How to Address Top Call Center Challenges
If you’re involved in managing, funding, working in, or advising a call center, you know the big challenges the people and organizations in these environments face. That list includes absenteeism and attrition, keeping agents engaged, meeting metrics such as first call resolution, scaling, and improving performance.
The first two items on this long list may be the most costly and difficult challenges.
Indeed, absenteeism costs call centers an estimated $3,600 for every hourly employee. Plus, it often adversely affects customer service and it’s no good for agent morale.
Attrition, meanwhile, is uniquely high in call center environments. The reasons why are clear. Working as a call center agent is a tough job. You have to deal with cranky callers, and the work tends to involve a lot of sitting and repetition. Add to that the fact that the pay isn’t great and a good job often goes unrewarded and unrecognized, and you have a recipe for disaster.
The good news is there are steps you can take in an effort to improve these situations. To better address absenteeism, identify when people are missing work and whether there’s a pattern there. And then create a policy and set schedules to avoid it going forward – and be sure to share this information with your staff in a format that makes it easiest for them to remember and understand. By being clear about your absence policy and when people are expected to work, you’ll go a long way toward avoiding absenteeism.
Being more selective during the hiring process should also help you lessen absenteeism and attrition at your call center organization. Providing competitive pay; rewarding people for great work; and offering access to and training on needed solutions like call analytics and recording, CTI (News - Alert), IVR, and multichannel and omnichannel solutions is also important.
Creating a call center environment that makes agents want to show up at work is also important. You can do that by using automation to eliminate tedious tasks (and, in the process, increase productivity). And you can provide agents with a feeling of greater autonomy by letting them go off script when it makes sense. Also, always remember to recognize a job well done through praise and, when possible, financial and other material rewards. Gamification can sometimes help with engagement as well.
Edited by Mandi Nowitz