Agent performance has always been an important area of contact center operations. In order to keep your team on top of their game, you need to cultivate a performance best- practices by sharing the right performance indicators and business metrics with your team. It is easy to use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure agent performance but how can you influence your workforce personally? Here are SIX tips to help you improve agent performance:
- LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Effective leadership separates goals from actual achievements. Attaining achievements are a direct result of providing structure. Reinforcing goal-directed thinking, strong communication and positive behavior are all examples of providing structure and can help your agents adopt the company’s work procedures and goals, therefore, increasing performance and productivity.
2. THE POWER OF EXPECTATION
Setting appropriate expectations starts before agent performance becomes a problem. It starts during the hiring process where the recruiter must be upfront about the expectations of the company regarding behavior and performance. This will prevent confusion after the hiring process and save both the organization and applicant time. If the applicant is successful and progresses to the training stage, it is then imperative that the trainer not only provides accurate product knowledge but clarifies the role of the trainee in the organization.
3. ACKNOWLEDGE HARD WORK
Everyone likes to be awarded or at least acknowledged for their contribution. Some companies employ programs where the agents with the best performances are rewarded. Others have a ‘wall of fame’ where the top agents get their monthly stats and picture displayed for all to see. A few plan themed days after an especially productive month. If none of the more creative ideas appeal to you, a simple verbal acknowledgment will usually suffice.
4. EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
Seeking out employee opinions and ideas and engaging them in decision-making processes shows them that they are valuable. Providing one on one coaching and team building exercises will build relationships and increase employee morale. Working with employees responsible for areas outside of your control can also improve your influence. A quick chat in the lunchroom or stopping by at someone’s desk will show your employees you genuinely care.
5. MATCH SKILL SET WITH THE RIGHT JOB
Connecting the right people with the right job enhances your team and improves productivity. The productivity level is a direct result of required knowledge plus education/experience and any skills. For instance, a Sales Agent who is not result-oriented may have a lower sales performance than another agent who is target- driven. A customer service agent who is customer- friendly and had some training may exceed company metrics and result in lower repeat callers.
6. THE BUDDY SYSTEM
There are two types of buddy systems which can increase both employee behavior and performance. There’s the ‘mentor-buddy’ system where agents are paired up to help one or both of them learn from the other. This system ensures that the job is completed correctly and the skill/learning is transferred from one individual to the other. The other type is the ‘competition-buddy’ system where the two agents are paired up to ‘compete’ against each other to see who can have the best stats in a particular time period. It is important to note that the competition is healthy and is supposed to build relationships as well as performance.