Showing posts with label agent retention. Show all posts
Showing posts with label agent retention. Show all posts

Friday, October 11, 2013

How to Retain Your Best Call Center Agents

Technology has inspired many changes to the call center, but one challenge remains unchanged, consistent and vital to the success of a business – finding and retaining outstanding agents.

This article from ICMI was written in 2008 – a lifetime ago by tech standards. But the five tips it provides for agent retention are just as helpful today – perhaps even more so, as the people skills many of us used to take for granted continue to erode.

1. The First Impression
Employees remember more from the hiring process than whether or not they get the job. This is the first chance to create a positive impression of the call center as a friendly and supportive working environment. Employees are far more likely to remain with a company where they are treated with courtesy and respect.

2. A Clear Vision
Call center agents are happier – and more productive – when they receive clear and specific guidance on their responsibilities. This should not be limited to product knowledge or company policy on customer interaction – they should know the goals and values of the company, and the role they can play in helping to achieve them.

3. Custom Motivation
Different things motivate different people. So why rely on one set of motivation techniques for an entire call center agency workforce? Training sessions, special projects and incentives can be customized to each agent’s priorities.

4. Listen
Call center agents appreciate when their ideas are acknowledged and their suggestions are adopted – especially if they are also rewarded for their effort. They also appreciate when schedules are flexible enough to accommodate a change in shift if a conflict arises. Listen to their ideas and their needs.

5. Consistency
A retention strategy is not something to be trotted out once or twice a year. It requires consistent application, and frequent reminders to both agents and managers that an employee’s value should be acknowledged and rewarded.

If you would like to learn more about how call center technologies can help you manage and motivate agents, please check out our workforce management video page.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

10 Tips for Better Call Center Agent Retention

An excellent call center agent is an important asset that adds value to the company. Finding and keeping these assets is one of the most imperative functions of call center management. Here are 10 tips that should help with call center agent retention.
call center agent retention

1. Hire the Right Employees

Retaining quality agents begins with hiring quality agents. Those who start out with the required experience, personality and skills for call center work are more likely to become the type of agents worth keeping.

2.  Open Communication

Agents who feel separated from management are less likely to feel a strong sense of company loyalty. Make sure they know that managers are available to discuss their concerns or address any issues.

3. Competitive Salary

This is obvious, but no less important.

4. Challenge Them

As call centers become contact centers, there are opportunities to challenge agents to master other forms of customer interaction, including online chat and email. Learning new skills benefits both the agent and the call center.

5. Management Support

In addition to open communication (#2), managers should also nurture, encourage and support their agents to encourage loyalty and consistent job performance. Consider using workforce scheduling tools to automate repetitive tasks and have more time to interact with your staff.

6. Encourage Self Training

While coaching and training should be a regular part of the agent experience, agents should also be able to use call recording software to review their own performances and make changes as needed. They will also appreciate the trust you show in them by allowing them to correct their own mistakes.

7. Boost Morale

There are a number of team-building activities, seminars, outings and other activities that can improve agent morale and built a team spirit outlook.

8. Provide the Right Tools

Agents work best when they have the technology that makes their jobs easier. Call recording software, workforce management and quality assurance solutions not only benefit managers, but agents as well.

9. Schedule Flexibility

The more an agent is able to adjust their hours to deal with personal issues or make their life outside the office more stable, the more likely they are to remain with a company that takes their personal needs into consideration.

10. Don’t Accept “Acceptable” Turnover

Call centers average a 30% turnover rate, but that’s no reason to accept such substantial attrition. If your call center is at 25% turnover, set a goal to lower that to 20% in six months or one year.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Important call center metrics: Agent turnover

Working in a call center is demanding due to the nature of fluctuating call volumes, emotions calls, and time pressure. As a result, many call centers experience a high turn-over. It's not uncommon that some centers experience 30% or more - meaning that 3 out of 10 people leave and need to get replaced and trained. A high turnover has a negative impact on costs, productivity and service quality of the center.

How can you reduce turnover in a call center? First, you need to measure your turnover, and try to identify and track the reasons for the turnover. Second, you need to find ways to improve working conditions - here is a list of tips and ideas where to start :
  • Hire the "right" people - make sure you understand the challenges of your customer service or call center work and select people that can best deal with it
  • Engage - make agents part of the team by listening, encouraging them to make improvements, etc.
  • Flexibility - Providing more flexibility in their work schedule is a great way to motivate your team
  • Schedule - Use good WFM tools to create an accurate forecast and optimal schedule resulting in less overworked (and happier) agents
  • Adherence - Monitor and track schedule adherence to make sure that the call load is spread "fairly". A few agents that are not in their seats, will cause a lot of "pain" to the rest of the team.
  • Create a positive work environment - culture, office space, equipment, etc.
For more ideas and tips on call center agent motivation, please read our previous blog post.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Call Center Scheduling Tip #6: Keep top talent on your team

How to keep your talent? Make sure you accommodate scheduling needs and provide schedule visibility to your call center team members. Top agents will be more likely to stay loyal and productive because of their understanding of how their needs and your schedule can match up. Here are some ideas and suggestions:
  • Involve your agents: Survey about preferences and personal needs and work with them to match those with the needs of the business.
  • Rank your agents: Creating a schedule by agent rank can be very effective in achieving certain goals of you business (e.g. cost or revenue goals). You can rank agents according to call completion time, call per hour or other performance measures including sales and order size.
  • Match personality and team: Studies have shown that a good relationship with colleagues drives motivation and performance in call centers. Your schedule should leverage this by teaming up the “right people”.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Call Center Staffing Software for Small Call Centers?

Regardless of size, all call centers have the same basic goals of controlling costs, optimizing call center staffing, and meeting services levels. A common myth is that only larger centers need (and can afford) call center staffing software. But small call centers do have some unique challenges when contrasted with larger centers that make the case for staffing software:
  • Unpredictable call volume: Since calling patterns tend to be far more diverse and marked by peaks and valleys in small centers, call center staffing can be a headache for many managers. They have to respond to spikes in volume on-the-fly, often without much historical data to back-up their decisions.
  • Schedule adherence: Whereas larger centers can often manage schedule deviations and absenteeism without as much strain, smaller center performance suffers when 1 or a few agents are not available for calls. For instance, in a call center of fifty agents, occupancy is critical. If five agents take breaks or go to lunch at the same time, occupancy decreases by 10% and service levels go with it.
  • Agent retention: Retention is one of the key factors of any size call center, but it’s especially significant when call center staffing revolves around a limited group. One of the many reasons agents leave is because staffing seems random and does not consider their personal needs. Agent morale increases when everyone understands and accepts schedules in advance, which reduces turnover and lets everyone know what’s expected of them.
While these are only a few of the many issues faced by small call centers, they show that you don’t have to be a large center to need call center staffing software. When you consider the cost to benefit ratio, most call center managers choose call center staffing software, especially now that it’s offered in the cloud (or SaaS). Now, you can be small and operate big.