Becoming an excellent call center agent doesn’t happen overnight. While there are a handful of talents and skills that some people bring with them to the job, most of these skills are taught during training and on the job. The more experienced and the better listener and learner a call center agent is, the better they will be at their job over time.
Receiving feedback is one of the best ways to improve as a contact center agent. However, there is a right and wrong way to offer feedback as a member of management in these settings - and the differences between the two can mean the difference in the success and failure of your agents in improving their approach and your business.
Here are a few pointers on the ethical and effective use of criticism and feedback in helping every member of your staff learn how to become a good call center agent:
Keep Experience Levels in Mind
In general, all of your staff members are going to want to know how to become a good call center agent. That doesn’t mean they’re all going to be equally capable of the same tasks or equally ready to take on the same challenges, though.
When offering feedback and criticism for the sake of improvement, always take your employees’ levels of experience into consideration. Newer employees are likely to be more open to suggestions, but also less capable of meeting complex challenges. More experienced agents will generally be able to tackle harder tasks and more complicated scenarios in the name of improvement, but they will also demand that criticism be more focused and personalized.
Make Feedback a Two-Way Street
To be an effective manager and to offer ethical criticism and feedback, it is important to listen first and speak second. Likewise, you should always maintain a channel for your employees at every level to offer their own feedback regarding your treatment and management of them. When your staff feels heard and understood, they are more likely to be receptive to what you have to say to them.
In this same way, management members should also be willing to demonstrate what they want to see from their lower-level staff members. If there are behaviors you are looking to improve from your call center agents - be it attendance, workplace efficiency, focus on the job, or something else - it is best to model these behaviors yourself. By doing so, you act as something of a coach, rather than simply a boss - a management style that has been proven to be more effective in the modern day than traditional styles.
Remember What Your Agents Experience Every Day
It’s no secret that call center agents experience a lot of grief from their customers and clients on a regular basis. Whether you are working in an inbound or an outbound call center, the people on the other end of the line can become frustrated, angry, and even irate with your agents during everyday phone calls. This can lead to verbal abuse that is truly exhausting for your staff.
Don’t make things worse. Remember what your agents go through on a daily basis and always be sure to empathize and show compassion toward your staff. The answer for how to become a good call center agent will always begin with having a caring, understanding call center manager!
Combine Honesty with Compassion
There is a balance between negative feedback and compassion that must be found in order to maintain morale in the workplace. Finding this balance can be difficult, and may take some practice on the part of management.
Many managers find that making negative feedback relatively rare is a good rule of thumb. For every negative comment, they offer multiple positive ones. When it comes to guiding your staff members on how to become a good call center agent, this can be a good technique, since it keeps them focused on what they’re already doing well while also providing constructive criticism for improvement.
Don’t keep negative feedback buttoned up, either. Many people think that if they keep negative comments to themselves, they can prevent hurting someone’s feelings. This can lead to a stockpile of criticism that builds up until they have a long list of complaints to offer when they have the chance. This can be upsetting and overwhelming for the person on the receiving end of this feedback - and have the opposite effect of what is intended.
To avoid this, always prioritize delivering feedback - especially negative feedback - as soon as ethically possible. It’s best to do this in person and in private, so dignity can be maintained and attention can be focused entirely on the problem at hand, while it is still relevant.
Remember: There’s No Single Path for How to Become a Good Call Center Agent
Is there a single answer for how to become a good call center agent? No. However, this doesn’t mean that you and your staff can’t find the answer that works for you!
All of these methods can be used in combination with one another, as well as with any other methods, technology, or anything else that your staff finds effective. What is important is that you find what works best for your facility and utilize that to offer feedback in the best way possible.
When you’re ready to learn how to use today’s technology to track your company’s metrics, your agent’s productivity and efficiency, and more to offer meaningful feedback and constructive criticism to your call center agents, contact the experts at ChaseData. We have everything you need to change the way you approach offering feedback and improving your agent’s performance so you can guide them on their way to becoming the best possible contact center staff they can be!