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7 Tips to Improve Agent Experience in a Call Center


Presented By: CrmXchange

Contributed article by Manpreet Chawla

When it comes to great businesses, we all know the importance of providing a seamless and positive customer experience in the customer contact center. However, have we also thought about how to improve the agent experience? 

Customer and agent experience go hand-in-hand towards ensuring a great customer experience. Agents are the backbone of a customer contact system. Hence, investing in strengthening this foundation is just as crucial as the foundation of a building.

However, the agent experience (AX) is an area that is still often overlooked. The key indicator of this neglect is reflected in the high turnover rate of call center agents up to as high as 58 percent yearly, which ultimately affects the overall customer experience.

Let us look at ways to improve agent experience in call centers.

1. Make coaching and training a continuous routine 

While every call center provides training on hiring new agents, they often treat the training process as one-and-done exercise. However, investing in regular training has proven to not only decrease turnover rate, it also leads to better customer service.

Offering regular training to agents has shown to keep them motivated and alert as it diversifies their skill sets and helps escape the monotony of performing repetitive tasks.

2. Giving agents flexibility in their work arrangements 

According to an interview taken by Ross Daniels, Chief Marketing Officer of Calabrio, flexible scheduling, shift trading and shift bidding are tactics that are becoming increasingly popular in the industry. 

This kind of flexibility helps the agents to work with their personal schedules as well. Another popular move is the possibility of online self-serve while choosing paid-time-off (PTO) as this would allow the employees to plan their off days in advance. 

3. Empower the agents with up-to-date technology

Every contact center has goals according to its business requirements. Therefore, it is important to have tools and technology that is specific to the needs and goals of the business in order to enhance the agent and customer experience. 

4. Encourage self-mentoring and collaboration among the agents 

One effective feedback mechanism is to encourage self-mentoring amongst the agents. Perhaps scheduling a huddle time after self-mentoring would be great for discussing what went right and what needs improvement in the upcoming calls with a fresh mind. 

The agents can also practice calls with one another in order to encourage teamwork and collaboration amongst them. This will also add to a positive work environment.

Contact centers can also adopt synergy sessions where agents, managers and trainers assess the calls to ensure quality standards are met. Studies show that agents who attend regular calls outperform the rest of their peers by a range of 5 - 20 per cent.

5. Promote skill-based routing 

In an industry where repetition is inevitable, developing multichannel agents could prove to be very effective. By doing so, agents get to expand their skill set and have diversified work days. 

By training customer agents to become competent in multiple channels, agents are equipped with the opportunity to discover their strengths and interests, further ensuring their performance and overall satisfaction. 

For instance, some agents might do great when resolving customer queries and problems on call, while others might do a better job at handling chats and emails. Hence, working with the agent’s strengths while also their pain-points would help to their productivity in the workplace. 

6. Use technology for a hassle free experience

Let’s face it. Call agents are faced with hundreds of queries daily and in an age when customer experience is key, there is also high expectation from the agents. Quick resolutions in the shortest possible handle time is a tough ask.

Leveraging technology such as a knowledge management system in this instance would simplify the process. A centralized repository knowledge base would mean that agents would not have to toggle between apps, try to recollect from memory or disturb their colleagues for solutions. 

7. Applaud a job well done 

Recognizing consistent performance and awarding best practices through incentives and positive feedback are some ways to motivate an agent’s efforts. Acknowledging the role that agents add to a business by enhancing the customer experience is only a small way to appreciate the integral role they play towards the business’s success. 

However, incentives should be targeted towards benefitting both the agent and the business. For example, incentivizing quick problem resolution by an agent should go hand in hand with the quality of service provided, not merely measured on how fast the task was done.

To sum up, focusing on bettering agent experience is just as important as customer experience as the two go hand-in-hand. Businesses can adopt practices such as a continuous feedback and training loop, encourage mentoring and collaboration, as well as leverage technology as some of the ways to improve AX at a contact center.