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    An agent first approach to improving contact centre efficiency

    Agent productivity has a significant impact on the effectiveness of any call or contact centre. The contact centre industry is a highly competitive and demanding field where success is measured by the quantity and calibre of calls made within a given time frame. Research suggests that happy, motivated employees perform better than those who feel tired, stressed and under pressure. However, it can be difficult for managers to implement strategies that enhance the agent experience in England.

    Here are some suggestions to increase motivation and spark engagement in employees:

    1. Don’t make your agents stick to a monotonous script

    Answering mundane mobile calls for hours on end and having to repeat the same words and phrases undermines engagement and motivation. Give your agents the autonomy to engage their soft skills and speak to callers naturally, so their intelligence and experience can provide not just good, but excellent customer service. Tasks become vastly more satisfying for agents as they learn to think on their feet when dealing with requests or complaints. 

    Higher job satisfaction and less boredom lead to fewer people leaving their jobs and greater efficiency. It can also be empowering to let mobile call handlers take on more tasks and processes, like giving refunds and responding to requests, without having to transfer the call to a manager for approval.

    2. Allow short breaks

    It is well-known that working in a contact centre can be stressful for numerous reasons, long call queues, angry customers, or the pressure of meeting key performance indicators (KPIs). That’s why it’s important to let agents take regular short breaks, especially during stressful periods. With this kind of understanding approach, stress levels are more manageable and engaging positively with the next customer in the queue is easier. 

    Flexibility can also work well in this context. For example, Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) solutions offer workforce management capabilities which can give agents more control over their shifts. If, after a run of bad calls, an agent wants to rearrange their day off it’s simpler than ever, since employers increasingly recognise the importance of well-being. Permitting frequent short breaks and increasing the sense of control over their own working lives can contribute to this in a very effective manner. . 

    3. Giving positive feedback and incentives

    KPIs are a tried and tested way of evaluating performance. It’s always worth analysing aspects such as average handling time. However, it needs to be done with a coaching mentality, and a ‘quality over quantity’ approach to customer calls. A CCaaS solution, for example, can help in the development of visual dashboards of various KPIs, providing a more complete picture of performance.

    It is essential for this data-driven approach to be balanced with one-to-one coaching. Taking the time to talk to agents allows for problems to be solved, encourages praising where needed, and develops their team potential to the fullest.  In addition, consider incorporating incentives and bonuses for meeting targets as a way to say thank you for your hard work. This not only shows agents they are valued but can also positively impact productivity, fostering a culture of appreciation and motivation.  

    No matter where they are, at home or in a call centre, agents are a key ingredient in an award-winning customer service. The right technology and approach helps nurture talent and support development, creating a win-win situation for businesses, agents, and customers.                                              

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