The key to driving a good business is keeping your customer satisfied. The relationship between a company and its customer is not limited to selling a product. A good business entity will always ensure providing impeccable after-sales service to their customers. The image of a company is also affected by the after-sales service given to the customer. That’s where the role of a call center agent comes in. As an organization, you must always know how to improve call center agent performance.
A call center agent handles all the inbound and/or outbound calls to support customer’s inquiries and issues. It is their responsibility to ensure the customer leaves satisfied with the product. A skilled call center agent who is knowledgeable, detail-oriented, and efficient can provide great customer satisfaction.
A call center agent performance is depended on the following qualities he/she must possess:
- Active listener: An agent must be a good listener and understand their customer’s situations to provide them an accurate response.
- Well-read: An agent must know the product inside out so to deliver the right information to the customer.
- Flexible: An agent must be adaptive and flexible to unique inquiries of the customers.
- Organized: An agent must be organized, take quick notes and access customer’s information while in conversation with the customers.
- Effective Communicator: An agent must communicate effectively to the customers. They must possess good verbal and written interaction skills.
- Empathetic: An agent must be understanding to customer’s situation and deal their queries as their own and in a positive manner.
- Withstand pressure: An agent must work well under pressure and maintain calm and poise while dealing with stressful situations.
A call center or a contact center’s performance depends on the efficiency and effectiveness of call center agents. Higher the productivity of the agents, better the result of the call center.
We give you 9 important tips to improve call center agent performance:
1. Defining Performance Standards
There must be clarity between the call center and the agents as to what is expected from them. To measure call center agent’s performance, there must be some achievable standards set by the company. Agents must be trained about the different levels of their performance if it is of good standard or an average. Regular quality training will help the agents to know their standards consequently improving call center agent performance.
2. Empowering the Agents
Many times agents stuck in a set system of responses making them find themselves in a monotonous and repetitive work environment. Their productivity can be improved by giving the agents freedom to think on their own in approaching customers and allow some scope to make decisions themselves.
3. Measuring the KPIs
Setting and reviewing the KPIs of agents is a priority for improving call center agent’s performance. You can commence by understanding the company’s overall goal and then assessing if the Key Performance Indicators of the agents are aligned to call center goals. It has to be ensured that goals have clarity and the agent is aware of why and how their metrics are being measured.
If the KPIs are measured in real-time, it can provide perspective to the declining service level of the agent. Few metrics that can be measured are:
- Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
- First Call Resolution (FCR)
- Average speed of answer
- Average Handling Time
4. Application of Intelligent Routing System
Imagine there is a situation that arose with a difficult customer who requires a quick solution, in such a case an inexperienced agent can increase chances of losing out on customers (existing or potential). In order to avoid such situations, a skill-based routing of the call is adopted which transfers customer query to the concerned agent for a quick resolution.
Tools such as IVR (Interactive Voice Response) and ACD (Automatic Call Distribution) increases FCR and trim downtime taken for call transfers.
5. Call Monitoring
Besides measuring KPIs, recording calls using call center software allows senior professionals to hear out calls between agents and their customers to monitor their call and give real-time feedback when required.
6. Eliminate Repeat Calls
By eliminating avoidable and repetitive calls, you can buy more time for your agents to spend on other valuable customers. Implementing call-avoidance the system would minimize unnecessary workload of attending repetitive calls by agents consequently improving both call center and call center agents’ performance.
7. Regular Training
Proper training to the agents at regular intervals will motivate them to perform better. It is advisable if new agents are introduced to complex training so as to save time and cost. Continuous training can focus on developing agents’ soft skills such as keeping calm under stressful working situations. Also, a regular training schedule must be followed in order to keep all the agents on par. The entire motive to provide training to the agents is to increase their competency and impart knowledge which would improve call center agent performance.
8. Tech Support to the Agents
A call center requires user-friendly IT support for the agents to carry out quick and smooth customer interactions. Adapting technology that complements customer experience saves time and eliminates frustration undoubtedly.
Software such as speech analytics is one example that provides full-text transcripts for every call. It also helps to pull out keywords which can help agents for handling future FCR.
9. Sharing and Rewarding Best Practices
Identifying a good call, sharing with the group as well as rewarding the best practices will not only improve the call center agent performance who performed well but will also inspire the other group members to perform better. Rewards can be tangible in form of bonus and incentives or intangible in the form of prizes and certificates recognizing agents’ efforts and exemplary performance.
You can use a call recording feature of the call center software and hold a group session where you can provide group members to learn about the best practices that have been followed while interacting with the customers.
Free Tip: Do not miss out on the fun!
A happy agent is a productive agent. You can increase agents’ efficiency by providing them a work environment where they’d love to be. You can learn how to improve call center agent performance and leverage your after-sales service to grow your business.