Are you looking to improve the contact centre? Here’s a selection of top tips for contact centre managers.
1. Define what a “good job looks like”
If you want to coach and manage your call centre team leaders to deliver ever increasing performance, then take time out to define what ‘good’ looks like to you!
Does ‘good’ look like every call answered in X seconds, or does ‘good’ look like no more than X complaints per call handler? If you don’t tell your staff, they won’t know what they should be working towards.
2. Model the right behaviours
There is nothing worse than being told in an roundabout way “Do as I say and not as I do.” This is the cardinal sin of many managers! If you want your staff to behave in a certain way, then the senior management team need to model the behaviours and the performance characteristics that they are asking of their people. There is no greater turn-off for staff than being told to deliver something by a manager who they do not see delivering themselves.
3. 10 at 10
Communication is critical to the success of a business, so how many times do you hear a staff member saying “I was never told that…?” How, in a large, densely populated call centre environment, do senior managers ensure that they communicate effectively with their team leaders?
Firstly, they need to have access to a wide number of communication strategies that are embedded within the culture of the organisation. It could be as simple as 10 at 10, which is a management-style daily comms meet where each manager is present and 10 at 10 is the time to communicate the key messages of the day. It could be as simple as using technology to deliver key messages to team leaders, with a mechanism for managing and ensuring that these are read, understood and acted upon.
4. End-of-day sessions
Another great way of communicating (especially when special campaigns/incentives are running) is to hold a 15-minute end-of-day discussion that all managers join in person or via tele-conference to discuss the successes and failures of the day and use the combined weight of experience to help those who are delivering results below the norm.
Worksmart supplies people centric risk and compliance software (www.worksmart.co.uk)
5. Entice your market’s top talent
If you hope to be the employer of choice in your particular sector then you must be serious about wanting to make talent a key influencer in your company. Try and involve large numbers of stakeholders in recruitment. This does not mean horrific interview panels of 15 or more staff each asking two questions. It means informal consultation; sitting a potential recruit in the work area of the team where they will join for an informal Q&A session for 15 minutes.
Kevin Young, General Manager EMEA, SkillSoft (www.skillsoft.com)
6. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes
When you deal with lots of the same query it’s easy to forget that, for your customer, this may be the first time it’s happened to them! Think how you would like to be spoken to and treat the query like it is important!
7. Mind your P’s and Q’s!
“Please” and “Thank you” go a long way to help build rapport or placate a feisty customer!
8. Don’t rush!
If there are calls in the queue, an agent can feel pressurised to get through a conversation as quickly as possible, leaving the customer feeling undervalued and the agent frazzled! I always tell my agents that it’s not their job to worry about calls queuing – it’s mine! An agent can only take one call at a time. It’s up to the managers to find a short-term or long-term solution if you’re unexpectedly busy.
9. Follow through on your promises
If you’ve said you’ll get a problem sorted for a customer – get it sorted! Empty promises only serve to infuriate them further.
10. Don’t say yes because you’re scared to say no
Sometimes you have to give a customer a “no”. There’s no point saying you can do something when you can’t. As long as you follow the “no” with what you can do to help them, things will work out better than if you lied!
11. Arm your agents!
Making sure your agents are given all the necessary tools to do their job is essential, with regular training updates and access to the appropriate knowledge at their fingertips.
12. You get back what you give out
If you’re getting angry or frustrated with a situation you will pass this on to the team, and things will quickly go from bad to worse.
If you find you are getting a lot of ‘nightmare calls’ one day, question how you feel before you blame anyone.
13. Take a break
What mood are you in? Do you need to take a break? If you are feeling upbeat, this will feed in to your tone and language. It is a manager’s and an agent’s combined responsibility to make sure an agent is happy in their work.
14. Never underestimate agent feedback
The best people to take the temperature of a campaign are the people on the front line. If they are noticing trends in the queries they are getting, their input can be valuable in process changes, which, in the long term, will improve the customer journey.
15. A positive welcome and a warm goodbye
It’s true that when you go and see a show it’s the opening number and the finale that you always remember. Of course the middle bit has to be good, too, but if you make a customer feel immediately welcome and end the call with a warm close, such as “have a good day”, it helps to create a super-positive impression.
Gemma Layton, Account Manager, RSVP (www.rsvp.co.uk)