Alison Mathiebe - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
The vast majority of books about call centres are designed to assist call centre managers. This has been due to the rapid growth of the industry, the complexities of call centre operations management, and the need for organisations to be competitive. The call centre is the hub, the heartbeat, of every form of business. Without a precision call centre operation, the heart stops. So it is absolutely essential that call centre managers have access to additional training resources such as call centre management books, websites and membership associations.
But what about call centre agents? Usually they receive internal training in the form of induction, call coaching, informal feedback from team leaders, performance appraisals, team meetings, product and process updates, and formal training sessions. This is quite a lot of training compared to many other types of office work. Is anything more than this required?
To achieve true staff engagement, it is essential that agent education leads not only to an understanding of their role and how they are performing, but also how their work and actions impact on the call centre operation and organisation as a whole.
For instance, agents will often know what their centre’s service level target is and can see from prominently displayed signage in the call centre what yesterday’s service level result was. But for agents to fully understand how their actions hinder or contribute to the service level result they need training on what service level is, how service level is calculated, how and why the organisation selected their service level target and what the daily service level results mean for customers and the organisation.
When agents have a thorough understanding of call centre operations, have excellent skills in all performance areas, are trained and retrained to handle every type of customer scenario and are continually made aware of the importance of their work, a transformation occurs. Proactive agents are less likely to see the job as a dreary nine-to-five, but dive into the challenges and transform the job into a profession – or at least see the job as a springboard to learning new skills and launching a career.
On the other hand, not providing agents with full information about call centre operations and technology use can lead to misunderstandings, agent anxiety, suspicion of management, false rumours and lowered performance. For instance, a lack of full understanding about adherence to schedule can result in agents believing that they can’t take their break if they get stuck on a long call, or that their restroom time is monitored. Such beliefs are not only false but portray call centre work in a bad light.
My aim is to teach call centre agents to be brilliant in all areas of the role. How to Survive (& Thrive) in a Call Centre helps agents to improve their personal performance, increase their knowledge of call centre operations, reduce stress, increase their skills, maximise bonus opportunities and build a career. The call centre is often adrenalin-charged through the sheer volume of calls. There is a power rush in a job well done and personal satisfaction that comes by balancing the unpredictable human caller and the well defined procedure. How to Survive (& Thrive) in a Call Centre guides agents towards performing at their best for customers, their team, their centre, their organisation and their own personal success.
Educating, training and retraining call centre agents not only drives performance outcomes but is the way to a highly skilled, motivated, engaged and successful agent workforce.
Publish Date: December 13, 2012 11:28 PM