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Edited by Stefania Viscusi