If you’re focused on strengthening customer service within your contact center, the first step is to boost your agents’ performance. Why? Because agent performance directly impacts customer satisfaction and sales.
Agents are the foundation and most important asset of your company — they’re on the front lines. They’re in constant communication with your customers and are the voice of your brand to the outside world, making agent performance key to your customer experience.
Overworking your agents to meet demand and keep customers satisfied will only hurt the overall performance of your contact center. Contact center agent burnout is real and common: Forcing agents to work long hours will not only lower employee morale, but it’s also likely to decrease the quality of the contact center service due to higher turnover rates and an unhappy workforce.
How should your organization move forward when your analytics indicate your agents are underperforming? What things should you consider if you want to improve your contact center agent performance?
How To Improve Agent Performance In Your Contact Center
Call center agent performance management is the key to an ideal customer experience. But the benefits extend even further. Optimized performance can optimize the bottom line too. Here are some key strategies to improve agent performance.
1. Build Rapport
Without blurring the line between supervisor and employee, contact center leaders should get to know agents on a personal level. Understand their professional goals, personal aspirations, and what motivates them.
Take the time to know and meet them individually. Show them you care and that you’re there should they need anything. No one wants to work for a boss who only meets their employees for the first time because they did something wrong.
Let your agents know that they are important. What’s important to them outside of work, like family, pets, hobbies, even their favorite sports teams? Noticing the little things can go a long way. Take note of their birthdays and recognize their achievements. Handwritten notes on an agent’s monitor or keyboard can also go a long way toward motivating agent performance and building a friendship.
Strong relationships build up influence that will give you the power to manage and achieve objectives more effectively.
2. Host Daily Kickoff Sessions
Inspire your agents by having a pre-session customer service motivation meeting with your team to get everyone fired up for the day.
Starting off your workday on the right foot is a great way to boost attitudes and increase morale in the short term. Plus, it helps fight agent burnout. Setting the tone for a productive and fruitful day is an ideal strategy to strengthen call center agent performance.
3. Lead By Example
You can strengthen contact center agent performance when you lead by example. “Saying” is not the same as “doing.” Don’t be afraid to show your agents how it’s done. Illustrate best practices by handling calls as you’re able. Team members will respect you for it, and your future coaching will carry more weight.
Let your A-players shine by sharing their stand-out work as an example too. As part of your daily kickoff sessions, you can start off by replaying a best-practice audio or text interaction to inspire your agents to achieve similar results.
Have your expert and newer agents work together. Everyone will improve their own performance by learning from the top performers’ knowledge and ideas.
4. Solicit Agent Feedback
Closed-loop agent performance coaching is important. Encourage your agents to provide feedback on what improvements could be made in workflows, technology, and processes and share those with management.
Being open to feedback from your team members on the front lines can motivate those employees to improve performance and encourage those who are already doing a good job.
5. Ask For Self-Evaluation
How can you improve agent performance? Put your agents in the driver’s seat! Have your agents listen to their own calls and grade them. It’s true that we’re often our own worst critics — but this tactic can be empowering to agents. Offer your contact center team members the opportunity to figure out what areas need the most improvement.
This not only helps them understand their abilities, but it lets them take control of their performance. Once they’ve established their own benchmarks, they can own their success.
6. Set Clear Expectations
Don’t keep your expectations a secret when it comes to agent performance. Be direct and clear. Set precise goals that your organization wants to see achieved and pathways for those goals to come to life.
Make your objectives realistic too. Be sure to adjust the goals if the outcomes are too ambitious or too cautious. Agents will quickly burn out if things are too difficult, but if there isn’t a challenge, agent performance may be stagnant.
When you have employees who aren’t meeting goals, investigate and correct them before you penalize them. Ensure that they are clear about what is expected and what success looks like. Let them know how the impact they have on the team and how they can change to improve results.
7. Offer Rewards
Timely acknowledgments and rewards for great agent performance can go a long way. You’re likely already tracking your agents’ performance through specific, relevant KPIs. But what if your organization took these KPIs a step further?
Imagine if each agent could share and compare their individual results against their coworkers and earn rewards based on their achievements. Not only could they see where they stand, but rewards and visibility would also drive agent performance and motivation.
Setting up transparent dashboards benefits not only agents but managers as well, giving you a better overview of your team’s efforts. This system will help you recognize top performers and reward them accordingly.
At Playvox, we make this crystal clear with our performance tool, which builds friendly competition by listing top to bottom performers. Our agent performance tool is one of our software highlights, allowing you to create user-friendly dashboards.
Using the agent performance tool, you can set up specific KPIs and evaluate agents’ performance and progress accordingly. Not only can your team see how they’re doing, but you will be able to get a better overview and reward top performers.
8. Make Tech User-Friendly
Make your applications more user-friendly for your agents. Take a look at their desktop and watch how they handle the technology and the customer on a call. Easy-to-use tech decreases frustration by giving them access to the right information at the right time.
Making your agent feel like they are part of the family is a great way to drive engagement and boost agent performance in your contact center.
By having the right tools and bringing a human touch to the workplace, agents are much more likely to feel engaged and appreciated. And that’s key because a happy employee is a productive employee. It’s a win-win for your customer experience and contact center agent performance.
With these strategies, you can improve the overall quality of service delivered by your team. Just as importantly, these tips can bring your team closer together and help build mutual respect among agents and team leaders.
There’s always room for improvement in a contact center. Just remember to keep empowering and encouraging your agents to build their confidence. Want to learn more? Request a demo from Playvox today.