Dick Bourke discusses how nurturing agent soft skills can pay off in the long run, for both the contact centre and the customer.
Today’s companies rely heavily on customer relationship management initiatives in order to improve customer experiences and loyalty. One of the most important elements of establishing a loyal customer base along with customer sentiment is the call centre. These professionals on the frontline of a company’s interactions with its customers have the power to strengthen these relationships.
Each time an agent engages with a customer, it’s an opportunity to create a new relationship or cement a current one. The human element of these interactions is vitally important, especially today with the focus in the media on automating as much of the customer interaction as much as possible.
It’s a well understood and uncontested concept that customers will continue to do business with people they like, and your call centre is where a lot of these interactions will take place.
Nurturing Your Agents’ Soft Skills – ‘The Investment’
Providing quality customer service is essential to staying competitive, and the call centre is a critical component of that work. So, how do you create call centre teams that are informed, energetic and driven—and human?
You start by making sure that each agent feels valued for his or her contribution. That means working with each agent to make sure he or she has the knowledge, skills, and motivation to do their best work for themselves and for the company. It means understanding each agent and how to work with them to improve their skill sets as well as validating the things that they excel at.
Gaining individual agent insight may seem overwhelming when you have an entire team to manage, but the job is easier with a quality scorecard rating system (spreadsheets are not suited to this task). Scorecards will help provide you with information about your agents and their performance. They contain all of the important data that you need to monitor, train and develop your inbound and multichannel agents that are responsible for the customer experience.
With the Scorebuddy modular scorecard system for call centre quality data management and scoring, you have everything you need in one application to monitor and improve call centre and agent performance. Using a purpose-built tool is how you will take your quality management to the next level.
Nurturing Your Agents’ Soft Skills – ‘The Payoff’
The human component in call centre operations is not a one-way system. Of course, it’s critical to establish relatable human interactions with customers, but it’s also important to view your call centre agents as humans with strengths and weaknesses. By validating their current strengths and identifying areas for improvement, you show a vested interest in your agents, who will appreciate the support and will perform better as a result.
Scientific studies have shown the importance of making people aware of their strengths and weaknesses in order to advance themselves and their organisations.
“At the heart of all human functioning is the self. The best solutions to organisational and leadership issues require self-awareness as an essential first step. Deeper self-awareness leads to self-acceptance and then self-esteem.
“As individuals gain self-awareness and self-esteem, they become more open and honest with their co-workers. They redirect the energy they now use for defensiveness, withholding, and other interpersonal struggles into productive work.” – Will Schutz, Ph.D.
Real Agent Engagement
Engaged agents are typically happier (and by extension more productive) than those who are not. So, it’s to the overall benefit of the business to involve them in the quality monitoring process where they will have a clear view of their performance (providing transparency) and feel like they have an input in their personal development.
By providing agents with their own personal dashboard where they can review scoring and coaching tips, you give them the opportunity to improve on both tangible and intangible elements. This allows them to take the initiative to make personal improvements leading to, as Schultz has proven, higher self-esteem and greater productivity.
With a quality scorecard, such as those made available by Scorebuddy, you’ll get a view of what is happening during the interactions between your agents and your customers, but the provider should also make it easy for you and your agents to measure their performance in order to address any areas for improvement.
A top-of-the-range scorecard eliminates the need to investigate each score so as to identify those agents that need improvement as you get highlighted trends and exceptions to identify opportunities for improvement where extra training or reinforcement may be necessary.
Using Scorebuddy’s scorecard as an example, it can also let you showcase and share areas of strength, which will help motivate your team. This is important since positive reinforcement is so critical in improving sales, revenue and creating lasting customer relationships.
Is this something that your manager would be interested in?
Scorebuddy lets you get to these positive results faster, too, because it lets you manage by exception. Instead of doing hours of one-to-ones with individual agents to determine areas of improvement, it will flag those agents that need special attention so you can go to the source immediately, saving time and initiating course correction right away.
Coaching meetings will be quick because the issues are identified ahead of time and conversations can be focused on the issue at hand. You will love this, and your agents will really appreciate it!
A little competition in the call centre can help your teams’ performance also. With scorecards, you can benchmark teams to create an air of competitive excitement among agents who will be incentivised to improve their productivity. You’ll see better quality scores and higher customer satisfaction levels as a result.
In the call centre business, there are so many tools available to increase sales and improve customer relations, but the best ones available to you are the agents in your call centre today. By utilising scorecards you can gain invaluable insight to help identify problem areas, increase agent satisfaction and morale, improve customer satisfaction and generate more revenue for the business.
All it takes is identifying individual areas of improvement and working with agents personally to help them alter behaviours and then recognising their improvements. The human touch is more important than ever.
This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Scorebuddy– View the original post