Without the right management, your contact center will not run at peak performance. Great contact center management leads to a great experience for the customer. However, poor management means your agents won’t be serving customers to the best of their ability.
Also, your overall CRM model will suffer. Reducing attrition and increasing cross-department collaboration will improve your contact center. Take a look at the 5 keys below. See what it takes to manage a high-powered contact center.
Call centers have traditionally high turnover rates. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers aged 20-24 stay with a company for about one year. Workers aged 25-34 stay between 2-3 years. The majority of call center workers fall within this age range. However, the industry attrition rate is over 30%. Daily encounters with difficult customers add to the stressful nature of the industry. Combine that with long hours and you have low motivation. Without investing in your employee’s morale, your contact center will fall into this cycle. In addition, a high attrition rate equates to higher costs through wasted investments. Plus, you now have to train a new set of employees, who are unknown quantities. You also need to set aside the time and resources to do so. Finally, keeping proven employees should be a priority. Unfortunately, it’s often not treated as such in large call centers.
Knowing your employees
Get to know your employees before the customer does. Consider the 3 factors below.
- Great attitude
Good customer service reps aren’t easily frazzled. They know how to be professional at all times. Also, they are also highly receptive to learning new skills. In customer service, that means having a degree of mental maturity. The agent must not let the customer’s mood affect their own. A great way to asses this trait is through mock call sessions. By using prescreening methods, you avoid the upfront cost of investing in poor talent.
- Cutting costs
Research from the Human Resource Institute shows a cost of $10,000-$15,000 for replacing a trained employee. High performers and managers are included in this statistic. Losing them hurts your contact center management. Therefore, avoiding high attrition is a no-brainer for cutting costs.
Training should include a virtual classroom for remote agents. In-house agents usually receive 3-4 weeks of classes prior to their first engagement. Also, new agents should get plenty of practice with your contact center software. That way, they hit the ground running at your live-call date. Learning software during the first few calls can be disastrous. As a result, it causes a negative experience for the new agent. This also increases attrition rates. Thus, it pays to develop a smart onboarding process as part of contact center management.
Giving employees incentives beyond a weekly paycheck is important. This can be easily accomplished if agents feel like they are part of a team. Give them a goal that works well with your bottom line. Further, managers should hold monthly evaluations of agents. They can use feedback and coaching, for example. Managers should address problem areas, and offer a recognition system like “employee of the month” to reward strengths. Display the employee of the month on a bulletin board. Add on stats, like the number of satisfied customers and positive feedback from customers. Start to show off the traits that make for great customer service agents. That way, others can see why that agent is employee of the month. A system like this promotes growth in your call center. Agents will naturally strive to better themselves, using the employee of the month as an example. Finally, offer rewards for months of high performance. These can be lunches for the whole office or a quarterly bonus payment.
Cross-department collaboration is necessary for complete contact center management. Most importantly, no one in the call center should be a stranger. Therefore, departments should have meetings several times per year. A lack of communication causes problems that could have been avoided, and worsens the customer experience. What if a customer has a question about shipping, or a software issue? Being caught off guard gives both agent and customer a bad experience due to a lack of information. Cross-department collaboration helps avoid holes in communication. It makes certain that agents have the information they need. Consequently, it increases the odds of a positive customer experience.
A Microsoft 2015 customer service study shows us that 57% of customers prefer self-service. If they can’t solve their own problem, they pick up the phone. Your self-service model needs to be useful to this group. After all, it’s their first taste of your customer service. A positive self-service experience leads to a positive customer experience. Most of all, it leads to more motivated and high-powered agents. Many companies today move the customer toward self-service. There are a few reasons for this. One is the convenience and speed for both company and customer. However, if your self-service model fails to deliver, it backfires.
In conclusion, great contact center management is the means to long-term growth. Promote communication and collaboration, even between departments that don’t typically work together. Also, you need to maintain a positive relationship with your agents. Provide milestones for them to measure progress. By encouraging a team effort, you create a CRM model based on growth and goals. This is much better than setting a quota. Pick your agents wisely and avoid the costs of high attrition. Stay on top of your call center management and don’t take it lightly. Your entire operation depends on its efficiency.