4 ways to increase productivity in the contact centre

Improving agent motivation and productivity has long been a challenge for the contact centre. In fact, some of the more outdated tactics to improve productivity have probably contributed to low levels of job satisfaction and the high agent turnover rate for which the industry is famous. Industry sources estimate that agent churn is as high as of 26 per cent, costing the industry  as much as £2.3 billion annually.

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It is time to tackle this issue head on; only by empowering agents and recognising their value will it be possible to increase job satisfaction and ultimately retention rates. The beauty of this approach is that it will also lift their performance, producing productivity gains and more satisfied customers.

Instead of some of the more traditional ways of driving performance, which often involves thoroughly tracking agents against efficiency metrics, it’s time to look at empowering them to become more productive. Here are four fresh approaches to employee engagement which will also drive productivity in your contact centre.

1. Multi-channel across the board

A properly managed multi-channel contact centre can be one of the most positive approaches to ensure agents are more productive – and it will result in happier customers too.  Many contact centre agents are used to using digital channels to communicate in their social lives and welcome the opportunity to use their communication skills to improve productivity in the contact centre.   Giving agents the option to connect with customers using channels they are already familiar with, such as web chat and social media, adds variety to their job, which can keep motivation high. Agents may be responding to emails, or be on the phone, and solving problems in real-time with IM chat, providing greater variety as well as more autonomy. With the right skills, and with the right workload, being able to juggle multiple channels can really boost productivity and motivation.

2. Offer a work-life balance

Customer enquiries, especially voice calls, are becoming more complex.  Increasingly your contact centre advisors have built up invaluable knowledge to enable them to solve customer problems and of course, playing an increasingly valuable role in the buying process.  Show your experienced agents that you appreciate their knowledge and communication skills by offering flexible or remote working options. By allowing contact centre staff to work from the comfort of their homes they will be able to attain a better work-life balance, which is likely to improve their motivation and ultimately make them more productive. In fact, according to research from QNNect, 59 percent of millennial workers believe more flexibility would improve their output and productivity. A cloud-based system can make this easy to implement without affecting operations or how customers are managed.

3. Empower agents to resolve enquiries first-time

Too often frontline customer service representatives just don’t have the information – and are often not given the responsibility – they need to resolve customer queries first time. You can improve their productivity, contact outcomes and avoid repeat calls by introducing metrics such as First Contact Resolution and giving agents the training and technology tools they need to create satisfied customers. Often contact centre work can be inflexible, robotic and frustrating for both parties. To really empower your agents, make sure your flows and scripts support your agents to make their interactions as natural and human as possible and give them the autonomy they need to resolve customer enquiries.

4. Give positive feedback more often

Be attentive with quality monitoring tools. This means listening in frequently and giving agents positive feedback where it is merited as well as constructive and supportive criticism. That way you are able help agents to develop their skills and career, whilst keeping them motivated. You can even let them listen back to their own calls to get a better perspective on how it developed. This way, they will also feel like they are part of the feedback process and in charge of their own career development.

With the proper attention given to your agents and the right technology in place, productivity in your contact centre will soar.  And not only that, these fresh approaches will show agents that they are valued, one of the key factors in building motivation and job satisfaction.  Don’t just focus on long-term relationships with your customers; invest in your employee talent too.  With the right performance management framework in place start your bid to become a standout employer.

By Enda Kenneally, ‎VP Sales & Business Development UKI at West