The big payoff: investing in your agents' success
| Published: October 09, 2013 | Comments
Call center agents have a tough job and it’s only getting tougher.
Transactions have become more complex, making the learning curve even steeper. Today’s customers expect more and are more difficult to satisfy. The job can be monotonous and development time is scarce. Add big swings between intense call volume and painful stretches of downtime.
All of this can leave agents feeling unvalued, ineffective, unsatisfied with their performance and generally unmotivated and burned out. When morale is low, the chance of attrition increases. And when agents leave, it means big bucks for your company.
What can you do to prevent your agents from walking out the door? Invest in their success.
What do agents really want?
Industry-wide, call center attrition is as high as 30% annually. This is expensive not only in terms of hard costs like recruiting, hiring, new hire training and productivity losses, but can ultimately lead to customer churn.
When agents don’t have the information and skills they need to feel confident dealing with customers, their performance suffers along with the customer experience. Research shows that customers who do not have their issue resolved are eight times more likely to defect.
But poor performance isn’t the only thing that causes agent turnover.
So, what do agents really want? Pretty much what every employee wants: clear job expectations, achievable goals, supervisor support, a positive work environment, recognition for good work, a defined career path, a diverse workload and the tools they need to do a good job.
Variety is the spice of life
Providing agents with a more interesting and diversified workload so that they are not doing the same things, day after day, hour after hour can prove difficult.
Using intraday management technology, individualized training, coaching, updates, knowledge base reviews and other off-phone work are delivered to agent desktops during natural downtimes in call volume.
Agents gain variety in their daily schedule while managers are able to “find” additional time for training and coaching by making idle time useful. When call volume unexpectedly spikes, agents are automatically prompted to return to answering calls.
Agents stay interested while improving their knowledge and skills at the same time. They get the information they need to handle complex customer inquiries and provide a consistent customer experience – all without negatively affecting service levels.
In centers supporting multiple channels, agents can also be provided the opportunity to support different channels as they gain additional skills for even more variety in their daily routine.
Immediately put new knowledge to work
Contact center agents are constantly updating their skills and many centers rely on manual processes to update queues to reflect these changes in competencies, which results in delays.
With intraday management, agents’ skill profiles and queue associations are automatically updated so that they can begin using their new skills immediately. Conversely, if performance issues crop up, automating the removal of an agent from a queue where they’re struggling, providing them with personalized development and adding them back when they prove they’re ready lets agents know that the organization is invested in making them better.
Customers benefit because they can quickly reach an agent who is equipped to answer their question or solve their problem, while supervisors and managers are freed to spend more time coaching agents to make them better at their jobs.
Recognition for a job well-done
Contact centers need a way to make it easy to motivate and incentivize agents. With predefined business rules, supervisors can be alerted when agents reach established benchmarks or when they have exceeded performance thresholds so that they can be immediately recognized. Additional opportunities exist to even reward high performers with first right of refusal on voluntary time off or other flexibility in their schedule.
On-the-spot help when needed
Alerts can also let supervisors know about declining performance or when a call has gone on too long so that they can offer coaching and support to the agent in real-time before service levels are adversely affected.
Happy agents, happy customers
Diversifying the work, providing opportunities for getting better and recognizing performance go a long way towards improving agent satisfaction. The tools to make that easier and more meaningful help centers get serious about retention without sacrificing key metrics or efficiency.
Contact centers that leverage intraday management technology to help agents deliver a consistent customer experience ultimately provide better customer service, which leads to more satisfied agents and customers.
Intradiem, formerly Knowlagent, is the leader in intraday management solutions for contact centers. Intradiem equips our customers with business reflexes that immediately and consistently respond to unpredictable events and conditions. Reflexes such as intraday task management, intraday staffing, reskilling, channel balancing, and real-time alerts improve business performance by over 20 percent. More than 450,000 contact center, field service, retail, bank branch, and back office employees around the world use Intradiem’s solution every day. For more information, call 888-566-9457 or visit www.intradiem.com.
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