Achieving high performance – 3 areas to consider in your contact centre


Achieving high performance used to be associated with the mindset of “do more with less”. However, three recessions later, that phrase no longer has the connotation of efficiency. Rather, most people think it means having to work longer hours, with fewer resources or feeling overworked and exhausted.

So is there a better alternative? We all have good and bad work days. There are times when we are full of energy and just burn through our work. On other days, we can feel sluggish and it takes an extra effort just to get through what we need to do.

We all have at least 20% extra that we can put into our work to make us more effective. Is there a way to harness this extra 20% so that every day can be a good day?

There are three areas in your business where that 20% improvement can be targeted to achieve higher performance. These involve technology, your people and your leadership.

Instead of trying to ‘do more with less’, you can take a careful look at each of these 3 areas and consider what can be done to improve or better utilise the resources that already exist in your organisation.

How can you achieve 20% better performance through technology?

Technology is a wonderful tool that you can use to automate as much as possible in your call centre. All the ‘penny jobs’ that take time but aren’t worth much need to be outsourced or automated. Your agents will then have the tools at their disposal to deliver a better customer experience.

How effective is your telephony system and your dialler?

Ultimately, you want to find out if the system helps or hinders your agents to deliver a better customer experience. There are some great features in modern cloud-based telephony solutions worth exploring if you want to support your agents to handle more calls and personalise the customer experience.

Speech analysis and recording

One of the best ways to analyse performance is to listen to calls. Voice recording software is useful if you have a way to flag certain conversations. If a manager has to manually sift through hundreds of hours of recordings they’ll probably only get through 1% of the calls. But if key speech analysis phrases can be inserted into the software or agents can mark calls that deal with specific issues, the system can automatically flag calls for managers to listen to. This can then make picking up problem areas that much easier. It can also highlight areas where coaching or training might be needed.

Knowledge management

When your agents need to find additional information where do they go? A good way to find out is to sit with some of your newer agents who are still getting familiar with the system. A knowledge base that is in your head can’t be easily accessed – not while the customer is waiting on the phone. But a database with a good search facility can help agents find answers for customers more easily.

An idea is to work with your top performers to create and organise a detailed knowledge base and then put this into a knowledge management system. Integrate this with an effective CRM and you’ll be empowering your agents with the information they need to serve your customers effectively.

How you and your leadership can impact your performance results by at least 20%

Whatever approach you have to leadership, it needs to fit both your personality and the culture of your organisation. Great leaders know how to make a positive impact on their team and give focused attention to team members at just the right time. They can flex their style and approach so that they deliver the right amount of direction, support and delegation when it is needed.

Your leadership style will be a reflection of your personal values – what you think is important. Consistency in your approach will produce authentic leadership behaviour.

How can you get 20% more performance from the people on your team?

Happy people sell and perform well. There are several reasons why agents might not perform. Sometimes agents need training, coaching, better system support or resources to be able to deliver. At other times they may simply be demotivated or have a bad attitude.

Every call, inbound or outbound, has a value, whether this relates to the cost of acquiring the lead or the time and resources needed to service the call. It is really important for everyone in your team to understand the value of each call, and that it costs money when a call isn’t properly serviced.

Agents that feel they are just order takers won’t be inspired to engage with customers. But if they understand their role and the value of each call, they may have an entirely different approach. Alternatively, if they have to deal with complaints all day long because products or service providers in the company don’t perform, it will be difficult for them to stay motivated.

Often there is a root cause for poor performance and dealing with this can help turn things around. Keep in mind, though, that change isn’t always easy, and people don’t always like moving out of their comfort zones.

If you’d like to know more see my free webinar at www.contactcentresuccess.com for more easy wins to improve the performance of your contact centre.

About the author

Carolyn Blunt Carolyn Blunt, MD at Ember Real Results, is a specialist trainer, contact centre expert, author and industry speaker. She welcomes bookings for conference speaking or commissions for writing on topics of customer service, contact centres, people and motivation. She designs and co-ordinates the delivery of large and small scale training solutions for all types of organisation; but especially contact centres in agent skills, team leader skills, coaching, sales and customer service strategy.

Read other posts by Carolyn Blunt

Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.

Published On: 4th Feb 2014 - Last modified: 26th Feb 2014
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