Five essential tips for empowering your agents to take ownership.
Michelle Dinsmore _ August 2015
It’s not uncommon for some agents in the call centre to feel like they sometimes might lack the skills or the know-how to do their job to a high standard. Recent research conducted by EvaluAgent across the UK’s leading contact centres found that almost 40% of agents don’t feel empowered to resolve customer queries.
These kinds of feelings in any job usually deliver a negative impact on the individual, the team and the business as a whole. Feeling like you don’t have the right skills or support to do your job properly is something that ought to be addressed immediately and effectively.
So why is this happening? Without the right training or guidance, agents can often feel a little uncertain if they’re truly hitting the mark. A consistent and structured approach to training is something that can remedy this creeping doubt among your ranks. Here are five essential tips to remember when empowering your agents:
- Make time for coaching Timely, regular and results-focused coaching is the best measure in ensuring your agents are equipped to tackle customer queries at every turn. Put together a detailed and structured coaching plan to make the most out of coaching sessions and make sure that your agents have access to it afterwards so that they can refer back to what was agreed when they need to.
- Encourage agents to own their development Instead of pushing agents through objectives, take the time to help them understand why we have them and how these fit into the bigger picture of the business. Lead and guide them through what they need to do in order to meet them. The best results from agents will be achieved by allowing them to play a leading part in their own performance improvement and further development.
- Implement a buddy programme If particular agents have different skills, styles, or recurring issues - try to pair them with other agents who experience the opposite. There’s nothing more useful to team building than being able to share knowledge across the call centre floor, and peer to peer support is a great way of doing this.
- Focus on each individual Make sure your agents have personal development plans that consist of a few relevant goals and objectives, as well as clear and concise advice on how to achieve them. Monitor their progress against these objectives in order to get a clear insight into their performance and where they might need help. This shouldn’t be something that is pulled out of a file once in a while. It should be a living document that tracks progress, provides hints and tips and is regularly revisited.
- Use the organisation Sometimes an outside perspective might do your team a world of good. Take a look at other team leaders or managers in the organisation and see if they might have an insight into what you could be doing differently.
Agents are always going to experience classic contact centre pitfalls, but they key is empowerment. By giving them ownership of their own development, agents will stay committed, motivated and happy. For more handy tips like this, check out our Essential Team Leader Playbook.