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Three Highly Effective Strategies to Retain Call Center Employees

Three Highly Effective Strategies to Retain Call Center Employees

[fa icon="calendar"] Jan 21, 2016 2:24:00 PM / by Briana Songer

Briana Songer

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As you start a new year, you're likely evaluating, reflecting, and planning around your call center's employee performance and quality process. Do you really know how satisfied they are in their jobs, or if they're doing their jobs as efficiently as possible? How is this ultimately affecting your customer satisfaction results?

Traditionally, call centers struggle with retaining employees for long periods, often due to the rote nature of the job or lengthy onboarding periods with little positive reinforcement. This can cost you time and money.

Let's talk new approaches.

New thinking to refresh old school tools in three areas:

  • Analyzing performance and incentive management
  • Encouraging communication and social collaboration
  • Getting results and value from new tools

Three Highly Effective Strategies to Retain your Call Center Employees 

Strategy 1: Drive Data Down to Agent Level in Real-Time

Yes, we know you're measuring typical call handling metrics and recording calls. That's great! But if you're still tracking metrics on an Excel file and sending out weekly emails (or even less frequently), then your agents probably feel like getting results is harder than breaking the Davinci Code. And trust us, this surprise! approach does not motivate them to improve. It confounds and frustrates them and hurts your customers.

Data cannot continue to be a secret to your front-line employees. Regularly driving performance results down to the agent level is the key to bringing systematic change in skills and behaviors.

According to a call center management study from Cranfield University, performance management is defined as quantifying the efficiency and effectiveness of past action.

The challenge here isn't just deciding which key performance indicators to measure, but the next best and most appropriate action. What do you do with the data? Are the agents seeing the data consistently and frequently in order to improve?

Use this approach meter to see where you stand and what you can do to improve:

1st Tier:  I'm measuring the right stuff:

You're recording calls and setting 4-5 measurable KPIs (key performance indicators). You check the data and understand their strengths and weaknesses. You've set achievable goals around typical call handling metrics: Length of time on call, abandonment rate, call resolution, speed of answer, etc.

But don't forget to measure soft skills too. Oftentimes customers care equally about how they are treated on the call as they do about getting their question answered. 

2nd Tier: I'm using an automated tool to display and feed data to agents:

You're taking advantage of technology by integrating it with your existing CRM or pulling data from Excel files using this tool; you're increasing efficiency and displaying data in real-time (yeah, I'm talking like every 10 minutes, not every 10 days).

Wait, you're not? Still using dinosaur methods and sharing by email? Uh-oh.

3rd Tier: I'm closing the loop on data by taking next best actions:

You're doing monthly contests and recognizing people when you have time. Coaching-you've got weekly face-to-face meetings with agents. But are you using automated tools as well to make this process more frequent and consistent? 

This is one major area PlayVox offers new capabilities: we help you recognize top performers and coach bottom performers in minutes with our automated tools

4th Tier: I'm measuring customer experience and driving it down to agent level:

You're doing voice of customer surveys, spending a lot of time gathering all the data, and someone high up is seeing the results. What about the agents?

Remember how we talked about being transparent with the agents? Use a VOC tool to gauge, not guess, how customers feel the agents are responding. And get those results to agents in real-time. Use the customers' voice to drive your decisions around next metrics, goals, and best actions to help agents perform better. 

Call center employees that stay challenged and engaged with their performance are more apt to stay in their jobs. So make them your first priority so they can make your customers their first priority.  

Strategy 2: Give Agents a Safe-Haven to Grow as a Team

As noted again by the Cranfield University study, far too many call center employees have high stress levels and emotional burnout. The study even suggests working at the front-line customer service level produces the same amount of stress coal miners go through!

Most call centers have a common goal to solve customer problems as efficiently and amiably as possible. It's essential to provide emotional support for your employees so they have a place to express their concerns, questions, as well as successes.

PlayVox offers a unique solution for professional sharing of call center life. With our community wall, agents feel more connected with their superiors and valued by their company. That's because they have a secure place to exchange ideas, take polls, ask questions, and post peer-to-peer recognition. Team leaders can take advantage of this communication among agents to spot trends and take action quickly. 

True employee satisfaction works in tandem with performance and quality analysis. When employees have the right balance of operational efficiency and intellectual engagement, they feel more motivated to make customers happy. 

Strategy 3: Connect the Dots Between Employee Engagement and Gamification

Here at PlayVox, we've done numerous case studies on how gamification can be applied to workforce engagement and managagement to make your team more productive. In fact, that's all we do! Call center and customer support operations are our specialty.

Our customers have found that in conjunction with the above strategies, gamification in terms of employee engagement brings significant improvements in employee retention, saving you big bucks.

Real Customer Outcomes Linked to PlayVox:

Bottom Line:

Your customers are becoming more demanding with their expectations of customer service every day. They are proactive and not afraid to voice their opinions of your service on every social channel available.

Providing a consistent and fresh approach to workforce engagement and quality management can give your support team the leg up it needs to provide the best possible customer experience. 

Ready for a fresh approach? Contact us here at PlayVox to learn more about gamification and other techniques to retain your best call center employees this year.

 

Topics: Workforce Optimization, employee engagement, retention

Briana Songer

Written by Briana Songer

Marketing Director at PlayVox

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