Keep Agents Engaged with Well-Timed and Specific Praise
Call center management personnel have a lot of duties today, both small and large, but at the core of their responsibilities is creating a high-functioning team that is inspired, engaged and absolutely focused on creating the best possible experience for customers. Depending on your industry, your customers, your products and services and your company culture, there will be a lot of ways to do this. Most experts agree, however, that customer engagement starts from inside the contact center, usually with managers, and moves outwards. In a way, it’s fair to say that customer engagement begins with employee engagement.
Keeping employees from becoming overworked, burned out and disengaged is a must if agents are going to hand customers the “wow” factor that keeps then loyal. There are many ways to do this, including using effective workforce management and scheduling solutions, training agents properly and making sure they have the right tools and information to do their jobs. But there is ample evidence that managements’ attitude is what makes or breaks good contact center agents, according to a recent article by Shaun Belding writing for Customer Think. Specifically, managers should champion the specific accomplishments of contact center agents to let them know their work is valuable.
“While people appreciate knowing that you think they’re awesome, it has far greater meaning when they know your words have substance,” wrote Belding. “This means making sure that your praise is not general, but instead tied to specific actions or outcomes.”
While your call center managers’ hearts might be in the right place when they tell their entire workforce that it’s great, overwhelming and undeserved praise eventually loses its value as a tool. Even for specific employees, keep your praise focused. Informing the contact center that an agent is “great with callers” is good, but offering a specific example of what that agent did for a customer resonates better.
It’s also a great idea for managers to forego glory for themselves and instead hand successes to the contact center team.
“When things go right, even when you were directly involved, give your team all of the credit,” wrote Belding. “They will appreciate it and you don’t really need it. As part of this, resist the temptation to imply that the reason the team is awesome is because you, of course, are its leader. It’s unnecessary, and every time you do this you will actually lose the very credibility you are hoping to achieve.”
As a manager, always having your team’s backs is a great way to help them feel valued, and it makes them more able to approach you with small problems before they become large problems. Work teams are like a family, so encourage a (positive) family-like atmosphere in the contact center.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi