Call Center Management Feature Article
February 08, 2012
Ease Call Center Management Duties - Hire the Right People
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
To describe the typical day in the professional life of someone in call center management as challenging is likely an undersell. We’re talking about an environment of mixed emotions, frustrated customers, frustrated agents, fluctuating call volumes and pressure to meet budgetary, time and performance initiatives.
The volatility of this environment can often generate a higher-than-desired turnover among agents and even call center management. In fact, call centers often experience turnover rates of 30 percent or more. Each time someone leaves, a new person must be recruited, hired, trained and implemented into the environment, driving up costs and impacting customer care.
To improve overall performance, it’s critical that call center management place a high priority on reducing turnover. A recent Monet Software blog explored the concept, stressing the importance of measuring turnover before trying to identify root causes. Once your measurement tools are in place, identify and track your root causes and then you’ll be in an ideal position to improve working conditions.
The first element to consider is the hiring of the right people. It’s critical that call center management understand the challenges that exist within customer care and with call center work. Those hired to fill open positions must be able to handle the challenges of the position – it does take the right personality.
It’s also critical that any agent hired for that environment can also engage and become a part of the team. That requires listening, encouraging action, and inviting them to make suggestions and improvements.
Flexibility in the creation of the work schedule is a great way to motivate the agent base. When employees feel like their company cares about their attempts to balance life and work, loyalty to the company increases. Workforce management tools can be used to create an accurate forecast and optimal scheduling to meet anticipated call volumes, while also accounting for agent requests.
We often talk about adherence and its importance in scheduling, but it’s also an important tool in motivation. When some agents fail to adhere to the schedule, all agents are affected. If call center management allows out-of-adherence, it sends the message to the team that schedules don’t matter. The result is poor morale in an environment experiencing overstaffing and understaffing, as well as poor customer care.
Most potential employees don’t want to have to look for work again in just a few days, so they want to know that their choice of company fits with their personality and their concept of career. Call center management should make it a focus to create a positive work environment that rewards quality performance and sets expectations for all employees so everyone will work together toward a common goal.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Chris DiMarco