Every successful call center depends on well-trained employees working together as a cohesive team.
It’s that simple. Yet actually building a balanced, harmonious working environment is anything but.
At one end of an efficient call center, you have management. At the other, you have customer service agents. Both are critical. But in some call centers, they’re unconnected — and that’s a big mistake.
If agents are underperforming, unhappy or missing valuable opportunities to improve customer relations, managers have to know. A conduit is needed to connect both groups — and as a team leader, that’s your job.
This is especially true when undertaking a quality assurance program: as team leaders are connectors between management and agents, you can make sure necessary changes are made to benefit everyone.
Below, we take a close look at what makes team leaders so important, what tasks you should perform to make improvements, which issues you can resolve and more.
Acting on Quality Assurance Data
Every call center will benefit from launching a quality assurance program. Even if managers believe their employees are firing on all cylinders and there’s no room for improvement, QA could raise issues they never even knew existed.
Quality analysts evaluate customer service agents’ performance, gather data and identify which areas demand attention. This can streamline processes, boost productivity, increase customer engagement and more — but all information has to be acted on first.
As a team leader, you should be involved in the QA program and work closely with quality assurance analysts and managers to formulate strategies. You know the agents working under you better than management ever could, and have experience working with customers directly.
You’re uniquely placed to view problems raised from a managerial and frontline-employee’s perspective alike. This is just one reason why team leaders are connectors between management and agents.
Once plans to adjust or refine agents’ work are in place, team leaders must discuss this with their groups. Agents are likely to trust you more than a manager, which can make a huge difference to their ability to accept — and adapt to — changes.
Proposing Ideas and Innovations to Management
Quality assurance sheds light on all aspects of a customer service agent’s work, from the number of interactions they get through in a set period to the customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores they achieve.
QA analysts and team leaders can review data together to understand where agents’ strengths and weaknesses lie. For example, if studying reports reveals one agent is taking too long to resolve interactions and is generally less productive than their colleagues, you’ll have to find a way to help said employee up their game.
Delivering feedback is the perfect opportunity to raise problems and discuss them in a frank, open way. In this case, you may discover the agent’s problem is down to a lack of product knowledge or difficulties understanding their support software. You could approach management with suggestions to offer relevant training or make changes to the software used to resolve the issue.
Both steps could benefit other agents and boost productivity overall — just another example of what makes team leaders connectors between management and agents.
This shows how team leaders may become aware of issues within their group that managers may overlook or neglect. You can use reports, scorecards and even customer surveys from cutting-edge QA software to support your ideas and prove you’ve done your research.
Request Changes in Working Processes and Routines
Following on from the point above, there are some things agents may feel too uncomfortable (or flat-out unable) to take to management.
Perhaps several agents feel their work-life balance is suffering and more flexible hours would make things much easier. Perhaps they can’t stand working in such a drab office anymore and have researched the impact a brighter decor makes (academic research shows gray, white and beige can trigger sadness or even depression).
Perhaps they have an idea to improve motivation, morale and the quality of customer service all at the same time.
Whatever their ideas for change, agents could feel too intimidated to approach managers — or even fear for their job security if they rattle the cages too vigorously.
As team leaders are connectors between management and agents, you should be willing to speak on your agents’ behalf and make managers aware of problems that must be addressed. You can use data gathered by quality analysts to demonstrate how certain changes may improve performance and, ultimately, customer experience.
A rewards system, such as Playvox’s Karma points and Karma Store, offers managers a way to recognize employees’ achievements and reward them for a job well done.
Even if certain changes are unviable, team leaders can mediate between agents and managers to find a compromise. When suggestions and problems are acknowledged by management, employees feel more valued and appreciated.
Take Part in Quality Assurance Calibration to Standardize Scoring
Calibration is integral to any quality assurance program. A group comprising analysts, team leaders, agents and perhaps even managers will evaluate a selection of interactions to establish a standardized scoring model.
QA analysts evaluate customer interactions with scorecards. These include a number of questions related to the agent’s performance, covering their attitude, their ability to follow standard procedures etc. Interactions can be assigned to analysts automatically through the Playvox Workloads add-on, which makes monitoring their progress and managing their workloads easy for any admin.
However, all analysts must understand how to score interactions fairly and properly to cultivate an honest, balanced overview of the call center.
As a team leader, you should be present during calibration meetings to help ensure evaluations are as fair as they can be. You’ll know what constitutes good and bad service from personal experience, making you a valuable addition. Your input could prevent analysts or managers being a little unrealistic or focusing on irrelevant metrics.
As team leaders are connectors between management and agents, your work is fundamental to the call center’s success.
You have to take an active role in helping management understand agents better, using quality assurance reports to show why certain changes or problems must be considered. Whether employees feel they’re unappreciated, unmotivated or underpaid, you can make a huge difference to their life by fighting their corner.
It’s too easy for managers to stay in their offices and take their workforce for granted. Likewise, it’s too easy for agents to become disconnected from the people at the top and assume managers don’t care about them. You can bring the two together and help create a more harmonious, more productive call center.
What do you think is the most important part of your job as a team leader? Which techniques do you use to lead your team to success? Let us know below!