In the call centre industry, employee turnover is high. Most call centre owners struggle to keep their employees longer than 6 months. The secret to keeping your agents is to make them happy. Their jobs are already very stressful so you should do your best to make their working environment happy. Here are a few tips.
Lead by example
Once in a while, you should join your agents and pick up the phone. Show them that you can do their jobs and achieve great results. Your agents will surely love it. This simple act will make them respect you more as a manager or as the owner of the company because they can see (and prove) that you can do it too.
By sitting with them, you will also be able to observe them. You can correct mistakes immediately. You can give them tips. You can demonstrate the right way of doing things. This practice will benefit both the company and the agents.
Listen to your agents
Your agents may not directly tell you how they feel but you can certainly listen to office “gossip”. Check out what people are saying when they’re in the drinking station or in the cafeteria. You can also ask their team leaders and supervisors. But, the best way to know how they feel is to ask them directly. You can hold a meeting with every team and ask them about their jobs, schedules, tasks, etc. You can also put an employee suggestion box in the pantry or any area that is frequented by your agents. Get your agents involved in company activities and even rule making so that they can feel that they are part of the company.
Set realistic schedules and workloads
Call centre agents are already burdened with calls from different kinds of customers day in and day out. Some customers are calling because they have a problem. Some are frustrated or angry. If your agents need to do some paperwork or other work aside from being on the phones, make sure that you give them realistic call centre performance targets. A heavy workload on top of a very stressful day will prevent your agents from giving the best service to your customers. They will end up just doing the job for the sake of it or for the salary and not because they want to do it or they want to excel in it. They will not go the extra mile for your customers.
Another thing to do is to set realistic schedules. Do not schedule your employees to work on a Monday night then take half of Tuesday off then expect them to be back after just 12 or 16 hours of rest. They need at least a full 24 hours of day off so that they can function well. You also have to remember that they have lives outside the call centre, families to take care of and they also need to unwind.
Set clear expectations
Aside from setting realistic schedules and workloads, you should also make it clear to your agents what you expect from them. They need to know their targets so that they can work towards them.
Really care about your agents
One way to show that you care about your agents is by knowing them personally. Take the time to develop relationships with them. Remember their names. Addressing them by their first names will make them feel good. Treat them as people, as individuals and not as nameless employees at a desk. They will surely want to do well.
Emphasize customer satisfaction
Some call centres assess their agents by the length of the call. Some contact centres want to keep the calls as short as possible but that does not always result to a satisfied customer. Also, timing your agents will just make them more pressured. Allow your agents to have plenty of time to make the customer satisfied. Supply them with resources to make this possible. Not only will you increase customer satisfaction but agent satisfaction as well.
Reward good performance
If you haven’t been doing this, well, have you been living under a rock? You should reward your agents when they perform well. The top performing agents should be rewarded for all their hard work. The reward can be money, an extra day off, a choice of their schedule, less workload for a day, some gift cards, a plaque on the wall with their photo or anything else that you can think of that will motivate your employees to always do their best.
Provide good equipment
Get rid of obsolete equipment. Your agents won’t be able to perform their job well if they are using outdated equipment. Provide them with the right technology so that they can do their jobs quickly and easily.
Ask your customers for feedback
At the end of every call, encourage your agents to ask their customer if they were happy with the resolution they have been given. Happy customers will result to happy agents.
Test new protocols
If you are planning to implement new protocols, rules or training, test them out first by running a pilot session with a select team. Ask for their feedback. Ask what makes the new protocol effective or not. What are the key strengths and key weaknesses of the new program? If your agents are part of the change, they will not be threatened to take on a new protocol just because management said so. They will feel more involved this way and won’t be hesitant to change.
Appoint an agent to be team leader for a day
Assign a new team leader for the day once in a while. This will allow everyone in the team to experience what it’s like to lead a team. They will also experience the responsibilities that come with it. The chosen agent will surely have a greater sense of purpose and will strive to get the best numbers because he or she is in-charge.