The secret to effective call centre communication.
Chris Keelan _ February 2016
Quite often, a business strategy is put into effect without being properly communicated to the frontline staff. When it comes to call centre communication, you can put together the most detailed and well-structured business strategy, but if you haven’t got informed, inspired and engaged agents, all the planning can be for nothing.
Instead of simply telling agents what is expected of them in terms of performance, management and Team Leaders responsible for call centre communication need to make sure they do everything they can to get the entire organisation on board.
Ensuring effective call centre communication.
Ensuring your agents truly understand and buy in to the company vision consists of three key elements, information, inspiration and engagement.
Informing agents means clearly communicating the goals of the call centre as a whole by painting as detailed a picture of success as possible, and providing information on how they can help the business get there.
Inspiring agents means effectively explaining the importance of achieving the business's goals, and providing them with why their efforts are crucial.
Engaging agents means ensuring they have the right mindset, support and tools they need in order to align themselves with the call centre and act in the best interests of the business.
Do you have a new business strategy in place? Perhaps you feel like there’s a disconnect between the vision management has for the company and how agents feel? Either way, here are a few things you can do to guarantee agents are aligned with your mission:
Create a crystal-clear definition of success.
There is little more important to engaging your agents than painting a picture of what winning looks like for the business, your team, and the individual in question. Success comes from the bottom up, not the other way around. This doesn’t mean sending out a cursory email outlining what the company expects from agents in the coming months. It requires sharing a meaningful vision through multiple channels. It is the responsibility of every Team Leader and manager to own and communicate a picture of success. When this happens, agents will be much more likely to embrace and execute this vision.
Measure what really matters.
Many call centre communication strategies focus only on efficiency metrics to measure success. However, agents don’t always connect on a day to day basis with things like Average Handling Time, and cost based measurements. As an agent, it’s not easy to bridge the gap between between handling a customer, and the bottom line of your business. On the few occasions where agents are exposed to financials, the link between their performance and the numbers is too flimsy to create significant meaning. What kinds of metrics support your vision? Perhaps they’re customer focused like improving CSAT or NPS - try to focus on these when driving discussions around quality and performance. When agents can see what success looks like in ways they can directly understand and relate to, they are equipped to make better decisions to achieve the plan.
Give agents everything they need to succeed.
The call centre is usually a place where resources are spread thin, and you may feel like there aren't enough hours in the day to do everything on your list - but your support is what makes or breaks the business. To ensure your call centre communication plan will succeed, and your teams are set up to achieve the company vision, you need to make sure they have:
- A clear idea of what is expected of them in terms of specific goals and performance
- Constructive feedback and recognition when necessary
- Training, coaching and support opportunities to improve in particular areas
Of course, we all know this should be done on a regular basis, but unfortunately, these simple things often get lost in the chaos of the call centre. It may seem like you have bigger fish to fry, but few things do more to engage agents in the call centre than consistently providing clarity, feedback and support.
Call centres that get the most out of their agents are those that can capture hearts and minds through employee engagement. The most successful team leaders are those that can sell the company vision to their teams, and get everyone on the same page.