Contact Center Success Part 2:
How to Ensure Agent Success and a Smile on their Faces
Tracy Lehmann, Technical Liaison, Contact Center Practice, VOSS Solutions
Call Center. Contact Center. Customer Experience Center. Call it what you will, but one thing is for certain; each and every contact center out there is unique and customized to meet the requirements of the business.
From inbound flow design to skill or queue group names to in-queue announcements and music-on-hold. From service levels, average answer delay, and acceptable abandoned rates, to talk time, post call processing time, and agent availability. Every configuration element related to the flows themselves – the customer experience (CX) – is in some way unique.
Solutions like those from VOSS can help with unified communications (UC) automation, enabling you to manage day-to-day MACD work, monitor your platforms, network infrastructure, and endpoints. Let’s be honest, your core business relies on introducing automation and analytics to improve business processes, optimize productivity and experience, and fuel business growth.
Ensuring contact center agent success
In this blog post we are going to focus on the agent. The most important asset of any contact center; the frontline workers that are the face of your business. Your success as an organization relies heavily on the agent’s success with the customer. And, there are several things that determine the agent’s success:
- Employee enablement
- Employee onboarding
Let’s look at each of these in turn.
Have you ever been in a situation where you’re being pressed for an answer – for a solution – and don’t have one? Not only that, you have no idea where to look for one? That’s the situation far too many contact center agents face every day. And, when placed in an uncomfortable situation, emotions – and attitude – can get the best of us.
Training is so important – not just the “whats and hows” specific to your company, but the “wheres and whens and whys” as well. New employee training – and employee refresher sessions, for that matter – should always include:
- What you as a company do – think “mission statement”
- How you plan to succeed
- Where to look for an answer
- When to escalate
- When to take a break
- Why all of this stuff is important
When I was a call center agent, one of my supervisors told me this: Always answer a call with a smile on your face, no matter how you feel. It was invaluable advice. It’s really difficult to maintain a bad attitude with a smile on your face.
The past 24 months have massively impacted your agents’ working environment, the global economy, and consumer buying habits. Are your staff trained to manage the new world that they are working in? Teach your agents what they need to know to be successful, and your company will be successful.
A golden rule for ensuring agent success is to make sure your contact center staff have the tools they need to do their jobs effectively. The pandemic has shown us that agents can work from home very productively, and managers don’t need to see them at an office desk to manage them effectively. This is both liberating and empowering for the contact center agent and for the company. You can now build the best team, regardless of the employee’s location. But, having the right tools is imperative to make this model a success. Your agents must have access to an integrated suite of productivity and collaboration tools to ensure productivity, business continuity, and employee satisfaction.
With the right tools in place – and with a management layer that enables your IT team to manage the platform effectively – agents will be empowered to make decisions more quickly, call volumes will be managed efficiently, problems will be resolved more quickly, and most importantly, customer satisfaction will rocket.
Added to this, UC performance management tools will allow you to monitor your agents’ productivity and experience – as well as the success of the contact center as a whole.
TOP TIP: Make sure you have the UC automation management and UC performance management tools in place to enable your employees.
How is your agent onboarding process? Did you ever assess how quickly and efficiently you can onboard (or offboard) an agent? How much does it cost each time?
The key to agent on – and off – boarding is automation. The more you can introduce automated (zero-touch) processes, the more quickly your agent will be up and running. At an operational level, onboarding automation will improve accuracy, speed, and consistency. At a people level, automation will positively impact employee productivity, and importantly, it will also have a positive effect on employee experience. And a happy call center agent is what we all want and need.
TOP TIP: Review your onboarding processes – from hiring to HR process to employee enablement. Work with an automation management specialist to introduce zero-touch processes that will fuel your business.
One of the most important parts of a contact center supervisor’s role is to evaluate each agent on a regular basis and provide feedback, both positive and constructive. Everyone loves to hear when they are doing a great job. And most employees like to know when they do something not so great, so they can improve performance.
Public recognition for a job well done goes a long way. A recent survey by the Great Place to Work-Certified™ company O.C. Tanner found employee recognition was most important to 37% of employees. Teams scoring in the top 20% of engagement, experience 59% fewer turnovers.
I recommend you take the time to review these four steps to contact center agent success. By evaluating your training program, agent enablement, agent onboarding, and feedback mechanisms, you will be rewarded for your efforts.
Get in touch to discuss how the VOSS suite of automation, migration and performance management technology could be utilized to assist you in realizing more value from your contact center, and help you deliver superior customer experience.