Published: August 27, 2013 | Comments
It’s a fact: agents who are more knowledgeable and confident about handling customer inquiries are better at their jobs, more satisfied, and as a result, less likely to leave your company.
Think about it. Fundamentally, call center agents aren’t that different from any other employee. They want to do a good job, earn positive feedback, and, perhaps above all, they want to feel that their employer is invested in their success.
Helping agents improve their knowledge and skills so that they can be more successful at handling customers includes many kinds of performance improvement initiatives and sometimes, it requires individualized training and coaching. This takes time, which is an all too scarce resource in the call center. Assessing individual agents’ skills and weaknesses and then taking them off the phones to provide meaningful training – all without negatively affecting service levels – is a major challenge in even the best run centers.
But what if agents could improve their productivity and performance on their own? What if they could proactively serve themselves?
Finding time for better performance
Taking agents off the phone for training means more agents are needed on the floor to cover incoming calls. In addition to being inefficient and expensive, manually managing off-phone activities around fluctuating call volume is complicated and time-consuming.
The truth is, agents have plenty of time to complete off-phone activities like training and coaching while they sit at their desks, waiting for the next call. In fact, the average agent spends five weeks each year sitting idle at their desks. The only catch is that this time comes in very small increments – most just a few minutes at a time.
Intraday management technology can enable contact centers to take advantage of this idle time by aggregating natural downtimes in call volume and automatically delivering off-phone activities designed to improve agents’ skills and knowledge. When call volume spikes, agents are automatically prompted to return to answering calls so that service levels are not negatively affected.
Agents take charge!
These technologies are revolutionizing the way agents improve their skills and productivity as agents take an active role in their performance improvement.
Opportunities can be created for agents to engage in guided “self-service” based on their individual strengths and weaknesses. For example, a library of tasks can be created for agents including courses, knowledge base reviews, practices or any other type of self-directed work that would help them improve their knowledge and skills. These tasks can then be bundled to create a prioritized curriculum based on individual agents, group performance or even specific call center metrics.
The best part is that content is delivered dynamically, enabling agents to “serve themselves” when the timing is right, based on service levels, performance and activity type, delivering the highest priority task first. When an agent completes a curriculum or increases performance enough to qualify for a new skill, queues are automatically updated to avoid manual updates and to give agents a chance to get started using their new skills.
To help monitor the self-guided aspect, if an agent is taking too long in one area or struggling to complete assigned tasks, for example, a supervisor can be alerted to assess the situation and offer additional coaching.
Proactive agents, satisfied customers
Not only is agent training and coaching necessary to improve agent performance and satisfaction, it is critical to an overall positive customer experience.
Call centers must be able to identify downward trends in performance and react in time to make a difference. By automating the process with intraday management technology, agents get the training and coaching they need before service metrics are impacted and can take an active role in their performance and productivity.
The result is a more satisfied agent workforce – and more satisfied 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, queue management, 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.