Working in today’s call center is a demanding job. The simplest of transactions are now often handled via self-service tools, leaving more complex work left to today’s agent. Effectively leading today’s call center agent can be even more challenging. From handling escalated calls, upset customers stressed-out agents, and endless to-do lists; the list of challenges tends to get longer and longer.
This leaves an interesting question – how do you lower stress levels for your team members? How do you keep their moods up, so that they are bright and cheery treating each new customer as if they were their first of the day? How do you improve call center performance to ensure your team member, company, and clients get the necessary results they need? Here are five clear strategies to implement for effective call center operational performance.
An ideal time to hire call center agents is at the start of their career, usually when they are entry level. Be open to those with little previous work experience. By starting the development process early, you can prepare workers with valuable experience to become not just high-performing agents, but future supervisors and managers.
There are many ways to attract employees who are at the start of their careers. Here are just a few tactics to consider:
• Provide paid internships for students fresh out of college or during their college breaks.
• Attend workshops and conferences at high schools to market your company as a desirable employer.
• Allow flexible work schedules, so that students may work part-time, while attending college.
Once you’ve increased the pool from which you can draw permanent workers for your call center operations, the next step is to be a desirable employer. If your goal is to attract mostly young workers, then it’s important to note that flexibility and work-life-balance are extremely important to millennials and Gen Z, often even more so than a high salary.
Here are some incentives you should consider that will benefit your older call center workers, as well:
• Opportunities for professional development
• Fun and creative experiences
• Innovative tech in the office
• Flexible work schedules
• Give back initiatives
Many call center operations leaders make the mistake of believing employees only need training for their first few weeks on the job. Others have training programs in place just for the sake of having them, with no real process and no real way of measuring their effectiveness. By investing in proper and frequent employee training, you are building an unstoppable workforce.
In fact, Forbes recommends frequent employee training as the key to organizational success. Besides the obvious knowledge improvement, how does this benefit call center operations? See below for a few key benefits:
• Reduced need for supervision
• Increased productivity
• Lower turnover rates
• Improved efficiency
• Decrease in errors
• Improved morale
One great benefit of employee training that deserves a section to itself is employee empowerment. By providing call center employees with the knowledge and tools they need to make informed decisions, management can turn its focus back to admin and strategic functions. The workers, in turn, can focus on achieving company goals without a manager breathing down their necks.
As mentioned above, employee empowerment leads to a reduced need for supervision, which in turn helps to flatten the organizational structure. Flat organizational structures are more efficient and more adaptable to change. They also boost customer satisfaction as workers reduce resolution times by resolving issues on their own, thereby reducing the need to forward customers through multiple channels.
According to a 2014 study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, there are some health conditions that become a risk for workers at call centers. For starters, because of the 24/7 nature of call center operations, many people are usually working at times when they would have otherwise been sleeping, causing disruptions to their internal clock. Interpersonal relationships with family and friends may also be negatively affected, often resulting in unhealthy lifestyle habits. Additionally, the need to suppress negative emotions to please customers may also lead to depression and anxiety.
Because of this, it’s very important that companies focus on health and wellness programs for employees. Some perks, such as a creative space for breaks, can help with this. However, there should also be solid employee benefits for both mental and physical care. In addition to this, employers should implement measures to reduce or prevent employee burnout.
Every call center has its own organizational culture and strategies in place to ensure high call center performance. However, sometimes organizational culture can work against improvements and sometimes strategies become outdated. By making small tweaks to those original strategies, however, you can transform your call center business, keep your workers in great shape and generate a return for stakeholders. For more information on how partnering with Etech can help, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This blog was earlier published on LinkedIn.