58 Ways to Change Your Contact Centre


Here are some great ideas for driving positive change in your contact centre.

Engagement and agent retention

1. Agents work harder if you let them set their own goals

Let agents set their own goals.

This motivates them to work harder in achieving those goals.

With thanks to Robert

2. Promote from within to retain your best performers

If agents have no room to grow and nothing to aspire to, their desire to excel and work hard will deteriorate.

Promoting from within will help you retain excellent performers and show agents you appreciate and respect their expertise.

Also, set up career development plans to help agents acquire the skills they need to be ready for a promotion. Identifying skill set deficiencies and performance improvement opportunities are also good motivators.

With thanks to Michael

3. Establish a separate escalation group

Don’t have team leaders and supervisors take escalated calls and emails.

It reduces the time they can coach and manage their team.

Instead, establish a separate escalation group.

With thanks to Michael

4. Listen to your agents’ thoughts and action them

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Really pay attention to your agents. Listen to what they say and let them know what you are going to do as a direct result of their input… then do it!

Agents will be much more engaged and happy if they know they are listened to and valued enough for changes to be made based on their advice.

With thanks to Marius

5. Hold cross-functional focus groups with different levels of staff

Hold regular cross-functional focus groups with different levels of staff and take minutes – being sure to go back to the query originator.

With thanks to Harj

6. Engage your teams when setting your company vision

Don’t just tell your teams what the vision or goal is. Engage them in the vision setting. This will give them accountability.

A simple session of getting the team together and directing their focus will bring up all sorts of ideas, thoughts, taglines and projects that may change your contact centre.

With thanks to Nish

7. Make sure all levels of staff feel appreciated and understand their potential

Agents on the front line are just as important as the management team.

If this is recognised and there is a regular presence from senior-level staff within the contact centre, this will boost morale and keep advisors motivated in the daily role.

It should also help to boost their aspirations in the workplace.

With thanks to Christopher

8. Give your agents the chance to shadow roles they aspire to do someday

Start an internal internship programme where employees can shadow those in jobs they aspire to do someday.

This should help improve retention rates, as agents will understand how they can progress in the company.

With thanks to Mike

9. Flexible scheduling can help improve staff turnover

We offer flexible scheduling.

This has helped us to control our staff turnover rates.

With thanks to Robert

10. Make incentive schemes as transparent as possible

Make sure there is transparency for the agents regarding incentive programmes.

Happy agents = happy customers.

With thanks to Kelvin

11. Ask your agents for their opinion when making any changes

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Bring your agents into decisions/projects to get their insights and buy-in.

This way, when the implementation occurs, you will have built-in support.

With thanks to Michael

12. Give your agents responsibility so they don’t feel disposable

Give staff responsibility to feel they are working for a purpose.

Customer satisfaction is the priority, but if a staff member feels replaceable this will show within their work quality.

Give staff a reason within the company to boost morale and overall quality.

With thanks to Briony

Improving the customer experience

13. Weekly feedback sessions help identify customer trends

I have started to run team feedback sessions each week, so that the team can feedback trends they are finding and any process changes they feel would help.

With thanks to Kate

14. Your targets need to drive positive behaviour

Think about how you target your agents.

Targets can breed negative and positive performance. Your targets need to drive positive customer service.

With thanks to Kate

15. Regularly review what you could be doing better

Each month we track the customer that contacted us the most across all contact channels.

We review all the contacts to understand if we could have offered better help on the call/email/chat, or if the website needs updating to better support the customer.

This helps us make sure we offer great service to our customers and learn how best to support them.

With thanks to Kate

16. Know who is calling and make it personal

Know your customers.

Make the customer experience as personal as it can get. Know who is calling, maybe even what time they are calling, and gather personal details about customers from Facebook/ LinkedIn, etc.

With thanks to Hugh

17. People respond to people

Speak to customers as people, not as an automated process or scripted robots.

People respond to people!

With thanks to Christopher

18. Ask your agents to gather actionable customer feedback

Ask your team to be responsible for great service by gathering ‘snippets’ of customer feedback to work on.

They are the people closest to the customers.

With thanks to Victoria

19. Throw the scripts away and encourage agents to listen to your customers

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If it’s not regulatory compliance, throw the scripts away and let your agents listen to the customer’s needs and find the relevant answers.

With thanks to Dan

20. Focus on agent morale for a better customer experience

Your staff are as important as customers within any business.

Morale and growth of in-house staff works hand in hand with their handling of customers.

If both have the same amount of time invested into them, this will help to drive your business forward.

With thanks to Christopher

21. Make changes to your website based on real-time customer issues

Ask your website team to sit in the contact centre and respond real-time to what agents observe customers are struggling with.

With thanks to Peter

22. You will learn the most from negative feedback

When we collect NPS scores and feedback, we contact customers that were unhappy as their feedback is the most useful in order for us to improve the service we offer.

With thanks to Kate

23. Forget AHT and focus on First Contact Resolution instead

Focus on First Contact Resolution instead of Average Handling Time.

With thanks to Dan

24. Make sure your agents understand their role in customer retention

Your customer has a choice and they have chosen you.

Make sure your agents understand the important role they play in customer retention and the impact to the business.

The customer should always remain the boss. Don’t let the wrong metrics lead you astray.

With thanks to Harj

25. Continually review your quality and standards to make sure they are relevant

Continually review your quality criteria and phone standards to ensure that they are relevant to your current business and customer needs and wants.

With thanks to Mike

26. Empower agents to resolve their own issues

Empower your agents to resolve their own issues.

This should help improve your First Contact Resolution (FCR) rates.

With thanks to Briony

27. Speech analytics can help you identify evolving trends and issues

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Use speech analytics to quickly identify any new and evolving trends or issues within the call centre.

This should help you focus quickly on addressing areas of dissatisfaction.

With thanks to Mike

28. Improve your IVR with ‘test and learn’ experiments

A good way to improve your IVR is to run many ‘test and learn’ experiments with different vocabulary.

With thanks to Peter

29. Understand your customers’ needs before investing in new technology

Know your customers and their requirements before you invest in new technology.

Without this knowledge, you could end up cutting out your customers’ preferred route in the naive belief that they will do what you want them to.

With thanks to Karen

30. Don’t add new technology for the sake of it

We should all add new technology to enhance what is already there.

Don’t just add it for the sake of it.

With thanks to Christopher

31. Metrics should reflect what the customer needs

Make sure that your metrics measure what the customer needs and wants – not what the management team and budget allows.

With thanks to Mike

Agent motivation and morale

32. Create a social committee to organise regular fun events

We have a social committee who are responsible for organising all things fun in our contact centre.

With thanks to Steve

33. Give your agents some responsibility

Give your customer service agents some responsibility by allowing them to give out compensation and discounts without escalating or transferring a call.

With thanks to Hugh

34. Share positive agent feedback with the board

Make sure positive feedback is passed on to the board as well as the agent.

It really makes people feel good that someone noticed what they did.

With thanks to Kate

35. Foster a culture of constructive feedback to influence change

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Foster a culture of open and constructive feedback – not just on individual or team performance.

Show transparently what happens with that feedback and the power it has to influence and change.

With thanks to Jenny

36. Don’t underestimate the power of recognition

Don’t underestimate the power of recognition for positive performance.

Lead and inspire rather than using examples of how not to.

With thanks to Nadia

37. Start team meetings with a 1-minute dance party

It can be difficult to get your agents excited about their daily briefing, especially if they are recovering from a particularly hard shift on the phones.

You could try livening things up with a ‘1-minute dance party’.

Once all of your agents are gathered in the meeting room, blast a feel-good track from your smartphone and encourage everyone to “bust some moves”. Or, even better, let your agents take turns in choosing their favourite song – day-by-day or week-by-week.

The movement and inevitable laughter should wake everyone up and help them absorb the important updates that follow.

(Songs like The Macarena and The Ketchup Song – with easy-to-follow dance moves – can help break your agents into the idea.)

With thanks to Megan

38. An open-door policy can help problems be resolved sooner rather than later

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Have an open-door policy.

A problem shared is a problem halved. This should help to keep staff happy on a daily basis.

With thanks to Linda

39. Put the right people in the right places

Put the right people in the right places to help keep them engaged.

With thanks to Mike

40. Walk the floor and give out spot awards

While walking around the floor (as all good contact centre managers do frequently), give out spot awards when you hear a good agent/customer interaction.

The prizes don’t have to cost a lot of money.

With thanks to Michael

Coaching and training techniques

41. Agent buy-in will make coaching more effective

Get buy-in to your quality assurance programme and focus more on the positive rather than the negative.

Once the agents understand you are there to help rather than beat them down, the coaching actually starts to work.

With thanks to Mike

42. Agents should all gain experience of the back-office functions

Give your agents the opportunity to experience the job of a supporting/back-office function, and vice versa.

Foster empathy and understanding between co-dependent departments by giving staff an awareness of the challenges their colleagues face.

With thanks to Jenny

43. Set team goals to make sure everyone is working together

Set team goals to drive collective responsibility and ensure everyone works together.

With thanks to Lewis

44. Share best practice by asking agents to score each other’s calls

We have agent calibration sessions where they get to score each other’s calls.

This helps us to share best practice ideas across the floor.

With thanks to Mike

45. Ask the QA team to share examples of good phrasing with your agents

Our quality assurance team capture examples of good phrasing that they hear while monitoring.

They then share this insight with our agents.

This is especially beneficial in sales.

With thanks to Michael

46. Ask agents to help trouble-shoot in different departments

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Ask your agents to help trouble-shoot in different departments.

They can help to identify innovative solutions that wouldn’t have necessarily occurred to the staff doing that job day in, day out.

With thanks to Jenny

47. Make sure all of your team leaders are delivering the same message

Invest in your team leaders’ training, coaching strategies and management skills.

Also, make sure there is consistency across teams.

Agents talk! If your team leaders are not on the same page, your agents will pick up on those differences.

With thanks to Melinda

48. Ask for input from your agents to enhance the end-user relationship

Account managers should ask for input directly from contact centre agents to ensure products and services are sold and delivered in the best way to customers.

After all, they have the closest relationship with the end user.

With thanks to John

49. Keep agents well informed to make sure customers get the right information

Knowledge amongst agents is vital to ensure they understand what they are advising customers – and in turn give a quick and accurate response.

With thanks to Christopher

50. Use your best and worst call examples in all new-hire training exercises

Collect recordings and emails of great and not great customer sessions – and use them in new-hire training.

With thanks to Michael

51. Ask for agent input when creating customer support documentation

Always ask your agents for their input when creating your customer support documentation.

With thanks to Kelvin

52. An in-house talent programme will help agents progress

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We have an in-house ‘Talent Management Programme’ which gives our agents the opportunity to progress.

With thanks to Christopher

53. Seat your average agents next to your best performers

Seat your average agents next to your very good agents so they can learn by observing/listening.

With thanks to Michael

54. Give agents access to historical information to help personalise calls

Use your customer data to enhance service.

Having historic caller information appear on your agents’ desktops can really help them to personalise each call and improve customer satisfaction.

With thanks to Michael

55. A learning programme will help build job-related knowledge

Introduce a learning and development programme to build both job-related knowledge as well as develop real-life knowledge.

With thanks to Mike

56. Ask agents to judge their own calls

Let agents listen to their own calls and feedback to you on what they could have done differently.

With thanks to Jackie

57. Set aside regular time for upskilling and improving individual performance

Agents should have at least 1 hour per month to pursue up-training, special project work, or shadowing a top-performing agent – something to improve their performance or understanding of the business.

With thanks to Michael

58. Allocate time for agents to shadow the management team

Offer contact centre agents the opportunity to shadow their managers and senior-level staff – to give them a greater understanding of the business structure.

With thanks to Christopher

What have you done to improve your contact centre? Have you tried any of the above?


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