Management sets the tone for an efficient workplace. Good management knows how to manage its workforce. Great management keeps employees motivated and in line with the company strategy and goals.
However, poor call center management practices can cause some serious damage not only internally, but also at a customer service level.
I spoke with a few call center agents who shared with me their experience of how poor management can lower customer service.
We don't mean to point fingers, but it's important to address the heart of the issue in order to fix what need fixing and get the wheels greased up and running again!
Agents Share 7 Poor Call Center Management Practices
1. People are not held accountable
Transparency is important when it comes to setting performance standards. Clear metrics should be put in place to accurately measure employees' performance. This allows for managers to take the appropriate action based on the given results. Meaning that underperformers can be coached and overachievers can be recognized.
If employees are not held accountable, not only does management send a sign of weakness, but recognition or coaching cannot be assigned. Moreover, accountability helps maintain performance levels up to standard to ensure quality customer service.
2. Lame reward programs
Now that you are keeping employees accountable for their performance, it is important to reward them accordingly.
As you already know, teddy bears and free food just don’t cut it anymore. Try to think more along the lines of teambuilding, wellness classes, and a fabulous lunch with the director.
These are all rewards that can serve to engage employees, create a positive experience and help them be more in line with the company's goal and culture. It’s a double whammy!
3. Setting up wrong performance metrics
Metrics are what set performance standards and let employees know what they should achieve in X amount of time. These numbers allow employees to know how well they are doing their jobs. However, could it be that the metrics put in place in your company are actually hurting the quality of your customer service?
Here’s an example: Metrics put in place for agents can support company goals but hurt customer service. Do you have a metric so agents complete their calls under a certain amount of time? Instead, try a first-call-resolution metric. Not only will this avoid unhappy customers because your agents are trying to speed up the call process, but it might also decrease your number of callbacks. Who doesn’t like a win-win situation?
In short, setting up solid metrics and knowing what works and what doesn't will help employees better perform and improve your customer service.
4. Assigning long shifts
Maybe you're about to reach the peak season of your business and you need people to cover longer hours. Although most employees will probably not complain directly to you, such actions can leave employees disgruntled, tired and unmotivated, all of which can lead to a decrease in customer service. Even if assigning long shifts for the high season might seem like a good temporary solution, it can do more harm than good in the long run.
Remember that employees are a company’s most valued asset, so it’s always wise to try to keep them happy and healthy!
5. Poor staff training
Like releasing an animal that's been held in captivity, employees need to be taught how to survive in the wild land of call centers. Agents should be taught the ABCs of handling a call efficiently, Team Leaders should know how to boost motivation and handle their agents, and so on and so forth.
By receiving proper training, employees can perform to their maximum potential and handle situations accordingly. But training does not have to be for new hires only.
Refreshers can serve as a great way to make sure staff is in line with expectations. What’s important is that you put aside the time and the resources necessary to train employees to make their job easier and more productive.
When training is done right, quality is quick to follow.
6. Using old tools and technology
Today, there are so many tools available to help you save time and be more productive. Don't let Team Leaders spend all their time creating reports and analyzing the results. Take some time to research the right tools that would make a good match for your company. Believe it or not, there are better things out there than excel spreadsheets! Ignoring the potential benefits of technology can lower productivity and performance over time.
7. Not giving effective feedback
The objective of feedback is to serve as a tool to improve and develop employee performance. Sometimes it can even serve as an opportunity to motivate employees.
However, if not done right, feedback can be a synonym of criticism and make a person feel under attack and lower their morale. Make sure that feedback is supportive and handed out in a constructive manner that will help employees develop.
Remember that feedback not only opens doors for improvement but should also serve to praise and recognize a job well done.
Has your company practiced any of these poor call center management practices? If so, what steps have they taken to overcome their challenges and optimize their workforce? Let us know in the comment box below!