Just recently we have been having agent confidence issues! Some of the problems are with new agents and some with long standing agents who start to question their ability. We have tried giving lots of praise and positive feedback and we have tried involving them in other activities. Nothing seems to work.
This is something we hear often from customers. They also find in some cases staff leave without saying anything. Exit interviews have shown that very often it is because they are terrified of what to say to customers and how to say it.
One solution is to spend as much time during induction (and during refresher sessions), practising telephone calls so that the agents make mistakes with you in a safe training environment rather than with real customers!
Customers use our PhoneCoach Cordless Network for 12 users which enables up to 12 agents to practise typical calls and have them recorded at the same time. Then the trainers play each call back and go through the calls to highlight good points and things they need to work on.
For many agents it will be the first time they have heard their voice and how they come across on the telephone. Refresher training for existing agents is a good ‘time out’ period to review the calls they make and to see where improvements can be made.
Result? Effective, confident and knowledgeable agents ready to start ‘buddying up’ with experienced agents or actually ‘going live’ themselves.
As the equipment is portable you can use it any room and it is not tied into telephone lines. Simple to use and very effective.
If you would like details and some names of customers who use it regularly please let me know.
Answer courtesy of Mandy Stephens.
By reading between the lines, I think it is safe to state that your agents lack motivation.
Social scientists now believe that performance at work is highly linked to motivation, which is linked to self-esteem. I personally believe, from the looks of it, that it is a motivational issue.
This analysis is based on the assumption that these agents were recruited with a set KPI’s criteria in mind. So they must have shown some level of confidence at the point of recruitment. If that is not the case, then I suggest you revisit your recruitment strategy.
The other possibility is that your agents lack the confidence NOW because they do not have enough training and product knowledge to give them that much needed command over what they do. In that case, I suggest you review your training manuals.
However, You have already stated that you’ve tried training and positive feedbacks and other methods of encouragement to bring things back on track, which has not worked either.
This leads me to conclude that they are loosing interest in what you are trying to achieve, hence not paying attention in the training room or on the phone.
I STRONGLY believe that this is not a confidence issue; lack of confidence is an outcome of the real issue, motivation.
Answer courtesy of Adeel Makhdumi.
I have found that agents who lack confidence are the ones who lack product or system knowledge/experience. This is why you’ll find it with new starters. It also affects existing staff if you have just taken on a new product or changed your procedures.
Take time to ask how confident they are with the training you have provided by getting everyone to fill in a questionnaire or a quiz.
Also, check your management style. Are you approachable? If not they will fester their fears and think they’re getting it all wrong.
Answer courtesy of Barbara Hammond.
I would agree with Barbara’s comment about checking Management Style. We all know that people tend to lose interest and leave jobs due to management so I would start there. What skills do your managers have in truly understanding what motivates their employees and tapping into that motivation. Do you managers know how to performance coach your staff so they are getting the best out of them?
Answer courtesy of Darren Rhodes.