June 11, 2015
Every contact center has them: high achievers who are perfectly aligned with their work and show it in their performance. These people understand customers, empathize with them, know where to find answers and always keep their cool, even with testy customers. In many cases, they solve problems that managers don’t even know exist yet. The reason is that they’re on the telephone with customers day in and day out, and oftentimes, they understand customers better than company executives, managers and even data analytics systems.
According to customer service consultant Jeannie Walters, founder of 360Connext writing for Business2Community, it’s important that contact centers offer acknowledgement to these above-and-beyond workers even if that’s not what they’re after.
“Often, they are not seeking glory or recognition, they are simply doing their jobs in the only way they know how,” Walters wrote. “By actively seeking out your superstars, the rest of the experience can improve thanks to their intuitive skills.”
These individuals are a great source for best practices, case studies to use in training other agents, and mentorship to newer workers. In some cases, they can even transcend technologies such as performance analytics and quality assurance solutions. Walters provides an example in her article:
“One call center rep had taken it upon herself to record the questions from customers requiring the same instructions again and again. Many of these questions weren’t available as choices in their system, so she recorded things in her notebook, created the best instructions she could, and brought it to the call center manager. When the manager refused to add them to the system because the ‘numbers didn’t reflect this,’ she provided her instructions to her other call center workers and as a result, transnational satisfaction rates increased. In this case, the call center manager was simply reflecting the data-driven culture of the company. The superstar saw a truly customer-centric solution and made it happen in a low-tech way. This is a superstar who could help the rest of her team learn how to really listen for the root causes in customer service.”
For this reason, it’s important to involve agents – particularly your most seasoned veterans and top performers – in the planning and execution stages of improvements to the contact center. Are you reworking the IVR menu? Poll your agents to determine if there are any instructions or menu choices that customers may not be understanding, or if menu choices should be added or eliminated. Are you improving your knowledge bases for information agents can search to solve customer problems? Your top agents should be one of your primary resources. Is the outside sales team looking for input in new strategies? Your contact center agents understand customers better than anyone in the organization, and their knowledge should be thoroughly tapped.
Top agents can be invaluable for many other processes, such as training and mentoring newer agents (or those struggling with pain points), collaborating with less experienced agents and providing managers with input on day-to-day issues. Just be sure that you’re recognizing and rewarding their good work. After all…you want to keep them.