Diving right into work is never recommended, whatever the job you have. But customer service agents often don’t have a choice.
When there’s a queue, tens of chats popping up, and no time to grab a coffee, employee satisfaction – and, in turn, retention, goes down!
Here are a few clear-cut examples of things you can try to reduce turnover and increase the happiness factor.
Supervisors and managers should make it a point to allow agents up to 10 minutes to grab a cup of coffee, drink some water, and put things in order on their computer.
You should also make sure your customer service agents have easy access to good coffee, an assortment of teas, and water!
Most customer service agents work in shifts. So, your company policy should make sit reps mandatory once a shift ends and another one begins.
This can be done by the agent ending their shift, or by the supervisor.
The bottom line is anything you can do to promote a calmer, more-organized work environment is a good idea.
If every time is crunch time, as is often the case in contact centers, you can employ a more hands-on approach. When you’re there in the morning and see everyone struggling to keep up, offer to barge in and ease off their workload.
Every line manager should be able to handle the same pressure the entry-level agents are under, otherwise, why are they even managers?
Stress is a calorie-cutter and call centers are full of it. If you want to stay in business, you need your agents to keep their energy levels up there.
While you can’t control whether or not they actually eat enough, it’s nice to offer them something if your company can afford it. You can start simple and healthy with weekly fruit bowls and then move on to vending machines when the going gets tough.
If there’s one thing that can drive people crazy, it’s all that pretend professionalism. You can put on or take off your business face at will, but agents don’t typically have that luxury.
They have to be extremely professional on the job, so you could contrast all that with a nice “Good morning there, *agent name*! What’s up with you today?”
The last thing you want to do is pile on the immense pressure they’re under.
Whatever you can do to be comforting and open is a plus for you, your agents, and your contact center!
Something important scheduled for today? Figure out which team members you want there to handle it, pass the other responsibilities to the rest of the team, and do some due diligence.
Make sure the agents are free for 30 minutes in the morning and meet up. Even better – have the meeting in the lobby coffee shop! Take the time to explain the importance of the task and why they should care.
Yes, this sounds very vague, but here’s the simplest way to do it:
Avoid negative statements. Instead of “I can’t” try going with “I could if you do this”
Phase-out I-statements. Instead of “I need x, y, z”, try something like “You could do x, y, z”
Add a few compliments. Instead of “you could do x, y, z”, try adding praise for a past task: “You handled a, b, c really well last time! Think you could try x, y, z?”
Being reasonable and polite doesn’t cost you a dime, so teach yourself to be friendly and considerate – it can make or break a business.
If you’re having issues with being positive, start your agents’ mornings by giving them a practiced statement. If nothing else, it shows you’re trying!
Jot down the best takes from an agent’s QA feedback and try to use those compliments to your advantage. The rest of the QA report can be delivered by email or in person during a meeting.
You can really improve an agent’s mood by offering tiny bits of positive feedback in the morning!
This might sound like an inconsequential piece of advice. You can trust us when we say it – too many people skimp on light fixtures. These makeshift contact centers force their agents to work in poorly-lit rooms that only cause drowsiness and headaches.
Make sure the open space has enough light sources and go for those good quality fittings. It can make the world of a difference – especially for those early-morning or late-night shifts!
We’re Calling It…
Just by following these very basic and down-to-earth steps, you could supercharge productivity while boosting employee satisfaction.
And those turnover costs? Forget about it! Your HR department will also thank you for sparing them the extra work.
It all boils down to promoting a more stable work environment, focused on the future, one that could inspire your customer service agents on its own!
Spread the word! If you found our piece useful, chances are some of your peers, colleagues, or emplyees might have a lot to learn here!
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