For any call center, phone agent performance is the bedrock of your call centers success. When individual phone agents are motivated and engaged with their work, they tend to perform better than disenfranchised, unmotivated agents.
Unfortunately, as highlighted in polls by Gallup, a majority of employees, 51%, were still not engaged and 17.5% were actively disengaged at work. These unmotivated workers put a drain on a companys resources and performance, limiting success.
To improve key call center metrics, call center managers need to find ways to drive the desire to succeed among individual phone agents.
But, what are the biggest obstacles to phone agent engagement, and how can call centers overcome them?
Key Engagement Challenges
In a recent report on employee engagement & satisfaction across different industries in the U.S., TINYpulse highlighted 3 main drivers of dissatisfaction and disengagement among employees: unsupportive managers, not having the tools for success, and lacking opportunities for professional growth.
These three obstacles to engagement are just as present in the call center industry as they are in other industries. Here are a few quick tips to help you overcome these obstacles and increase your phone agents drive to succeed:
Tip #1: Become a Coaching Expert
Its often said people quit managers, not jobs. Research by both Gallup and TINYpulse seems to support this notion. In fact, the TINYpulse report notes 49% of employees [show] levels of dissatisfaction with their direct supervisor.
The best solution for this issue is to find ways to improve the employee/employer relationship. When employees see the relationship with their managers as unsupportive or even adversarial, they tend to become disengaged. To counter this, its important for managers to become supportive coaches, spending time and effort with phone agents as opportunities arise to improve phone agent skills, not in retrospect weeks or months after a poor interaction with customers.
By being better coaches, managers can not only improve phone agent skills and performance, but they can also provide improved support to those phone agents and build employee engagement.
Tip #2: Establish a Clear Standard for Career Growth/Advancement
The call center industry has an enormous turnover rate for phone agents. As noted in an article by Chron.com, across the entire industry, call centers replace 26 percent of their front-line agents annually. Many call center operations realize employee attrition rates at a much greater level.
Replacing phone agents as they leave the company can be expensive, and the loss of a highly-skilled agent can be particularly painful, as agents with strong soft skills are hard to come by.
One commonly cited reason for veteran phone agents to leave a call center is that they feel theyve hit a wall in their career advancement. According to the Chron.com article, many workers in this industry are you and use a call center job as a way to make quick cash and then move on to more lucrative fields.
In other words, the call center is seen as a temp job rather than as a viable career. Fixing this issue can be a challenge, but its not an insurmountable one. Creating a clear standard for career growth or advancement within the company can yield impressive results for motivating phone agents.
The exact nature of this career growth/advancement path may change depending on the nature of your call center. For example, larger enterprise call centers in the banking industry might have a system in place to farm members of the call center team for transfer to more lucrative departments.
Other call centers might establish specialist teams for dealing with specific products, customer issues, or accounts that have commensurate increases in status and pay.
Tip #3: Give Your Phone Agents the Tools They Need to Succeed
Few things kill the drive to succeed faster than the feeling that youre being set up to fail. When phone agents are denied access to the tools they need for success, they will quickly become disenfranchised with their work, and their results will suffer for it.
Providing agents with success-building tools such as predictive voice analytics that improves agent-customer engagement and improves their success rates is crucial for not only driving results, but keeping employees engaged and motivated to succeed.
Predictive voice analytics software analyzes customer emotions and behaviors on a call, creating assessments of tone and mood that allow the softwares machine learning algorithm to predict future behaviors. Armed with this information, its possible to tell which customers are most likely to provide a positive response on a second call.
By giving phone agents the tools they need to succeed, you can reinforce employee confidence while increasing results. This helps keep employees motivated to succeed and stay on.
There are many ways to drive your call centers success. Find out more about how predictive voice analytics can help you improve key performance metrics today!