Call center management is a multifaceted role that requires regular review and strategic management planning. Performance and productivity are two of the most frequently mentioned buzzwords associated with a call center. Both need to be measured and assessed continuously to ensure that targets are met and excelled.
To ensure that your call center stays ahead of the pack and remains consistent service quality, clear strategies must be in place.
In this article, I will discuss some examples of how this can be achieved. Let’s go on.
4 great tips to improve call center performance
Make call center training an ongoing process
Obviously, new staff members receive thorough training before being let loose on the phones to represent the business. They may even be monitored for several weeks while they learn the ropes. However, the best call centers don’t stop there.
Having a training schedule that continues past induction is helpful, not only for maintaining quality but also for keeping employees engaged. Once the basics have been learned, the training can incorporate upskill modules that benefit employees, not only in the job’s performance at hand but their long-term career goals as well.
It need not always be formal training. However, all training should be measured for effectiveness. An effective and alternative method for continued training is to have the employees take turns to deliver monthly training sessions. Individuals or teams can do this themselves. It is a proven way of team bonding, sharing learnings with each other, developing a culture of continuous learning and collaboration, and boosting the confidence of call center executives which is a vital aspect of call center performance
Explain the why of KPIs
KPIs are an essential scale to measure the performance of individuals and teams on different business aspects. No call center is complete without its KPIs. While KPIs vary from business to business, how they are used to measure performance remains the same.
To help your employees understand the importance of KPIs, you need to explain why those KPIs are important. Rather than handing over a list of expectations, take new and existing employees through your business goals and values, and explain how the KPIs will help achieve those goals.
A common bugbear for call center staff and sales representatives is that KPIs feel personal and unfair. However, when call center teams understand that they are feeding into a company-wide goal and that KPIs help to measure how close that goal is from being met, they feel that they are part of something bigger and their motivation levels go up.
Understand & use the power of empowerment
Micromanagers have no place in the modern call center. I have heard horror stories about managers and supervisors who literally lean over staff’s shoulders as they make calls. Other nightmare scenarios include managers who demand a play by play of each conversation right after it’s done.
No one likes a control freak, and this type of management damages performance and increases staff turnover. If you want high-performing employees, you need to empower them with trust and freedom to execute their job.Empowering your call center staff to manage their day and tasks leads to confident, high performing staff. Studies have shown a direct link between trust and performance. In “Employee Trust and Workplace Performance,” a discussion paper published by The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn city of Germany, it’s found that employee trust is integral to positive performance at the workplace.
Interestingly, this study also found that when paid overtime and access to training were restricted, employee trust dropped. It’s noted in the report: “Our findings suggest that restricting paid overtime and access to training potentially erode employee trust.”
Therefore, if you want to improve the performance of your call center agents, you need to trust them with their abilities, pay them well for their efforts, and provide access to good training.
Keep it human
Every call center is about people – A fact that is often forgotten in times of high pressure. The risk of a too tightly governed call center is that the teams may end up being treated like robots. As a result, the atmosphere can be negatively impacted, and performance can take a hit. Well, robots can be programmed, not humans.
Avoid creating the type of call center that avoids interaction between staff and the one that encourages 100% on-the-phone time. Instead, ensure plenty of human moments throughout the day.
Some of the most successful call centers in the world have a warm-up ritual in the morning where the entire team joins in and kick-starts the day with collective energy. The rituals themselves often mean nothing but bonding and energetic activities. Like some of these team members bang drums and makeup motivating chants, others may sing, clap or do anything energetic and playful. More than the type of activity, it is the coming together of people that counts.
Your version of this doesn’t need to be the same. It could instead be a commitment to daily meetups for each team. Use them as check-ins and chances to just talk. You could also introduce a weekly game. For example, some offices of the global job search engine Indeed have Friday tournaments that have become legendary and are loved by all their staff.
I hope that with the above suggestions, you’ll be able to boost the motivation of your team members and take the performance of your call center—be it a cloud-based remote call center or one that is office-based—to the next level.
About the author: Michael Dehoyos is a performance specialist and editor at Academic Brits. He assists companies with their training plans and helps them introduce human moments.