As a call center team leader or manager, you take pride in your facility and staff. You undoubtedly have a hardworking team that does a great job in serving customers and clients every day. Right now, you can probably think of a few people, in particular, who are worthy of praise for their excellent performance.
But what about those at the other end of the spectrum? What about the members of your team who are struggling? What can be done to bring them up to speed - or are they simply a lost cause? Here, we’ll show you how a fresh perspective can give you a whole new way to approach the problem of underperforming agents - and fix it for good!
Before you can hope to change the performance standards of underperforming agents, you must first identify them. There are numerous ways to do this. One of the easiest is to utilize the features of your current call center software to find out which agents are most active and most productive during their clocked-in hours. If this information isn’t automatically available to you via your current software solution, you may want to consider investing in a new software suite.
Next, compare the performance of the bottom ten percent of your agents to your center’s goals. How short are they falling? Is there performance just shy of on-target, or are they missing the mark significantly? Determining how wide this gap is can help you in the next step of correcting their behaviors and approach - and help you better understand what might be causing the gaps in the first place.
Have Honest Discussions About Call Center Agent Performance
Once you’ve determined which agents are at the farthest points from your call center agent performance goals, it’s time to have the difficult talk with these agents about their shortcomings.
Oftentimes, underperforming agents are already aware of their need for improvement. They may be overwhelmed with the amount of work they have to do in a day or feel ill-prepared for their jobs. Or, they may be losing interest or motivation in their position. Regardless of what the cause is for their shortcomings, it is important to ensure that they are aware of them so that the correction process can begin.
There’s no need to be rude or curt about this, but you also don’t have to sugarcoat your discussions with your agents. Your staff members are all working adults; they should be capable of handling constructive criticism. Speak to agents in need of performance enhancement individually and be polite yet honest. Your openness will be rewarded with a higher likelihood of cooperation.
Reevaluate Agent Expertise
One possible explanation for missing one’s call center agent performance goals is being ill-suited for them. When you hire your staff members, they should be placed according to their strengths. However, it can be easy to place new hires according to shortages in your current staffing distribution. This can result in new hires being placed in departments or given tasks that they aren’t prepared to handle.
If you suspect that this might be the problem with some of your underperformers, consider reevaluating their strengths. What are they best at? Where might they be a better fit within your company? Is there another department or task that you could reassign them to that would make it easier for them to hit their goals - and for them to contribute in a positive way to the company, overall? These questions can help you determine if their efforts are simply being misplaced, rather than wasted.
Coach and Offer Support
Today’s managers have a much different approach than those of yesteryear. Where it was once seen as the job of a boss to hover over employees and offer correction on a near-constant basis, managers are now viewed more like collaborators in a team effort. Your team is more likely to follow your lead than just your word.
Show your staff what you expect from them by modeling it yourself. Meet your own goals and do what you can to assist them in meeting theirs. Offer support and encouragement. Act as a coach, rather than a boss. You’ll be surprised how much more interactive your staff will be at every level when your management team takes this approach.
Reward and Recognize
Your agents - regardless of their performance level - need to be recognized for their successes. Research shows that rewarding good behavior is better for encouraging that behavior than the opposite approach, so why do so many management team members forget this strategy when it comes to managing adults instead of children? If you want your team to be successful across the board, reevaluate your reward and recognition system.
Don’t doll out rewards for nothing, of course. Reward excellence. Give recognition where it is due. But make sure that your employees - all of them - are aware of that recognition and reward system. Ensure that your entire staff is aware of the incentives available to them for hard work, dedication, and productivity. Consider some of these desirable additions to your rewards list:
- The option to work remote
- One-time bonuses
- Regular bonuses
- Paid time off
- Company-sponsored events
- Recognition ceremonies, and more
The more you reward great call center agent performance, the more great performance you are likely to see!
Outfit Your Team Members with the Tools They Need to Succeed
Your team cannot be productive without the right tools and technology. Even your best performers need the right software at their disposal to be profitable members of your staff. Give everyone an equal opportunity at success by outfitting your entire operation with the latest call center technology from ChaseData. We have everything you need to ensure call center agent performance will always be at its best - and to help you make improvements when it isn’t. Give us a call today to learn more!