Martyn King looks at the 10 things all contact centres should be doing to ensure success.
1. Create a comfortable and safe environment
Contact centre managers should ensure that they create a light, comfortable, fair and safe operating environment for their staff.
In terms of the physical environment, this can mean maximising light and space, and giving agents the right equipment and workspace.
Managers should connect with all staff, learning their names and making an effort to value and understand their thoughts and concerns.
2. Never underestimate the importance of communication
One of the most important factors which can directly affect contact centre success and performance is communication.
Hold daily meetings to keep all stuff up to date with campaigns and initiatives, and force colleagues to engage with each other by organising activities inside and outside the working environment.
How often are staff asked about what they feel is going well and what could be improved? Conduct surveys asking agents direct questions so that they can communicate their suggestions to contact centre decision makers.
3. Implement a break system for your agents
Believe it or not, the human brain is not designed for the kind of extended repetitive focus demanded in today’s contact centre.
Taking short breaks, especially those involving physical activity like stretching or going for a walk, is scientifically proven to increase productivity.
Implement a break system for your agents, and don’t restrict their movement when they do have their breaks to ensure they don’t feel tied down or irritated.
4. Make sure agents have a clear understanding of their objectives
Are your agents fully aware of what their objectives are? Putting them on the spot and asking them will probably reveal that not all of them are.
The first step to agent productivity is ensuring each agent has a clear understanding of what they are expected to produce.
Agent training should incorporate discussions about what defines a ‘good job’, and whenever objectives change, this should me made clear in update meetings.
5. Let your agents choose their own rewards
Simply providing a safe environment and a pay cheque at the end of the month can only motivate your agents so far.
Ask your agents what they would like to receive as a reward for good performance and you will see motivation increase significantly.
It’s also important to set personalised goals with the help of the staff themselves to maximise motivation.
6. Be honest and open in everything you do
Take a no-nonsense approach to contact centre management, and instil the same attitude in your agents.
This means not making promises you can’t keep and being honest and open in everything you do. If agents mimic this behaviour they won’t make false promises, and won’t say ‘yes’ for fear of saying ‘no’ to customers on the phone.
7. Regularly share agent success
When agents do perform well, this should be recognised by everyone.
Hold weekly or monthly meetings where good performance is recognised, so that all staff are motivated to receive the same recognition.
8. Ask management to assess their own calls
Ask management staff to conduct calls themselves, then have these played back and assessed in groups.
A manager who can assess their own strengths and weaknesses when doing the same task as their staff will receive much more respect.
This will also make agents more engaged with assessing their own calls.
9. Use customer data to personalise each interaction
With the advent of unified communications and other great technologies, there are now a number of excellent ways to enhance service.
Having historic caller information appear on agents’ desktops can really help agents to personalise each call and improve customer satisfaction.
10. Ask agents what your customers do and don’t like
Agent experience is extremely valuable, and every contact centre should be using the judgements of their agents to make real changes.
Ask your agents what customers do and don’t like to form a list of things to remove or promote in your organisation.
A logical approach like this can really help to improve your contact centre.
With thanks to Martyn King at Nexbridge