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10 ways a call center can communicate better with employees

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 18, 2013 8:52:24 AM / by Briana Songer posted in Feedback, Contact Center, call centers, tips

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Call centers are a hub of on-going communication, and it's necessary to be able to keep up with the flow of information. When the communication is effective, less mistakes are made, workflow is smoother and your employees are happier. There is always room to improve communication across all levels, even if the plan is well implemented and developed. Follow these simple tips to improve your internal communication. Call centers are a hub of on-going communication, and it's necessary to be able to keep up with the flow of information. When the communication is effective, less mistakes are made, workflow is smoother and your employees are happier. There is always room to improve communication across all levels, even if the plan is well implemented and developed. Follow these simple tips to improve your internal communication.

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13 easy tips to improve your call center agent performance

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 21, 2013 9:24:06 AM / by Briana Songer posted in Feedback, Contact Center, Agents, call centers, tips

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What do you do when your analysis shows that your agents are under-performing? This can be a touchy subject for many call centers as there are many agent performance factors that give you the ''big picture''. What things should you consider if you want to improve your overall performance in your call center?

What do you do when your analysis shows that your agents are under-performing? This can be a touchy subject for many call centers as there are many agent performance factors that give you the ''big picture''. What things should you consider if you want to improve your overall performance in your call center?

Focus on what's really important

1. Determine what you want to see when hitting goals, creating a certain type of environment or encouraging behavior.

Share the knowledge

2. Enforce good behavior by sharing the best known practices. For example, if you hear a good (or bad) call, share it with the group and have them highlight the strengths and weaknesses to improve training.

Everyone is their own worst critic

3. Have your agents listen to their own calls and grade them. Have them figure out what needs improvement. This not only helps them understand their abilities but it lets them take control of their performance.

Be Clear

4. Don't let it be a secret what your expectations are. Set precise goals that you want to see achieved and how you want to see them performed.

Build up those relationships

5. Get to know the people that work around you. Strong relationships build up influence that will give you the power to manage and achieve objectives more effectively.

User-friendly

6. Make your applications more user friendly for your agents. Take a look at their desktop and watch how they handle the technology and the customer on a call. Easy-to-use tech empowers and decreases frustration with your agents by giving them access to the right information at the right time.

Impossible goals?

7. Make your objectives realistic. Be sure to adjust the goals depending on if they are resulting as being too low or high. Agents will quickly burn out if things are too difficult.

Immediate Feedback

8. Give your agents timely feedback. This doesn't mean just giving a weekly report, but showing them live statistics to see how their performing. Post these on community boards or desktop applications.

Rewarding

9. Timely acknowledgements and rewards for great performance can go a long way. They can come in many forms so make sure you're not using the same reward for all. Click here for more tips about rewarding.

Change behavior

10. When you have employees who aren't meeting goals, investigate and correct instead of punishing. Ensure that they are 100% on board with what is expected and how they can get there. Let them know how they impact the team and how they can change to improve results. For tips on better ways to give feedback, see here.

Actually listen

11. Always keep your agents involved in all of your processes. Listen to them, get their feedback and use it.

Shadow

12. Have your agent listen in on a call with the quality monitoring manager. This will help them become more aware of what they observing and grading.

Pair them up

13. Have your good and bad agents work together. Have them (and your center) learn what is working and use this information as an aid for training. This lets everyone improve their own performance by gaining the top performers' knowledge and ideas.

There is always room for improvement in a call center. Just remember to keep empowering and encouraging your agents to build their confidence on this touchy subject. What tips have been helpful for you when trying to improve your agent performance?

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4 easy tips on avoiding bad self-service implementation

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 5, 2013 5:29:04 AM / by Briana Songer posted in Feedback, Contact Center, Agents, tips, training

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When a call center software is well implemented, it can come with a huge number of benefits that makes better use of company resources. For employees, it also means more convenient options, more empowerment and more informed choices.
However, even with all its benefits, introducing a new service presents its own risks that can negatively influence your call center. Check out the following tips to follow if you're planning on introducing a new service to your agents anytime soon.

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Why call center coaching is a good thing

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 26, 2013 7:16:37 AM / by Briana Songer posted in Feedback, Contact Center, Agents, Coaching, tips, Customer

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We all know that a customer's experience with a call center can dramatically change their opinion about a particular brand. Much of their experience lies in the hands of call center agents who must interact with them and turn the call into a positive experience.
For agents, it's not any easy job.

We all know that a customer's experience with a call center can dramatically change their opinion about a particular brand. Much of their experience lies in the hands of call center agents who must interact with them and turn the call into a positive experience.

For agents, it's not any easy job.

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Call Center trends that are gaining popularity

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 12, 2013 10:38:28 AM / by Briana Songer posted in supervisor, Feedback, Contact Center, call centers, tips, Customer

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With all the emerging technologies, customer demands and competition, call centers must adapt to and grow with the challenges and opportunities that come. Trends come and go, but its important that centers pay attention and utilize them to maintain a competitive strategy.
Take a look at recent trends that shouldn't be missed.With all the emerging technologies, customer demands and competition, call centers must adapt to and grow with the challenges and opportunities that come. Trends come and go, but its important that centers pay attention and utilize them to maintain a competitive strategy.

Take a look at recent trends that shouldn't be missed.

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6 easy ways to give better feedback

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 9, 2013 7:55:30 AM / by Briana Songer posted in Feedback, tips

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When you hear the word 'Feedback', you might get a chill come over you. In many businesses, the manager simply saves up all the comments and turns it into an annual ''constructive criticism'' meeting. No one likes being told their weak spots or how to''do your job better''. It's not just the employee that feels uncomfortable, its the employer that does too. It's a shame since giving feedback should be important moments to help communicate and engage your team. Take a look at the following tips to learn how to do it right and improve performance.

When you hear the word 'Feedback', you might get a chill come over you. In many businesses, the manager simply saves up all the comments and turns it into an annual ''constructive criticism'' meeting. No one likes being told their weak spots or how to''do your job better''. It's not just the employee that feels uncomfortable, its the employer that does too. It's a shame since giving feedback should be important moments to help communicate and engage your team. Take a look at the following tips to learn how to do it right and improve performance.

Understand the Purpose

Simply, know the specific reason you are giving feedback and what outcome you want. It'll make things a more positive experience for everyone.
Timing
Give appropriate feedback as close to the event as possible. Otherwise the event won't be as memorable and may come across as mundane and insincere. Unless, of course...it's a highly emotional situation. Then, wait to make sure things have calmed down.
Consistent
Feedback shouldn't be given once a year. Feedback should be both formal and informal. So, say something when appropriate and say it often depending on the situation. Don't wait for annual or quarterly appraisals. Instead, actively look for feedback moments. Think about the people you work closely with and communicate any positive things they have done recently.
Prepare
It takes skill to give effective feedback. Like all learned skills, practice to build confidence and improve the manner in which you give feedback. Make sure that you have your comments ready and clear about what you are going to say. It helps you stick to the main point and stay specific. "You're doing a great job" is nice, but really doesn't specifically tell the recipient what was important. Effective feedback is more powerful because it shows sincerity and that your were actually paying attention. Get your facts right and don't assume things.
Be Understanding
Praise in public and criticize in private. Be sure to use ''I'' statements that are from your perspective. If preparing to give negative feedback, try starting out with a (meaningful) positive comment to help make the person feel more comfortable. Give them suggestions and goals as well. Show that you care and are willing to help the person. Look at the areas where they are doing well and try to understand how they can apply that part of their work to particular areas they are struggling with. Employees can use their strengths across different parts of their work.
Listen
Get the other person's perspective by asking thought provoking questions: ''What's your reaction to what I'm saying?'', ''Do you feel this is a fair representation?'' This helps you both work together to come up with a solution and then follow through with it. Observe reactions to your comments to see if the message is being received. Listening helps you empower the employee to succeed as opposed to making them feel unappreciated.
Follow Up
Even after the conversation is over, find them to see if there are any remaining concerns they may have. This will help keep communication open between you and your team members. Be sure to document your conversations to help for any future conversations that will help improve overall performance. Many times the employee will feel a bit vulnerable and need time to digest the information they were just given before they give a response.
Feedback builds and reinforces the connection between you and your team. While it does take practice, successful feedback communication has the potential to improve your workplace. Investing in people gives you far higher returns since without it, people will feel invisible and insignificant. They may feel that their work has been taken for granted. If you follow these tips you can encourage feedback development that doesn't have to be daunting and uncomfortable and will instead, be worthwhile and productive.
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