Well-trained contact center agents are a cornerstone of quality customer service. But how can businesses ensure agents have the right skills to address customer needs when call centers are notorious for their high turnover rates? The answer comes down to having the right contact center solutions and workforce management (WFM) tools in place to provide real-time support for employees.
Customer service is a challenging field, and agents are responsible for resolving complex issues and dealing with revenue-generating customers. Effective contact center agents must have patience, extraordinary people skills, and a knack for negotiation. Agents who master these skills typically meet key performance indicators and are more likely to have greater job satisfaction – reducing churn.
With the right contact center solutions in place, managers can help agents get a handle on these skills quickly so they can not only meet the demands of their roles but truly excel and find long-term success. Add in WFM tools, which provide support for scheduling, forecasting, and adherence directly into a contact center solution, and managers can go even further. They can help agents directly contribute to a company’s effectiveness, efficiency, and ability to deliver an outstanding customer experience.
Effective contact center solutions can:
Allow supervisors to listen in and join live calls – offering direction as needed
Provide call recordings for review of agent performance after-the-fact
Provide documentation of agent interactions on multiple channels such as text, web chat, and social media
Give contact center managers actionable insights into which agents need support
Identify agent strengths and weaknesses
Motivate under-performing agents to improve results
Here are some contact center capabilities that can help businesses facilitate training:
Call recording: We’ve all heard the message, “This call is being recorded for training purposes.” An advanced contact center solution will allow supervisors to access and review conversations between agents and callers and identify employees whose skills need fine-tuning. Supervisors can also use recordings of top-performing employees to illustrate best practices when onboarding new agents. Sample recordings can help demonstrate a particular skill, such as how to handle disgruntled customers, how to react when the agent doesn’t know a particular answer, or how to proceed with a refund.
Barge, Monitor, and Whisper features: These functions allow a supervisor to join an active call and direct the agent in real-time. Not only does this keep monitored agents on-task, it allows supervisors to provide guidance during a challenging customer interaction. Managers can join a call silently, or they can take an active role as part of an escalation. Cloud-based systems allow administrators to join calls from anywhere – even when training remote workers.
Real-time analytics: Contact center solutions often provide call data which offers actionable insights into agent performance. For example, the technology can tell you how many calls were dropped, how many were left on hold and for how long, and how quickly calls were resolved. A sophisticated solution can aggregate this information by department and by individual agent.
Analytics as incentives: In addition to using this data to inform supervisors, many organizations make these outcomes public on a company leaderboard. This data can be leveraged to create a healthy competition among agents who then win prizes or spiffs. It incentivizes under-achieving agents to model the practices of their high-yield colleagues. It also “gamifies” the process – keeping it engaging and positive.
Performance-based mentoring: Since analytics identify agents that need additional support, supervisors can pair top-rated employees with under-performing agents in a mentoring relationship. More experienced operators can then train their peers by example.
Contact center tools not only deliver a platform for improved customer engagement, these robust technologies also incorporate mechanisms for training and improving agent skills. These capabilities help increase agent performance, drive greater success, and foster agent longevity.
Creating Higher-Performing Agents With Workforce Management
Some of the most effective tools a contact center solution can offer when it comes to helping managers train and support their teams are WFM’s capabilities. With WFM, supervisors can monitor agent performance in real-time, compare their adherence against set goals and benchmarks, and provide data-driven, in-depth support and feedback to their teams. Traditionally, this process took multiple spreadsheets, ad-hoc solutions, and considerable administrative effort to accomplish. But with WFM solutions, this entire process can be handled directly within the contact center platform.
Managers can even use the comprehensive scheduling tools offered by WFM to offer preferential scheduling to high-performing agents – a highly sought-after reward in most contact center environments. Cloud-based WFM features allow supervisors to easily adjust, change, and edit agent schedules across an entire organization, including remote or satellite-based employees.
To learn more about how WFM solutions can lead to more effective agents, happier customers, and a better contact center overall, download our exclusive guide.