Increase Contact Center Agent Efficiency With These 6 Tips
A contact center’s efficiency thrives on individual agent motivation and mental stamina. However, an encouraging pat on the back or a management team cheer isn’t enough to produce the results you’re hoping for.
The nature of a contact center agent’s job can already be quite demanding, so it’s important to strike a balance as you make strides to increase employee performance. We’ve curated a list of smart contact center efficiency tips to increase agent efficiency and the overall service level provided to loyal customers. As a contact center manager, don’t be afraid to try new approaches to uplevel the customer experience and your efficiency.
1. Less Is More
While it can be tempting to allow customer service agents to power through long hours, this can lead to agent attrition. Instead, break up their work day by allowing them to take rests during what can be a repetitive job. Remember, happier agents lead to happier customers and stronger customer interactions.
Traditionally, contact centers would drive their agents to take on as many customer interactions as possible for as long as possible. But at the end of the day, the quantity of inbound engagements is irrelevant if overworked agents have difficulty maintaining top-quality service. Especially when handling high-pressure customer queries, a little time between interactions can make a big difference — and can help customer support representatives maintain high customer satisfaction rates.
Studies report that allowing the customer service team to take frequent rest periods actually leads to an increase in productivity and mental awareness, as well as stronger agent performance. Powering through long days might feel like a tactic of an efficient contact center. But really, it’s the opposite.
Overworked agents can lead to compromised performance and increased stress levels and burnout, which in turn leads to lower morale and can have the biggest impact on contact center performance. Tired and frustrated customer service agents produce angry and negative customer feedback. Poor customer experiences and customer dissatisfaction will affect overall customer retention. Therefore, encourage your agents to take breaks so they can stay happy, healthy, and productive.
Related Article: 5 Strategies For Increasing Contact Center Performance
2. Create The Right Atmosphere
When you need a fresh start, a new haircut or outfit lets you take control of the situation and gives you that extra boost you were looking for. The same can be done with the workspace.
Think about both the environment and the equipment. Lack of productivity can sometimes be a result of not having the right supplies, or not having the right space. What would the ideal contact center workplace look like to you? What atmosphere and what tools will empower agents to deliver on customer expectations? For example, will multiple monitors allow agents to respond more confidently to complex issues? Will an ergonomic chair help agents feel comfortable and therefore deliver excellent customer experiences?
Reflect your company’s vision, mission, and primary goals into the work environment and transmit the right message to your staff. Even if your agents and contact center managers work in a hybrid model, or are entirely remote, creating a great workspace is possible. Consider offering agents a small stipend for home office upgrades to ensure agents have the right technology to conduct customer interactions with excellence and deliver a smooth customer experience.
Think this is just about a new keyboard or a new coat of paint? Think again. A great environment shows your team what a contact center agent focus really looks like. When your agents know they matter, they can’t help but deliver a top-tier level of customer service. And that’s where you can realize big gains in operational efficiency.
Related Article: Best Contact Center Software for Remote Workers
3. Continuous Feedback And Training
Formal staff training can sometimes be dull, too general, or even neglected. Contact center managers and agents are both busy with daily operations — who has time for hours of training? Instead of mandatory training sessions for everyone, think of this as a coaching process.
Lack of proper training is one of the biggest threats to employee productivity. But the best contact center agent training programs happen on an ongoing basis. Rather than seminars where everyone is required to attend, focus on delivering feedback individually and offering the right learning and training sessions for each agent to build unique skill sets.
For example, one agent may struggle with response time, one may struggle with how to handle multiple inbound interactions at once, and another may face challenges in soft skills like customer empathy. So instead of a one-size-fits-all team training, aim for ongoing, continuous feedback and training.
With proper guidance, customer support center representatives can learn to handle incoming interactions and stay motivated as they boost their performance metrics. Plus, agents can work daily toward achieving their own unique training goals — no need to wait for formal training when you can improve right away.
Implement an ongoing training schedule for each level of experience to enhance agent productivity. This will ensure that varying topics of specific skills and best practices are being covered and delivered at the appropriate times for all agents — and ensure you maintain an efficient contact center.
Related Article: Five Coaching Tips For Contact Center Agents that Work
4. Up The Competition
A little competition never hurt anyone. It’s a great way to increase motivation without making a big investment. By nature, everyone has a competitive streak and wants to excel when they see their counterparts rising to the challenge.
If one agent has a low average handle time or abandonment rate, other agents will want to achieve that goal too. Plus, a little healthy competition can increase operational efficiency for your whole contact center.
Monthly incentives could be just the motivation your agents need to hit key contact center metrics. You could create competitions for individual agents around a single metric — for example, average speed to resolution or average wait time. Or, you might consider a competition between two groups on your customer support team to create camaraderie and get agents rallying around each other.
And rewards for reaching key metrics don’t have to be huge or expensive to be gratifying. Think preferred parking, cool desk accessories, or unlimited coffee. Even gaining bragging rights is a reward in itself.
Related Article: 13 Easy and Creative Contact Center Rewards and Recognition Ideas
5. Tech-Savvy Agents
The purpose of a contact center is to raise customer satisfaction scores, improve customer engagement, resolve customer issues, and provide a positive customer journey. Sounds tough, right? Take a load off your agents’ shoulders by giving them the much-needed tools and information available right at their fingertips.
As you know, customer relationship management (CRM) software is a key part of contact center operational efficiency. Agents gain quick access to the customer’s history and can see any notes taken regardless of the engagement channel.
But how can you uplevel the power of a CRM for greater operational efficiency? Seamless integration with your workforce optimization system. A great workforce management system can reduce overhead costs and create efficiency by evolving your plan in real time, and when it’s integrated with your CRM, your agents can thrive. Workforce management integration is a crucial piece of contact center software for busy contact centers.
With the right technology, employee satisfaction will likely increase, and also help achieve your business goals too. Get ready to see your operational efficiency soar!
Related Article: Benefits Of Integrating Your QA Software With Your CRM
6. Empower Agents With The Right Information
Have you ever submitted a customer service request, only to be connected with someone who had no understanding of issues like yours? It’s one of the most common mistakes in an inbound contact center and can lead to a dip in your First Contact Resolution.
A great way to boost efficiency is to train contact center agents to answer the most common questions. An ideal first step towards this can be establishing a Q&A repository. Build a resource center with answers to common questions, so all agents can respond to FAQs with confidence, even if they’re not experts in a certain facet of your company.
Bonus points for creating a page on your company website with the top questions for customer self-service! This empowers your customers to reach their ultimate goal and resolve issues independently, rather than sitting on hold with a busy signal.
Related Article: How to Improve Your Email First Response Time
It’s Up To You To Empower Agents To Be More Efficient
You might think it saves you time and money to simply demand that your employees put in more hours. Although this methodology might work for robots, it doesn’t have the same outcome when applied to people. To increase contact center efficiency, you must support your staff. Investing in your team is an investment in improved customer satisfaction.
Show that you value their well-being by supporting their development, giving regular feedback (don’t forget breaks!), and supplying the essential tools to fully optimize their skills.
Agents who feel they matter to a company are more committed and vigilant in their work standards.
Are you searching for a solution to increase contact center agent efficiency? Learn more about the Playvox suite of solutions.