7 Tips to Improve Agent Experience in a Call Center
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
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
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
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
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
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.