Drive Success! 40 Tips to Boost Team Performance

People management concept with people icons on blocks
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Looking to give your agent performance strategy a much-needed spring clean?

We have put together the top tips and ideas for improving how you manage agent performance from our webinar ‘How to Properly Assess Agent Performance

Here are 40 ideas to try:

1. Coach Agents While Interactions Are in Progress

Risa Eldridge at CallMiner
Risa Eldridge

There are times when it makes sense to coach agents while interactions are in progress. For example, it’s helpful to give a nudge while a call is in progress on compliance requirements or new offerings to upsell to a customer.

However, you want to use those selectively to avoid distraction and not detract from the overall customer experience.

If there’s a pop-up coming every 10 seconds, it’s going to be hard for the agent to focus on having a natural flowing conversation.

Contributed by: Risa Eldridge, Sr. Director, Product Management at CallMiner

2. Measure What Matters

There’s always a danger that ‘what gets measured, gets managed’. As an industry, we love to measure things and we love to manage things that we need to measure.

But, when we’ve got so many metrics out there, we become metric-driven in our conversations – rather than people-driven.

You need to make time to unpick some of the metrics that you’ve got in your contact centre and start to think about how important they really are – breaking them down into which ones are nice to have and which are the ones that are really important.

One way to do this is to stop and ask yourself:

  • What should we be measuring?
  • What is it that matters in our contact centre?

Try and shift your focus to ‘measure what matters’ instead. Think about metrics in terms of the outcomes that you want to deliver.

How does that metric link to the outcome that you’re striving for? For the customer, for the business, for productivity, or for efficiency? What behavioural shift does it achieve?

3. Regularly Look at Your KPI Tolerance

Garry Gormley, Founder, CEO - FAB Outsourced Solutions
Garry Gormley

When managing agent performance, you should regularly ask yourself if your KPIs are achievable.

How do you do this?

It can help to look at the spread of people in your contact centre and see how many people are achieving, how many people are UNDERachieving, and how many people are OVERachieving.

You can then use that insight to start to move your KPI tolerance based on the balance of under- and overachievers.

4. Ask Yourself ‘Are You Really Coaching?’

Stop and ask yourself: Are you coaching people? Or are you just looking at KPIs and leaving your agents to it?

If you aren’t monitoring and inspecting metrics in the right way, then what is the point in having that metric in the first place? Stop measuring things for measuring’s sake!

Contributed by: Garry Gormley, FAB Solutions

5. Involve Agents in Setting Their Own Targets

Wherever possible, involve agents in setting their own targets and metrics.

When they buy into the results and outcomes, they will strive to achieve them more often.

Sent in by Ryan, a Call Centre Helper reader

6. Celebrate ‘Movers’ Not Just Your ‘Top Performers’

A great way to get agents engaged in managing their own performance is to stop always celebrating the top performers.

Make sure to celebrate those ‘middle of the table’ movers and people hitting milestones too.

Instead, make sure to celebrate those ‘middle of the table’ movers and people hitting milestones too.

This keeps everyone motivated to reach for their next target.

Thanks to Gerard, one of our readers

7. Create a Call Library of Good and Bad Examples

We have a Quality Assurance (QA) call library of 10 good and 10 not so good calls. This allows our agents to listen and learn from the call library and see for themselves what ‘good’ looks like and what ‘not good’ looks like. It’s so valuable.

From Prudence in our webinar chatroom

Create a trust culture

8. Create a Trust Culture for Receptive Coaching

Create a high trust culture. When you do this, your team will be motivated and engaged.

It allows for receptive coaching at any time, and nurtures employees that are engaged in your values and purpose.

Thanks to Jenna, one of our readers

9. Allow Some “Wrap Up Time” at the End of Each Day

Allow some “Wrap Up Time” at the end of each day. This can be just be a quick 15-30 minutes off the schedule to cover development, feedback, or anything else.

This approach helps quality and performance to be an ongoing, open conversation, as well as earmarking time to nip any problems in the bud.

Sent in by Teri, a Call Centre Helper reader

Faces showing various moods
Take a mood score from your agents

10. Capture a Mood Score Every Day

Encourage your team managers to take a mood score from your agents every day.

Then, when issues are identified in stats or quality monitoring, you can discuss in a subsequent coaching session if they are having a good day or really bad one.

From William in our webinar chatroom

11. Break Goals Down Into Achievable Steps

Make sure when setting performance improvement goals that you also set achievable weekly improvement steps to help achieve those goals.

For example, to decrease talk time by 5 seconds week on week with small tweaks, instead of a big monthly target.

Sent in by Barbara, a Call Centre Helper reader

12. Explain HOW Your Calls Are Audited

Clearly explain to your agents what is expected on each call and how the calls are audited.

If they know there are certain things they need to complete on a call, they can make sure they do them to improve their scores overall.

Thanks to Catriona, one of our readers

For information on the top performance challenges faced by contact centres, read our article: Contact Centre Performance Challenges and How to Fix Them

13. Keep a Journal of Behaviours

Address the situation as soon as it occurs, so the behaviour can be corrected to avoid continued mistakes.

Also, encourage agents to make journals, so you remember positive and negative behaviours when it is time for the annual review.

From Holly in our webinar chatroom

14. Share Tips and Tricks

We have our struggling agents sit in side by side with agents that do well in their metrics, so they can share their tips and tricks.

Communicate tips and tricks learned from agents to share with everyone.

We also put out a regular email communication with tips and tricks that we have learned from agents to share with everyone.

Sent in by Theresa, a Call Centre Helper reader

15. Regular Reviews Should Feed Into the Annual Picture

We conduct performance reviews per shift, week, and month.

All of this then feeds into our quarterly and yearly reviews.

Thanks to Candid, one of our readers

16. Invest Time in Personal Development Plans (PDPs)

I meet regularly with my team members and conduct PDPs, which are Personal Development Plans, to go over what they are working on to achieve.

From Brittni in our webinar chatroom

17. Meet Monthly With Each Team Member

Officially, we do our performance reviews quarterly, but we make sure supervisors also meet monthly with each team member.

Sent in by Theresa, a Call Centre Helper reader

18. …But Weekly With New Agents

We make sure to pencil in performance reviews every week for agents throughout their first 90 days. We even sometimes do them daily if agents are struggling.

Thanks to Bettina, one of our readers

19. Always Nip Issues in the Bud That Same Day

We schedule two formal meetings per month, per agent, but always talk to the agent that same day if an issue arises to nip it in the bud.

From Angie in our webinar chatroom

20. Introduce Performance-Related Pay Weighted Towards Behaviours

I have developed performance-related pay, levels, and structure that focus on metrics, but are also heavily weighted towards behaviours.

Drive the right behaviour and performance will take care of itself.

Sent in by Mat, a Call Centre Helper reader

21. Clearly Define Expectations

Make sure to clearly define your standards and expectations.

Make sure to clearly define your standards and expectations.

How can your agents know what you’re measuring if this hasn’t been clearly defined?

Thanks to John, one of our readers

22. Give Agents the Tools They Need to Succeed

Provide agents with the tools they need to empower them to be successful, and make them feel equally as important as our customers.

From Glorimar in our webinar chatroom

23. Have Regular HIG ‘How’s It Going?’ Chats

Get your team involved in planning, changes, and implementation. Also keep feedback regular to create opportunity for feedback and ongoing development.

I find that weekly or monthly HIG “How’s It Going?” chats are beneficial for this, as well as for building trust and confidence with our team.

Sent in by Teri, a Call Centre Helper reader

If you want some more best practice tips for performance management, read our article: Performance Management Best Practices

24. Don’t Just Meet Up to Discuss Mistakes

Don’t meet with agents only if an error was made. Build relationships with regular contact.

Thanks to Barbara, one of our readers

25. Ask Agents ‘What Do You Need?’

Agents are a vital piece in the organization. Ask what matters to them. What do they need? What works or doesn’t work for them?

When the agents are happy and satisfied with their job, it will drive their performance. In the long term, this approach will have a great impact on your contact centre metrics.

From Tina in our webinar chatroom

26. Focus on the Positive More Than the Negative

Coaching should always include two positives for every negative item, as well as useful resources for agents to help them correct their mistakes.

Sent in by Holly, a Call Centre Helper reader

27. Don’t Always Blindly Trust the Data

Don’t always trust your data.

We have a culture whereby supervisors and agents can challenge their scores, if they think their performance rating is incorrect.

Thanks to Fiona, one of our readers

28. Introduce All New Hires to Your WFM Team

We introduce all new hires to the WFM team.

This helps to set expectations regarding attendance, as well as explain the Power of One and the impact their attendance can have on the business, customers and their peers.

From Stephanie in our webinar chatroom

For information on the technique called the Power of One, read our article: The Power of One

29. Make the Most of Overstaffed Periods

In periods when you are overstaffed against current call volume, make the most of it.

Pull agents off the phone and have brainstorming and workshop sessions among agents to discuss best practices, all to help leverage agents’ experience and ideas.

I have found that when agents learn from one another, the level of buy-in seems higher. Also, it can give some people an opportunity to display additional skills, and can keep them engaged.

Sent in by Stephen, a Call Centre Helper reader

30. Encourage a ‘Fail Forward’ Mentality

We have a “fail forward” mentality, so errors become teaching moments.

Thanks to Jenna, one of our readers

Teamwork and support concept with people holding up board so others can get across

31. Lean Into Your Management Team for Support

We always have a member of the management team available to coach an agent on a call.

The agent is played the call in question and talked through the alternative options to end the call well.

From Sally in our webinar chatroom

32. Supervisors Need to Accept Criticism Too

Supervisors need to be able to accept criticism from their agents too!

Open conversations go a long way in developing ‘the trust factor’.

Sent in by Theresa, a Call Centre Helper reader

33. Send and Receive Feedback at Any Time – Don’t Just Wait for a Review

We use a system where we are able to send and receive feedback at any time across all areas of the business – both things to celebrate and areas to work on.

Thanks to Jenna, one of our readers

For advice on dealing with the lower performers, read our article: Bottom Quartile Management – How to Boost Your Lowest Performers

34. Ask ‘What’s on Your Mind?’

I have regular open conversations with my team, and always start by asking “What’s on your mind?”

From Theresa in our webinar chatroom

35. Set Up a Virtual Suggestion Box

With our remote team, we have set up a virtual suggestion box to welcome opinions and ideas. We collect weekly feedback and shout out to the team when we implement their ideas.

Sent in by Anita, a Call Centre Helper reader

36. Ask Agents How You Can Improve Too

Make sure to ask your team members this question – ‘What can I do as your leader to better support you in your role?’

This will open them up to giving you, as a leader, feedback as well to always improve your methods and processes.

Let them know that you care about them and are not always just delivering the information to them.

It lets them know that you care about them and are not always just delivering the information to them. We, as leaders, also need to work on ourselves and grow in our methods.

Thanks to Dana, one of our readers

37. Ask ‘What’s Your Biggest Struggle?’

Regularly ask your agents ‘What’s your biggest struggle?’ to build a clear picture of any process and system issues across the frontline.

From Angi in our webinar chatroom

38. Ask Agents to Choose the Calls They Want You to Listen To

Ask your agents to send you the calls that they feel could have gone better.

It’s a great way to find areas and situations they are not comfortable with.

Sent in by Mark, a Call Centre Helper reader

39. Make Sure All Performance Standards Are Clearly Documented

We make sure all performance standards are clearly documented in a performance manual and that it is easily accessible to all agents.

Thanks to Prudence, one of our readers

40. Leave Management to Worry About AHT

Average Handling Time (AHT) is a management metric, NOT one for frontline agents to worry about.

Instead, we ask our people to focus on delivering a brilliant service, and leave management to worry about any spikes in AHT that might need addressing.

From Mat in our webinar chatroom

All of these ideas and more were discussed in our webinar on How to Properly Assess Agent Performance.

If you are looking for more great top tips for managing a contact centre, you should read these articles next:

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