According to American Express, “More than two-thirds of those surveyed (68%) said that a pleasant representative was key to their recent positive service experiences, and 62% said that a representative’s knowledge or resourcefulness was key.”
The efficiency of contact centers is based on the motivation of agents and the tools that enable them to work effectively. When agents are satisfied with their job, feel motivated, and have valuable technology at their disposal, they can deliver excellent customer service. However, if agents are overworked due to long hours and lack of modern technology, productivity levels will be low.
The nature of being a call center agent can be quite demanding, thus taking action to increase work performance can be daunting.
That’s why we have listed the top 5 ways to improve the productivity of your agents:
1. Power your Agents with AI Technology
Gartner has revealed that 25% of customer service and support operations will integrate chatbot technology or virtual customer assistant across engagement channels by 2020, up from less than 2% in 2017.
The infusion of artificial intelligence in conversations has drastically improved agents’ efficiency. AI application assimilates information over time and formulates patterns that can be easily addressed. This helps the agent’s productivity by providing multiple solutions or responses to a customer’s complaint. Based on the situation, agents can either choose to follow the AI’s conclusion or disregard it.
AI technology is maturing by the day. Implementing such a powerful cost-saving tool will drive revenue to your business and help cut down heavy burdens on your agents.
2. Optimize Agent Idle Time
Optimizing workforce management is an essential key factor for the success of any call center. According to Aberdeen, Contact Centers agents spend approximately 25% of their time idle. Such high percentage of expenses can be detrimental for contact centers.
It’s important to differentiate between breaks and idle time. Frequent peak times and insufficient workforce planning are two primary causes for idle time, while breaks are given as free time so that agents don’t burnout.
Reducing idle time is not an easy task as there are multiple factors involved. It’s vital to understand your agents’ weaknesses and strengths. For example, not every agent is able to handle incoming and outgoing calls. That’s why it’s crucial for leaders to assign tasks to the right people. However, even if you manage to allocate the right candidate for the job, if your agents aren’t able to perform well, your contact center productivity will diminish.
Reducing idle time is a vital KPI for any contact center manager. Being able to assign tasks and understand your agents’ strengths and weaknesses can significantly improve this metric and increase your agents’ productivity levels.
3. Provide Routine Training
Improving the knowledge and capabilities of your agents will speed up your processes, decrease handling time, and raise first call resolution.
If agents don’t receive proper training, there is no guarantee they will be able to handle incoming and outgoing calls effectively. Therefore, once you spot the right agents for the job, it’s time to offer regular training sessions.
The life of a call center agent can be hectic. Therefore, be creative and know how to engage your agents with fun and rewarding training sessions. For example, introducing gamification can drive morale and provide a healthy competition environment that can encourage your agents to achieve more.
What is Gamification?
Gamification in contact centers is the implementation of game mechanics as a way to motivate employee engagement and achievement.
4. Give Your Agents Breaks
The nature of a call center’s job can be repetitive and tedious. Agents often become stressed due to customer dissatisfaction, deadlines, meeting quotas, and other protocols that need to be followed. If agents are stressed out of their wits, chances are they won’t have the energy and the patience to keep customers happy and satisfied.
In order to increase productivity and avoiding agent burnout, agents should be able to take short and frequent breaks throughout their shifts. Let them breathe some fresh air and perhaps have a quick cup of coffee. Doing so will allow them to rest and meet the next customer with a positive attitude.
5. Visual Engagement Solutions (Co-Browsing)
According to Forrester, “Live-assist communication channels (phone, chat, Co-Browse) have much higher satisfaction ratings than asynchronous electronic channels (email, web self-service). Satisfaction ratings are: phone (74%), chat (69%), Co-Browse (78%), email (54%), and web self-service (47%).”
Visual engagement channels work best because customers want service in real-time and trust channels that provide genuine human interaction. Unlike traditional emails or ticketing systems, with Co-Browsing, agents can resolve customer issues and help guide them through their online process instantaneously.
So What is Co-Browsing?
Co-Browsing is a secure technology that allows a support agent to see what a customer sees on their screen, without downloads or installations. Being optimized for web and mobile, Co-Browsing enables an agent to click or scroll, highlight key information, and, therefore, quickly guide a customer to a solution.
The Bottom Line
Understanding the requirements for the productivity of your agents is the key to a successful workflow. Call center agents are real people with real emotions. It’s important that they feel valued and appreciated, so they remain loyal and committed to their work. Implementing the necessary tools and technologies for agents to carry out their work effectively can significantly enhance their productivity and overall workflow.