How to Improve Call Center Performance

As customer experience and service is increasingly becoming a strategic priority for companies, the need to improve call center performance seems to have become one of the most crucial aspects for success.

With advent in the trend of customer service, call center leaders have come under more pressure to ramp up their center performance. Having good quality agents is not enough for any call center to succeed. Here are some tips that will help these leaders understand their challenges and work on them.

How to Improve Call Center Performance

Create the Right Perception

To begin with, it is important to lead and manage the mindset of your employees to accomplish your goals. Your call center employees should work with the right perception towards customer loyalty and revenue-generating. The first step to development of this perception is to train the employees with right attitude.

They should be taught techniques to deal with different type of customers with integrity and sincerity. Remember, perception matters a lot. More than your employees know the importance of customers, it is important for your customers to enjoy talking to your representatives at any hour of the day.

Use Outcome-Based Measurements

Make sure you keep a track of the performance of your call center agents. Be specific when scoring them. Scores should be assigned on the basis of specifics such as outcomes, customer feedback and level of interaction. It is important to maintain proper records of all the employees’ performances and share them with your employees as a part of weekly performance feedback. Your employees should be aware that they are being monitored at every level, so they try and give their best on every call.

Rethink About Your Hiring Philosophy

Hiring right people is very important when it comes to call center staff. People you hire should have good communication skills, right attitude and will to serve customers with their best interest. Prepare a list of questions that you should ask all the potential employees to figure out if they are the right candidate or not. They should be able to answer all the questions confidently without thinking about their selfish motives.

Think Integration To Improve Call Center Performance

A smooth functioning call center operation is like a complete puzzle. All the pieces need to be fit together in the right way to create integrated approach. One most critical piece of the call center puzzle is the “front-line” agent training. Training initiatives usually do not incorporate company’s particular processes, products and systems. They also tend to ignore the brand and culture promise, which have the ability to create lasting positive impact.

In addition to integration on macro level in the company, call center trainings are more result oriented when product, system and soft skills are taught in an organized and integrated manner. When “front-line” call center agents learn various kind of skills, they often have to face certain challenging for right implementation of those skills.

An integrated call center training method also allows agents to practice and learn all the necessary skills in context of customer interactions that they are likely to experience in the real world.

Coach and When You’re Done, Coach More

Effective coaching or training might be one of the most frequently neglected call center performance improvement opportunities. It is critical to provide the employees and managers with right coaching to ensure the development of their skills, techniques and methods that they need to handle the customers proficiently. The things learned during the training must be practiced and consistently applied where they matter.

In order to improve call center performance, there are many effective ways to coach. But, it is also necessary to eliminate some ineffective coaching methods such as “drive by” coaching. Also, in many call centers the coaching is provided after the interaction has taken place and most of the times the interactions are also not done in the right context.

Make sure you develop a process where agents can respond to customer in a real manner. Coach them to develop unique customer interaction keeping in mind the practical and emotional needs of customers. This leads to real, least-perceived and low-effort experience for customers on the other end.

Make your coach listen to the agent’s actual calls and let him give the feedback. He should be able to make the caller understand his flaws in communications and help him develop better. Coaching for improving call center performance should be regular, immediate, consistent, positive and engaging.

Exercise Right Leadership Skills

Last, but not the least. The extent to which an established call center is ultimately successful is primarily driven by the behaviors and actions of those with management and leadership skills. This clearly means that apart from constant monitoring of employees’ performance, managing service levels and other key performance indicators is also important.

Call center leaders should determine the targeted outcomes based on different cultural of the call center. Call center leaders should know how to set targets and expectations for outcomes that are realistic, reachable and capable of holding managers and supervisors accountable for meeting objectives and goals In addition to this, call center leaders should have high-level of familiarity and be supportive of performance initiatives, while demonstrating leadership presence.

Supervisors, team leaders, quality assurance personnel, and operations managers must be aware of the front-line call center skills and behaviors that agents need to comply with to be able to perform well. Without these things in mind, no performance improvement efforts will go ineffective for a long time.

Improving call center performance need not be a daunting endeavor. It doesn’t even mean necessarily busting the budget. However, in order to get into the new mindsets, it is important to think differently and find out fresh ways to get into the psychology of agents. To pave the way for the right kind of skills and behaviors one needs to work accordingly at all levels to produce positive and meaningful change, leading to better and long-term results.

To sum up, having the right perception, hiring, measuring performance, coaching, training, and managing and leading are some ways that call centers leaders can use to improve call center performance.

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Amy Clark is the Lead Author & Editor of IWantItNow Blog. Amy established the Customer Engagement blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to customer service, support and engagement.
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