As an industry, contact centres have a reputation for being unable to retain our best staff. The churn in our industry has always been high. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Penny Hutton provides her 10 top tips to build loyalty amongst staff.
Staff retention is a reflection on the training and personal development that a contact centre offers. Advisors must be challenged to develop their skills and constantly improve, ensuring that they are not standing still, stagnating and ultimately left looking for new challenges.
It really is a two-way thing, and if successfully managed, can lead to advisors becoming real ambassadors for our brands.
If this can be achieved, it not only leads to an increased sense of importance, but also ensures that advisors are passionate about the service that they’re delivering.
This in turn leads to improved customer loyalty and with that, hopefully, increased revenue.
1. Keep motivated
Keep agents motivated and keep their confidence levels up. An unmotivated agent will not do the best job for the customer.
Maintaining and improving motivation and confidence can take the form of regular refresher courses for advisors. This ensures that they are on top of any changes but also provides a forum to discuss previous experiences and learn how to put them right in the future.
2. Day-to-day motivation
Away from the more formal training, ongoing and day-to-day motivation encourages and pushes advisors to achieve more. Even small things like employee-of-the-month schemes can have a big impact and ensure that advisors feel valued in their role.
3. Positive reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is vital. If advisors have direct involvement with the client, then this helps to boost morale and make them feel part of the bigger picture. With confidence high, advisors can really go about their job with vigour and passion and ensure that they are representing the brand they’re working for in the best light possible.
4. Tailored packages
The type of training and motivational packages that are offered must be tailored to individual advisors to address any potential skill gaps. The worst thing that a centre can do is offer a generic package across the business in an attempt to keep staff happy.
By offering a one-size-fits-all package across all advisors, you’re actually at risk of demoralising staff, as individual needs are not addressed and personal development plans are not appropriate. Train advisors in smaller teams that are at the same stages of career progression and ensure that there’s the opportunity to really offer a tailored development programme.
5. Staying at the cutting edge
Now more than ever, an agent needs training in line with the increasingly diversified skills needed for the role, e.g. live chat forums and social media platforms. It is vital that a centre supports this and remains at the cutting edge so that the advisors feel that they are at the best possible place to work.
6. Long-term personal development
Additionally, as a centre, we try to help with long-term personal development and try to assist wherever this is possible – whether that is learning a new language or taking a qualification such as an NVQ.
7. The right technology
Having the right technology not only benefits the customer, it also has a huge impact on the confidence of staff. If a centre is not up to date with the latest technology, staff will be more inclined to seek pastures new as their job and role could be made easier elsewhere.
Good technology allows advisors easy access to product and customer information and ensures it is readily available for all customer calls, meaning that the brand experience will ultimately be the benefactor.
8. Informal management
A more informal management process, to supplement the formal line manager and appraisal process, is a good way of ensuring that staff stay content, motivated and enjoy coming into their place of work.
9. Buddy up
Having a ‘buddy’ is a good way to develop and coach staff across various levels. It allows the opportunity to speak outside the appraisal process about any issues and ensures that an agent feels valued and listened to. Ultimately, creating a comfortable and positive working environment, showing support and understanding where needed, leads to a happier workforce and longer staff retention.
10. Career development
One of the biggest issues when it comes to the loyalty of an advisor is career development. As with any industry, advisors want to see that the centre they work in is the best place for them and that they can really develop and forge a successful career from their place of work.
A centre must plan for this and ensure that there is a specific formal learning environment available for future team leaders, future managers and future trainers. This helps to show that there is real career development opportunity available.
Penny Hutton is Strategy and Planning Director at Eclipse Marketing
Do you have any other tips on how to build loyalty among staff? Please leave them
I agree that Career development is one of the best ways to motivate staff and increase their loyalty. Once an agent has demonstrated her or his ability to deal with client’s customers we try to allocate them as account manager. It increases the satisfaction of agents and clients. Agents feel important inside the enterprise and their opinions and “feelings” are highly valuates. So it is a win-win solution for all parts.
Staff are loyal when they feel empowered and recognised. Providing the right training is part of that process as it gives them the confidence they need to maximise job satisfaction.