Develop a framework to enhance the performance of contact centre agents
First, The Great Resignation triggered many agents to head for the exit door, yearning for a more engaging, rewarding work experience.
Then, The Great Exhaustion followed, as understaffing and a lack of work-life balance took their toll on those that stayed, causing burnout.
Now, economic uncertainty looms, and many agents will worry about their current financial outlook.
As such, agent well-being initiatives must take precedence in these pressing times, alongside performance management.
After all, when contact centres get performance management wrong, they miss tell-tale well-being problems, agents disengage, and those all-important social connections fall by the wayside.
Quality management systems. Speech analytics. Gamification. The performance management space is enamoured with a plethora of shiny, exciting tools. Yet, as Bill Gates once said:
“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
As such, it is critical to do the groundwork, go back to the basics, and ensure that new performance management investments are built from a solid base.
For instance, leaders must get to know their teams – and the individuals within them – to get the best out of them.
Also, share regular feedback. In doing so, there are no significant surprises when formal reviews arise, and leaders can spend time developing an effective plan to improve performance.
Finally, support and develop everyone, including the top performers. Leave them in the cold, and the lack of recognition will likely become a demotivator that may accelerate attrition.
Of course, there are many other basics, such as re-energising performance incentives, avoiding coaching reschedules and setting clear expectations.
Yet, by building an overarching performance management framework, which incorporates each of these elements, contact centres can keep track of these best practices.
Consider the term “performance management”. It encompasses all the practices and processes contact centres create to develop agent performance.
Unfortunately, when leaders fail to apply these continuously, poor performance goes unnoticed, development slows, and high performers become disengaged. This trend is not uncommon but critical to overcome in times of high attrition.
As such, Mashud Ahmed, a Product Manager at Puzzel, recommends:
“A single, standardized framework for tracking, managing, and improving individual and team performance across the organization.”
With this framework, contact centres can drive consistency across all levels of the operation. When this happens, no team appears to receive special treatment. Instead, contact centres can create a fair, open, and positive culture.
Also, when one agent switches to another team, the transition is seamless, and there is no break in their development.
Thankfully, performance management tools lay the foundations for such a framework, elevate the basics, and enable leaders to access the insights to positively transform customer, agent, and business outcomes.
Periodic reviews considering performance objectives, informal catch-ups, and real-time coaching; these are all critical parts of the performance management framework.
Yet, a lack of available data often limits the value of these initiatives. Indeed, it is far from easy to consolidate data from different systems into actionable, predefined KPIs. It requires a concerted integration effort or manual data gathering.
Without this data, performance management creeps into the subjective realm, and that all-important consistency that provokes agent buy-in slips through the cracks.
Referring to this phenomenon, Ahmed says:
“Managers want an easy-to-use tool to track achievements over time to drive efficiency and productivity. They need an easy-to-use tool to track achievements over time to drive efficiency and productivity.”
Here, tools like Puzzel Performance Management demonstrate their worth, visualizing trends and KPIs that matter – across individual agents, teams channels, and queues.
Also, leaders set targets and compare performance against previous periods, lifting those mission-critical basics, such as offering balanced feedback, understanding individual improvement opportunities, and setting clear expectations.
Behaviour breeds behaviour. As such, contact centre leaders must practice what they preach. Otherwise, a “them and us” culture may form.
A framework allows leaders to create routines that enable leaders to do so. Yet, in the contact centre space, firefighting is common, and distractions are aplenty.
When these rule the roost, agents begin to think that their development is not a priority, and leaders miss a chance to strengthen relationships across the contact centre.
In this sense, leaders must live by the mantra they set themselves to supercharge performance.
Again, performance management technologies help leaders stay on track and gain a clear view of performance, so they can best utilize their time to engage and develop their teams.
To discover more about such software, visit Puzzel.