Managing call center employee
Managing call center employee satisfaction is a great way to improve call center agent job performance. This will in turn improve customer satisfaction. This chapter provides 10 tips on how to foster a better work environment within a call center, which will promote productivity and customer satisfaction.
In the business world, it's a generally accepted principle — one that I agree with — that companies with happier employees tend to have happier customers. By improving your agents' job satisfaction, you're likely to improve your customers' satisfaction as well.
In this chapter you'll find a list of things you can do to maximize your agents' satisfaction with their jobs.
Recruit People Who Value the Work
When recruiting, you need to look for two things in a candidate — skill and motivation. (For more on recruiting, see Chapter 10.) Most employers are good at finding the skill, but motivation is more difficult.
Remember that finding employees who value the work means you'll have employees who continue to be motivated after the honeymoon is over. In some cases, this might mean accepting a candidate with fewer or lesser skills. I'd take the person who's slightly less skilled but highly motivated, every day of the week.
This can be tough in some places. The knee-jerk reaction is to hire the most skilled person who knocks on your door. However, you often end up hiring a highly skilled person who's "between jobs." It should be no surprise when the person quits as soon as they find something that he or she considers better. A more disconcerting situation occurs when the unmotivated agent doesn't find something better and ends up resenting your call center work for underchallenging them. They "quit" emotionally, but stay on the payroll.
Tell your agents what's expected of them and what they'll get for meeting and exceeding those expectations. (I talk more about developing and communicating expectations in Chapter 3.)
One of the reasons why employees fail to do what's expected of them is that they aren't told what's expected of them. Being clear in your expectations — even before they accept the job — is one way to make sure that your agents aren't disappointed (and you aren't, either). Confusion about roles and contributions frustrates everyone.
Clear expectations set the road for achievement and, even if the rewards of meeting those expectations are intrinsic to the employee, enhance job satisfaction.
Provide Good, Job-Specific Training
Train your agents in the skills they need to be successful. Lack of skills is a roadblock to success and job satisfaction. (See Chapter 10 for more on training.)
Imagine trying to order dinner in a country where you don't speak the language, and nobody else speaks yours — you might go hungry. You'd certainly be frustrated.
Having the right skills, and an adequate level of ability in those skills — some of which are critical, such as call control, anger diffusion, sales, product and system knowledge, and policies and procedures — improves agent achievement, which is motivating. With a solid foundation of skills your agents can become skilled professional achievers.
Read the rest of this chapter for more ways to improve call center agent job satisfaction
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This was first published in July 2008