Contact centers are just looking for love. They want their customers to adore them, striving to provide the best customer experience so these customers will return month after month. But if customer engagement rates plummet, managers are bereft, left wondering what went wrong. Was it you, the customer, or was it the contact center?
For some contact centers, the harsh reality is that they're part of the problem. Before they wallow in heartbreak, they can also be part of the solution. Honest self-assessment is critical for boosting and maintaining customer engagement. So how can contact centers improve?
Before making any changes, leaders need to examine the current model to see what isn't working. Are they reaching out on social media, where most of their customers ask questions? Does the product fit the market? If contact center managers can answer all these questions positively, yet they're still seeing sinking customer engagement rates, they may have to take a closer look at their agents. Are agents receiving enough training? And enough feedback?
Constant feedback helps both managers and employees
In order to be a customer's ideal call center match, leaders need to make sure they are honestly reflecting on and assessing their agents' strengths and weaknesses. Real-time analytics can be a good place to start. Bernard Marr, writing for Forbes, noted how these types of analytics programs can identify calls where agents excel and highlight the types of calls agents struggle with. However, ranking agents can become counterproductive: For the agents that are struggling, they don't know how to improve. Instead, managers can take analytics data and pinpoint specific instances where agents can improve. Importantly, managers are relaying this information instantly, as opposed to in annual performance reviews.
Call center analytics work to give real-time feedback. Employees today are looking for leaders that will give them consistent feedback, fast. Typical performance reviews - usually given yearly - are no longer enough for employees. They're interested in more of a commitment. According to Chris Duggan, CEO of Betterworks, writing for Fast Company, employees see constant feedback as a way to gage their improving performance. By using performance analytics as well as giving constant feedback, managers and employees alike are more likely to see results. That is enough of an incentive to encourage both parties to continue. Having an agent's improvement become a conversation, instead of an evaluation, also cuts down on the overhead needed for a formal review.
Strong performance analytics can help contact centers find customer love.
Another way contact center managers can work with their agents is by adopting a coaching mentality. That can start small, by simply checking in with agents. That keeps the lines of communication open, giving agents the opportunity to bring forth questions and ideas for how they can better improve their performance. If analytics reveal a common area of improvement for several agents, managers can work to strengthen training for their teams.
Honest self-assessment is the cornerstone to success for any contact center. When managers and agents can identify areas of improvement and work together through training and coaching, they can find love - and engagement - with their customers.
How will you help your agents improve their self assessments?