With today’s customers becoming more discerning than ever before, providing exceptional customer service and running contact centers efficiently has become imperative. Research, in fact, shows 86% of customers quit doing business with a company because of a bad customer experience, up from 59% four years ago.
Because call center agents interact with your customers daily and develop an understanding of what your customers want, they’re in a position to make or break the customer experience. But how do you identify your agent skills and ambitions and discover untapped potential in your organization? How do you put together a so-called “dream team” of agents who will help foster customer loyalty and retention?
Here are 3 ways to develop a team of top performers in your call center:
1. Hire the Right Kind of Talent
Call center agents are at the heart of your business, considering they’re on the front lines of customer interaction. So why not arm yourself with talent that will represent your company positively, motivate other agents, and drive performance that will ultimately make a difference in your business growth?
Call Centre Helper recommends instituting “competency-based approach” to interviewing, which involves running an assessment center for new recruits. In essence, this structured interview process allows a group of candidates to work through tasks and assessments; it also gives those in charge of hiring the opportunity to select the best performers in the group and train them together to become new call center agents.
2. Training and Supporting the Team
Because even the most skilled agents need encouragement and support, it’s important to grow and manage your team by offering ongoing training opportunities. World Travel Holdings makes formalized training and support a fixture of its on-boarding process by offering agents a dedicated resource for gaining knowledge, cultivating skills, and improving performance.
“When you are developing your team there is one key question you can ask,” claims Call Centre Helper. “The question is: ‘Would you recommend a friend or family member to work here and why?’ If the answer is yes, you can find out what the key elements are that make working there attractive and build on them. If the answer is no, it’s an opportunity to improve some aspects of the business.”
3. Incorporate Real-Time Call Monitoring
According to Forrester Research, only 31% of organizations closely monitor the quality of interactions with customers. However, 92% of call center leaders see high value in sharing metrics (i.e., number of calls in queue, service level, customer satisfaction, schedule adherence, and first contact resolution) in real time with agents.
With real-time call monitoring software in place, managers are alerted to customer service issues as they occur, as opposed to discovering them after the call has ended. Real-time monitoring systems deliver performance feedback to agents during the call, which can help managers improve agent training programs and get a better idea of which agents are performing well versus those who need additional coaching.
Call center agents can be a real source of value for a company, due to their level of interaction with existing and potential customers. In order to develop a team of top performers, it’s important to invest in your talent by attracting the right kind of people, growing and managing the team, and using performance-monitoring solutions to drive success.
Bottom line: If call center agents experience an enriching corporate culture, they will undoubtedly convey that culture to customers.
Image Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/JuNi Art