8 Ways to Improve the Work Performance of your Call Center Agents
In today’s world, customer service is a key driver of a company’s success. Until a few years ago, customers used to be satisfied with just getting an answer to their questions. But that’s not the case anymore.
Nowadays, customers have many opportunities to interact with companies and they expect more than just answers. In fact, around 90% of Americans consider a brand’s level of customer service when deciding whether to do business not. So in order to retain clients, agents have to engage them and present some great skills.
Usually, the first indication of a problem is a sudden drop in performance among your customer service agents. Based on call statistics you might discover an increase in complaints, a drop in answered calls, or a higher number of complaints that failed to be resolved within the required timeframe.
So, how can you prevent this dropoff from happening? What are some of the ways you can improve the work performance of your call center agents? Read on to find out.
Skills Customer Service Agents Need to Excel
A call center agent’s job is to answer clients’ inquiries and provide them with excellent customer service. They also need to have a wide range of skills to handle various types of customer calls and provide solutions to those dissatisfied with a product or service. However, representatives need specific competencies that support their job performance to do this.
There are many skills contact center agents need to learn and constantly improve in order to be successful. These include:
- basic customer service skills such as empathy, active listening, and problem-solving
- communication skills like assertiveness and politeness
- sales skills like storytelling, persuasion, and negotiation
A well-trained and experienced customer service agent will also need to be a team player who follows company policies and procedures. But all these skills are just a drop in the ocean of responsibilities of a great customer service agent, especially when maintaining high-level performance is a priority.
How to Improve Your Agents’ Performance
The more skills a certain job requires, the more difficult it is to master. And though mastery takes hard work, and dedication, the outcome is well worth it.
To help you and your team get started, we’ve prepared this 10-step guide on the absolute essentials of improving customer agent performance.
Focus on one task at a time
If you want to improve the work performance of your call center agents, you need to get them to focus on one task at a time. The human brain is not designed to multitask. Even just having a “next step” in the back of your mind can be a big distraction and cause mistakes.
So, if you want to help your agents with the work overload and improve their performance, don’t give them new tasks to complete while they’re still busy with the last one.
Also, make sure that you provide them with all of the resources they need to complete their assignment.
Be more organized
The organization is key to improving work performance as a service agent. When agents are well-organized, they are more likely to remember things and finish tasks more quickly, giving customers a better image of your company. The most important thing is to set up a system that fits the individual needs and work styles of particular agents, helping them be more productive and less stressed.
Here are a few more things you can do to help your agents stay organized:
- Schedule tasks in a planner, online calendar, or app
- Break down tasks into smaller steps to make them less daunting
- Set deadlines and train making time estimates
Set stretch goals
Achieving stretch goals is not an easy task. However, they are well worth the effort if you can pull them off. Here’s how you can improve your agent’s performance using stretch goals.
Set realistic goals:
Try to set realistic goals to not frustrate and discourage your agents. For example, if your goal is to increase sales by 50% in the next month, but an agent has never made a single sale before, they’ll be overwhelmed. Instead, assign an achievable task like increasing sales by 10%.
Be accountable for your own actions:
Setting stretch goals is easier said than done, so being accountable for your own actions can help motivate agents further. Try to meet your own (achievable) objectives and you will quickly see others do the same.
Ask your coworkers for feedback
Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees. That’s when an outside perspective can really help. However, you should make sure the person you’re asking has a good understanding of what the work entails and its associated expectations to get some valuable insights.
This will help you find out what exactly is expected from agents and how well or badly you are doing in relation to these expectations. A good solution would be to arrange monthly meetings during which agents and other employees can share feedback and exchange opinions with one another.
What’s more, remember that being open to constructive criticism is important. After all, the reason why you are asking somebody to rate others’ performance is that you are looking for ways to improve it.
Therefore, keep in mind that not everything your coworkers say will be positive. Don’t worry, though — the faster you work on making improvements, the sooner you’ll be able to boost work performance!
Learn more about top performers
Just like agents can benefit from asking others for feedback, they should also look up to their top-performing peers. This will give them a better understanding of what it takes to be one of the best, and they’ll have a clearer idea of what they need to do to achieve their goals.
Apply the Pareto 80/20 Rule
Devised by the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, the Pareto Principle (also known as the 80/20 rule) states that 80% of all outcomes come from 20% of the causes.
It can be applied to many aspects of both life and work. For example, in an office environment, most of the company’s profits come from 20% of the employees. Similarly, roughly 80% of all call center customer complaints are caused by 20% of the clients.
However, this principle can also be used to improve work performance. It is possible to identify the 20% of agents producing 80% of the results and then provide them with additional training or resources so that they can perform even better in their jobs. They can also become role models for the rest of the team to learn and benefit from.
Learn How to Match a Task with the Allotted Time
There are various tasks that agents must complete, and each one will require a different amount of time. Chatting with customers, filling out documents, updating cases, and creating reports just to name a few.
You should find out which tasks produce the best results for the least effort and then allocate them accordingly to agents who excel at them.
Use online productivity tools
The use of online productivity tools can help call center agents be more productive and efficient. Some call center agents prefer to use online productivity tools, such as Asana or Trello to help improve their productivity.
For example, CloudTalk is an excellent tool to cut down on the time that your agents waste on administrative tasks. For example, you can use call pop to display customer information before a call even starts and help agents prepare for the call better. This is just one of the many ways CloudTalk can improve your agents’ productivity.
This way, agents don’t have to worry about forgetting their tasks or getting overwhelmed with them because everything stays organized and in one place. The use of online productivity tools is very helpful for call center agents because these tools help increase the efficiency of their work performance.
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Get ready to have the best call center agents ever
Now you know how to improve the performance of a call center agent. If you’re interested in learning more about aspects like effective communication, call center job responsibilities, and more, do check out similar publications on our blog.