Call centers are busy and stressful work environments. Agents are under constant pressure to hit their KPIs and let’s be frank – customers are not always in a happy, pleasant mood when they call. It is not uncommon for even the most even-keeled and talented reps to hit a slump where they become unproductive and disengaged. Not only does this impact the quality and quantity of their work, but it puts them at risk of quitting or being let go. Use these strategies to pull your call center reps out of an unproductive slump.
“The most effective call centers concentrate on having a great culture with technology that mirrors their expected work flows. They also have solid leadership that is clearly articulating the goals and measurements for success. Then they customize motivating each team member differently because each person has unique strengths and weaknesses that should be capitalized on and improved! We all fall in a slump – just get out of it quickly with the right plan of action!” says Alyssa Cenekofsky, Branch Manager of Contemporary Staffing, King of Prussia.
First, Talk To Them
Before hammering a rep stuck in a slump with disciplinary action, sit down and talk to them and find out what’s going on before assuming they are simply slacking off. There are a number of reasons why people fall into a slump. They may be struggling with new software or processes, they might be engaged in a conflict with a coworker, or they could simply be overwhelmed by their metrics. If you can identify the thing that’s draining their energy, you can work together to overcome it.
Encourage “Replenishing” Breaks
Your agents have numbers to hit, that’s true. But increasing the frequency of their breaks can help reduce stress and keep reps focused. Allow them to take 10-minute breaks every 90 minutes or so in addition to their meal time break. Encourage them to get up and walk around, eat a healthy snack, or step outside for fresh air and sunlight. Just a few minutes away from the phone can do wonders for employees’ attitude and perspective.
Get them Off The Phones
Imagine, for a moment that you spent your entire eight-hour workday glued to your chair, sitting in front of your computer, doing nothing but taking calls. Sounds draining, right? Build time into each day for reps to shut down and work on something unrelated to the phone. Try blocking time each day for reps to respond to customer service emails, to man the customer service chat program, answer social media inquiries or even help managers with administrative tasks. They will welcome the change of pace, and you may discover new talents in your agents that you didn’t recognize before.
Customer service is serious business, to be sure. However, it’s not a matter of life and death. Employees want to work in a place where they can feel free to laugh, joke and have a little fun when they aren’t engaged with customers. Cultivate a culture of fun however you can to help bust stress. You might circulate funny (but appropriate) comics or memes, you might hold “gag” awards ceremonies once a month, or plan fun Friday activities like an office potluck or cubicle decorating contest, or bring in a masseuse once a month. A little bit of levity can go a long way in lifting spirits and improving focus.
Today’s customer service teams work in demanding environments and finding the right candidates with staying power can be a challenge. If you are looking for talented staff for your customer call center, the expert recruiters at Contemporary Staffing Solutions are ready to help. We specialize in connecting call centers with fully-vetted, highly-skilled and engaged talent. Contact CSS today to start filling your customer service center with the best and brightest talent in the market.