60 Tips for Terrific Performance


Our readers share their best tips for improving contact centre performance.

Coaching

1. Focus on the positives rather than the negatives

Instead of focusing on the negatives, I like to focus on the positives.

With thanks to Jennifer

2. Make more time for coaching

Free up time for more coaching by taking time away from activities that don’t add as much value.

With thanks to Alan

3. Positive reinforcement

More recognition, positive reinforcement and better coaching.

With thanks to Claire

4. Base your training around what your agents need

Base your training around what your agents need – don’t make assumptions.

With thanks to Anthony

5. Make more time for personal development

We set KPIs for our agents. We then encourage them to succeed by meeting ‘one to one’ and assisting them in growing and learning more.

The better their performance, the more opportunity they have to earn more money.

With thanks to Angela

6. Work alongside your agents to understand how they feel

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Work alongside your agents.

Listen, see, feel and hear – then act positively.

With thanks to Steve

7. Feedback should be balanced between positive and negative

Make sure that feedback is balanced between positive and negative.

You don’t want agents thinking ‘What have I done wrong now?’

With thanks to Chloe

8. Team leaders should have regular one-to-ones with their agents

Our team leaders are required to meet one-to-one with their agents 4 times a month.

With thanks to Angela

9. Move agents around to keep training interesting

We have 3 service points, so when it comes to training we sometimes get agents to go to the other service points.

This means there is a break from the norm and a different place to learn.

This can help stop things being dull and repetitive.

With thanks to Suzette

10. Select calls to use for benchmarking

We work together to listen to calls that can be used for benchmarking purposes.

With thanks to Lynn

11. Introduce a cross-training programme to get agents off the phones

I just started a cross-training programme where my agents spend a few hours a week meeting face-to-face with clients.

This seems to be help morale, as it gives them time off the phones.

With thanks to Anthony

12. Let agents control their one-to-one sessions and set their own goals

One-to-one sessions should be controlled by the agent.

They should set the agenda and have the opportunity to set their own goals.

With thanks to Chloe

Recognition

13. Recognise your agents’ hard work

We run a monthly recognition programme called ‘Star of the Month’.

With thanks to Russell

14. Run incentive schemes to improve performance

We run a variety of incentive schemes to help boost performance over the days and weeks.

With thanks to Lauren

15. Award spot prizes for outstanding contributions

We award spot prizes in recognition of outstanding contributions.

With thanks to Martin

16. Publicly acknowledge agent achievements

We find acknowledgement and praise is most effective is carried out in front of the whole team.

With thanks to Amanda

17. Promote recognition on wallboards

We promote recognition on our wallboards.

Staff love to have their names up on the wall!

With thanks to Adam

18. Allow agents to reward one another with trophies

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We have a couple of trophies which agents can give to their co-workers for a job well done.

Each time the trophy is accompanied by a brief note to say why it was awarded. It remains on their desk for a week.

With thanks to Mike

19. Create a ‘trophy store’ of prizes

I have a ‘trophy store’ of inexpensive rewards which I give out to agents to recognise their achievements.

With thanks to Jennifer

20. Daily huddles reflect on achievements as well as general updates

In our daily huddles, we recognise agent achievements and efforts, as well as share general information.

With thanks to Suzette

21. Give out trophies which can be displayed on your agents’ desks

Staff have trophies which they can win on a quarterly basis. We also have yearly awards.

Agents like to display their trophies on their desks.

With thanks to Adam

22. Agents can earn Kudos cards based on excellent service and attitude

We have a Kudos card programme. Agents can earn Kudos cards based on excellent service, call quality, attitude and going the extra mile.

The Kudos cards can be given based on customer feedback, or be awarded by a field representative or manager.

Because these are written from the leadership team, the agents take great pride in receiving them and displaying them in their workstations.

With thanks to Kristine

23. Remind people they’ve been rewarded with a calendar of past and present

Celebrating success is valid but memories are short and people can be fickle.

The trick is reminding people that they’ve been rewarded and celebrated!

We have a 12-month calendar on the wall that shows people what has happened and what’s coming with celebrations and rewards.

With thanks to Craig

24. You can’t go wrong with a ‘Wall of Fame’

We give out ‘Agent of the Month’ and ‘Agent of the Year’ awards – and celebrate these achievements on our ‘Wall of Fame’.

With thanks to Jennifer

25. Make your recognition programmes visible

We just developed a presentation that outlines all the rewards and incentive programmes we offer.

Our next step is to bring the agents through the full programme, so they understand the drivers behind the programmes. For example, service, quality, low effort and agent knowledge.

With thanks to Kristine

26. Host an annual awards ceremony and call it ‘The Oscars’

We have an annual awards ceremony at a local hotel.

The agents refer to it as ‘The Oscars’.

With thanks to Craig

27. Send your top agents on a 5-star holiday

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Our top agents get the chance to go on a 5-star holiday each year – paid for by the company.

This is a big incentive which all staff like.

With thanks to Adam

28. Update your Wall of Fame every 7 minutes

We also have a Wall of Fame and it works great. The team is watching it the entire day, and it is updated every 7 minutes.

As team leaders walk the floor, they have the ability to watch the Wall of Fame and praise the collectors as they pass them.

With thanks to Angela

Ideas and Empowerment

29. Ask agents for suggestions

Ask for the agents’ suggestions on what can be improved, and be sure to implement their ideas!

With thanks to Nadine

30. Empower agents to make decisions on the front line

We’ve empowered our agents to make their own decisions.

With thanks to Alan

31. Encourage agents to share their ideas for improvement

We reward agents for ideas they provide for process improvements and making things easier for customers and agents.

We have received some terrific ideas this way.

With thanks to Kristine

32. Get agents and managers to swap roles to help develop new ideas

We are going to get all managers to be agents for the day, so that everyone can see how our full process works.

We then plan to work with the agents to improve things.

With thanks to Kate

33. Encourage agents to take on ‘Champion Roles’

We encourage our staff to take on a ‘Champion Role’ for a specific area.

This helps them to feel empowered and in control.

With thanks to Lynn

Strategy

34. Focus on great performance from the recruitment stage

Better overall performance starts with a better standard of recruitment.

With thanks to Chloe

35. Flexible hours = happier employees

We’ve introduced flexible hours to help improve agent happiness and productivity.

With thanks to Suzette

36. Try to employee people from a “blue chip” background

Bring people in from blue chip companies, as they are better trained and more conscious about their work and the business. They don’t see it as “just a job”.

This should have a positive impact on your company culture.

With thanks to Mark

37. A daily huddle will help to nip any problems in the bud

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Daily huddles and regular department updates will help to nip any problems in the bud.

With thanks to Sandra

38. Improve your internal communication channels

Provide better systems to allow for better information sharing within the contact centre.

With thanks to Robin

39. Cross-train your agents across different departments

Cross-train your agents across different departments.

With thanks to Lauren

40. Improve your processes and free your agents to be their best

Improve your processes and scripting.

Don’t let unnecessary hurdles get in the way of your agents being amazing!

With thanks to Debbie

41. Multi-skilling drives personal development

Create an environment where you can empower agents through the multi-skilling of all roles.

It takes some coordination and management, but the flexibility to react to peak call times and the personal development of the staff is a big benefit all round.

With thanks to Jonathan

42. Accommodate your agents’ shift preferences

With regards to WFM, we try and accommodate staff shift preferences.

If staff regularly get a number of shifts they actually want, it helps to keep them engaged.

With thanks to Adam

43. We removed AHT and focused on helping the customer

We removed Average Handling Time as a metric across the organisation.

We then put greater emphasis on helping our customers.

With thanks to Benoit

44. Invite improvements and work together to implement them

During a Customer Service training day, we gave everyone the opportunity to submit an improvement to the business.

The best ones were then implemented alongside the Service Improvement team.

This was very successful, as we stuck to our promise and spent time on making sure each agent understood why their idea did or didn’t go through.

With thanks to Chloe

45. Get agents involved with training new recruits

We get our staff involved with the training of new staff.

We also ask their opinions on the training material and any changes needed.

With thanks to Lynn

46. Introduce a Continuous Improvement Team

We have a Continuous Improvement Team (CIT). These are people from the floor that have a vote in changing and managing processes.

They receive ideas from the people who are actually working with the processes. The results are unbelievable – 80% of our improvements come from agents/supervisors.

We rotate 50% of the team once every 3 months, so everybody can be part of CIT.

With thanks to Tim

Motivation

47. Create teams to drive friendly competition

We’ve created several teams within our pool of agents to help drive friendly competition.

With thanks to Bonnie

48. Never knock an idea

Never knock an idea. Ever!

With thanks to Mark

49. Celebrate your agents’ ideas

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If you implement an agent’s idea, celebrate it!

Make a fuss and encourage them to brag about it!

With thanks to Mark

50. Remind your agents that they make a difference

Make sure the staff know they make a difference.

Also make sure you explain how what they do impacts the client and business.

With thanks to Adam

51. Stop overloading your agents with KPIs

Reduce the number of KPIs that your agents are targeted on to help clarify the definition of success.

With thanks to Helen

52. Target on customer satisfaction instead of agent performance

Target the KPIs towards customer satisfaction rather than agent performance.

With thanks to Declan

53. Stop harassing agents about their performance

We’ve reduced the number of discussions we have with our agents about their daily performance – to take the pressure off.

With thanks to Sarah

54. Find out what motivates each individual

Get to know your agents and find out what motivates them.

Rewards are great, but they can be even better if they are truly wanted.

With thanks to Angela

55. Let agents assess a supervisor’s call

Our agents will shortly be swapping roles with the performance coaches – just for a few hours.

We plan to take the agents’ calls for a short period of time during the morning/afternoon, and then allow the agents to assess our calls.

This way, we can all work together and see each role from different views.

With thanks to Laura

56. Give agents the opportunity to critique their own calls

Let your agents coach themselves – let them listen to a conversation and give them a coaching form.

You might be surprised at how critical they can be.

With thanks to Tim

57. Focus on past, present and future in every huddle

We try to touch on all bases in our daily huddles – past, present and future.

We always look at performance wins from the previous day, what is happening today, where the leaders are and what training is going on.

We also ask our people what concerns they have from the previous day – what stopped us being as good as we can be? What blockages did customers experience? They then take this away and own the concern as they carry on with their working day.

With thanks to Alan

58. Have dress-up days and raise money for charity

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We have days where the agents get to dress up and raise money for charity.

They are really fun and staff are highly engaged. This is reflected in our call quality on the day too.

With thanks to Adam

59. Introduce your agents to your back-office team

Get agents off the phones to meet back-office staff.

This helps them to put a face to a name. It also encourages them to work as a team and look at the bigger picture.

With thanks to Lynn

60. Change where your agents sit every few weeks

A quick way to stimulate people is to change their seat every few weeks.

This keeps it fresh and creates new friendships, which in turn creates happiness. This also gives the staff the opportunity to talk to other people in the contact centre.

With thanks to Mark

What do you do to drive great performance in your contact centre?


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