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Engaging Your Call Center Team

Posted: by: Chuck Ciarlo

When the objective is agent engagement, the one option that should always be off the table is to do nothing. But as this recent ICMI article describes, that’s exactly what some call centers do.

When you do nothing, that’s exactly what you get in return. And how do think customers react when they are forced to deal with uninspired, unmotivated and perhaps even incompetent call center personnel?
So why do some call centers take the attitude that since agent turnover is already high, it’s a waste of time and resources to invest in agents that may be gone next month?
The probable answer is that employee engagement takes more than a quick fix to get right. One technology upgrade in workforce optimization software or workforce management can solve a slew of problems, but alone it won’t create positive attitude adjustments among the agents using the system.
Here are 5 steps you can take that should make a difference. Add these to a workplace where employees are respectfully treated, and watch how agent turnover slows.

1. Ditch the Assembly Line Attitude
It’s right to expect all of your agents to possess the same job skills, or train them toward that goal; it is not right to treat them all like the same generic person. The last conversation a manager has with an agent should not be the one that took place at the job interview. Get to know them as individuals.

2. Listen to Them
Agents are on the front lines of customer service, and they will have ideas on how methods or scripts can be altered to better serve customers. Listen to those ideas and reward those that are implemented. The more an agent feels like he or she is part of the company, the more likely they are to stick around.

3. A Little Praise
The old adage about attracting more flies with honey than vinegar is absolutely true. If John is doing a good job, let him know – don’t wait for his next employee review or training session.

4. Free Stuff
Another way to recognize valuable agents is to reward them. A gift certificate to a local restaurant or movie theater can do wonders for morale, and create a healthy competitive environment among shifts as other agents strive to be recognized.

5. Manage Mistakes
Did an agent mishandle a call? It’s going to happen, especially with newer hires. This is a training moment, a coaching moment, but not a “verbally dress down the agent on the floor” moment. Nobody’s perfect. Take the necessary steps to minimize such incidents, but insults and threats are not going to result in better performance or motivated employees. 

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