With the COVID-19 outbreak well under way, many call centers are dealing with much higher call volume than normal, as customers and citizens call into businesses and organizations to inquire about how they are handling the outbreak at their physical locations (think retailers, medical facilities, banks, etc.). Questions about safety measures, protective equipment rules, etc. are often the source of the increased volume, while at the same time, call centers are struggling to transition staff to WFH, implementing social distancing in the call center, and a host of other COVID-19 “new normals.”
During this time, you might be wondering how exactly to maintain or even increase the productivity of your call center agents, especially as many employees are now working remotely for the first time.
How to increase call center productivity
Here are some tips and tricks for increasing your call center productivity at this time:
- Enhance your agents’ One of the best ways to increase the productivity of your call center agents is to provide them with more autonomy. Giving your agents more autonomy can actually have a huge effect on their productivity and the productivity of your call center at large. Agents who are given more autonomy tend to be able to address customer needs more effectively by being more responsive, more flexible and more personable. When they are given more autonomy, they feel more capable of handling customer calls on their own and are less likely to need to transfer the call to a different team member or department or request input from their manager or supervisor. Increasing agent autonomy also has a big impact on your call center’s workflow, and it frees up your call center managers to deal with problems and pursue opportunities. Increasing the autonomy of your agents is also proven boost overall team morale and employee engagement. It’s a win-win all around!
- Offer flexible scheduling based on the call volume
- Integrate your company’s knowledge base into the ChaseData’s Agent APP and allow agents to offer ad-hoc solutions without escalating the call
- Enable ChaseData’s secure internal chat feature and encourage agents to reach out to coworkers for help
- Increase agent participation. Increasing your employees’ involvement in making team-wide or company-decisions will make your agents feel like they are a true part of the team and, in turn, motivates them. Active participants are more much effective and by nature much more engaged with their work. Encourage all of your call center agents to actively participate in team meetings and a lot enough time to handle the increased participation. The ultimate goal is to create a more positive work environment for all employees, improve your employee engagement and create huge boosts in customer satisfaction and employee productivity.
- Hold periodic virtual town-hall-style meetings for WFH employees and managers.
- Create an anonymous suggestions email inbox where staff can make suggestions.
- Storytelling is a great way to increase participation. Encourage employees to share victories and innovative solutions that they were responsible for creating.
- Use idle time to complete other task. All call center agents experience “idle time” and every call center uses Idle Time as a core KPI. Managers should allocate unproductive idle time to assign off-phone activities that actually improve the team’s productivity and the company’s bottom line. You can break down larger projects into smaller tasks, so that agents can complete them during the few minutes of idle time they have. This is especially important when agents are working remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak, as agents can easily fill the time with productive company assigned activities.
- Create a list of off-phone activities that agents can complete during idle time.
- Break down larger off-phone projects into smaller tasks that are easy for agents to complete during their idle time.
- Allow agents to suggest their own off-phone activities to complete.
- Allow your agents to take breaks throughout the day. Working as a call center agent can be pretty stressful, especially during the COVID-19 outbreak. This stress can cause a decrease in productivity, overall job satisfaction and even agent health, and all of these factors can have a big negative effect on your call center and your company as a whole. Therefore, it is essential that you enable your agents to take frequent breaks throughout the day, especially when they notice their stress levels increasing. It helps for your agents to be able to eat when they need to, use the restroom and get some fresh air. Allow them the flexibility to choose when they take breaks, as this will decrease their stress and increase your call center’s productivity.
- Offer agents real-time metrics. Implement ChaseData’s call center software and dashboards to give your agents access to real-time metrics, so that they can see their own progress and the progress of the call center team as a whole. Giving your agents access to metrics such as the number of callers in the queue, the status of other agents, average abandonment time and more will give them the information they need to make better decisions. Their motivation, performance and productivity will definitely improve when they have access to this real-time information. Call center software can also help provide information to agents about the callers, which decreases average call handle time and, in turn, boosts agent productivity. When agents have all of the information they need in front of them, they don’t need to search through multiple systems in order to resolve a customer’s problem. This will boost employee morale and overall team productivity.
- Turn critical positive metrics into a competition among agents and offer rewards.
- Integrate the data and graphs currently displayed in your call center into metrics displayed in the ChaseData Agent APP.
- Let the agents starting a new shift, how the agents in the last shift performed.
- Offer incentives and rewards. Provide an incentives and rewards program to your call center agents and give them attainable short-term goals to achieve. Setting goals to work towards will help agents perform better, support them in their personal and professional growth and development, boost their morale at work and keep your most talented workers from leaving. All of these factors have a huge positive effect on your call center’s productivity.
- Create a list of potential incentives that agents can earn by reaching goals.
- Implement a rewards program for your call center agents.
- Break down larger long-term goals into attainable short-term goals for your agents to achieve.
Learning how to boost your call center agents’ productivity can be difficult, especially during a global pandemic like COVID-19. Take the steps mentioned above to boost , increase autonomy and participation on the team, reward performance, optimize your call center’s performance. If you take these steps, you will boost your call center’s productivity and your company’s bottom line.