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What’s the Best Way to Manage and Empower Call Center Agents?


Scott Kendrick

December 24, 2015

Call center manager coaching an agent
Call center manager coaching an agent

In the call center environment, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to managing agent performance. Best practices will vary from agent to agent and organization to organization, but one thing is for certain: Proactively and consistently managing agent performance is critical to delivering superior customer service and a positive customer experience overall.

Donna Fluss notes that improving the performance of agents revolves around the following five steps that can assist with meeting call center performance goals:

  • Diagnose underlying performance issues
  • Create an action plan
  • Communicate with the agent(s)
  • Provide consistent feedback and reinforcement
  • Monitor and track improvements

Let’s explore a few additional ways to manage call center agents and empower them to become top performers:

Monitor 100% of Calls

The problem with traditional quality monitoring is that random sampling is not enough to ensure best practices. Recorded calls can take days or even weeks to index, and uncovering the most valuable agent performance insights feels much like finding a needle in a haystack!

Speech analytics automatically monitors and scores 100% of calls, helping managers to deliver objective feedback and improve agent performance. The fact that scores are based on the automatic analysis of every call (not the subjective judgment of a small sample) can help supervisors to discover how to bring out the best in every agent and drive lasting motivation and engagement throughout the call center.

Utilize Call Scoring Evaluation Forms

Agent scorecards in the call center can seem tedious and redundant; after all, the last thing managers would want is for agents to sound like a robot instead of a real person. But the fact of the matter is that scorecards are an invaluable tool for enhancing quality assurance within the call center.

As noted in a Talkdesk blog post, however, the practice of call scoring is only as effective as the items included on the scorecard. “A poorly designed call scoring evaluation form will result in data that does not accurately assess agent performance, misses key performance areas, and lacks reliability and validity,” says the article. “Thus, when aiming to enhance quality assurance practices, call monitoring, call scoring, and feedback to agents, managers must start by optimizing their call scoring evaluation form.”

Personalize Agent Training & Coaching

With contact center attrition as high as it is, it’s essential for managers and supervisors to ensure agents are engaged in their work and motivated to succeed. To elicit the highest engagement from staff, managers should, for example, listen to employee feedback and opinions, praise staff and recognize good performance, make each employee feel invested in company goals and direction, etc.

This starts with immediate, actionable insight into employee performance.

After all, agents can’t (and shouldn’t) be expected to excel in their work without proper feedback on what they are doing well and what areas might still need to be improved upon. It all comes down to giving employees the respect – and motivation – they deserve.

With speech analytics technology in place, managers are alerted to customer service issues as they occur, creating an awareness of inefficiencies across the organization and providing the opportunity for real-time training and personalized coaching.

The end result? Agents who are more engaged and likely to sustain improvement over the long term.

Final Thoughts

In today’s increasingly customer-driven marketplace, it’s critical to provide unparalleled customer service at every stage of the customer lifecycle. The above tips – monitoring agent-to-customer interactions, utilizing agent scorecards, and providing personalized agent training – are just a few of the ways to drive agent performance improvements across all levels of the organization.

How is your organization effectively managing agents?

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