Call Center Agents

/Call Center Agents
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A call center agent is the person who handles incoming or outgoing customer calls for a business such as account inquiries, customer complaints or support issues.

Notes on Thriving in Contact Center Performance Webinar

In the webinar Thriving in Contact Center Performance: Your Quality Recipe for Awesomeness (check webinar times) you will find several helpful pieces of insight that can help you to get higher performance from your supervisors and agents. Another thing you will find are several good quotes that you can use to help inform and educate [...]

Improving First Call Resolution in your Contact Center

This case study has been updated and included with an additional case study in the Maximum Agent Performance Report: The Astonishing Truth for Contact Center Leaders.    Improving First Call Resolution is easier when you avoid the mistakes found in this case study... This white paper is based on a six-month case study of two [...]

5 Ways to Show Customers Love and Get it in Return

One of the most important things that a business can focus on is showing customers love. Doing so enables lasting relationships with the customers. While connecting with customers through a contact center can be difficult to show customer love, it has become a very effective path used by leading companies. Through their devotion to the [...]

Unearthing Time to Coach Contact Center Agents

Practice makes perfect. We tell our children this all the time. There is no way to become an expert at a task without investing the time to practice. We suffer from listening to 10 minutes of recorder practice every day so the Christmas concert and the Spring concert are good (relatively speaking, that is). Even [...]

3 Things Enable Agents to Increase FCR

Everyone knows that repeat callers are expensive, even really expensive. That’s why most companies track First Call Resolution (FCR) as a metric on their agents’ scorecards. Hold them responsible for FCR and the percentage will improve, right? Maybe not. Your plan may be undermined by your company and its internally created road blocks that make [...]

How many different types of customers do you serve?

Have you ever stopped to determine how many different types of customers you need to serve? The importance of having this type of customer insight became even more clear to me when I read an article written by the editor for Harpers Wine & Spirit, Richard Siddle. In the article, he summarized a recent study [...]

Yes, You accidentally cause agent burnout

Hi, my name is Susan. I’ve worked in the Customer Service Department for my company for just short of 20 years now and I absolutely love most everything about it. I’m one of the top ranked agents in the department and, according to the masses, I work for one of the best managers in the [...]

Why you must remove Handle Time from Scorecards

What? Remove handle time from agent scorecards?! Yes. You also need to do something else. This case study example provides a model you can use to prove why you must remove handle time from scorecards. If you have already taken this action, please share your results. Recently Customer Relationship Metrics published an e-book and self-assessment [...]

How do channels like e-mail, chat, Twitter and Facebook impact the agent

Recently Matt McConnell interviewed Jim Rembach at Customer Relationship Metrics; the original post is located on Intradiem's blog. In an effort to provide better customer service, contact centers have added more channels of communication. But how do channels like e-mail, chat, Twitter and Facebook impact the agent? Ultimately, it’s a balancing act, says Jim Rembach, senior vice president [...]

Free Webinar on 7 steps to Stop the #1 Contact Center Problem features Jim Rembach

On Thursday, August 22, 2013, Jim Rembach of Customer Relationship Metrics drew upon his extensive domain expertise in contact centers and shared with participants some of the reasons 99% of contact centers fail to leverage the seven main elements that make a contact center great. Almost every industry finds that true employee engagement is a [...]

By |August 14th, 2013|Call Center Agents, Customer Experience|0 Comments

Does your survey process protect agents from vulgar customer comments?

“Did you fail to put in a process that prevents agents from receiving vulgar and obscene comments?” is a question that was included in the 25 Mistakes to Avoid with Post-call IVR Surveys eBook and self-assessment located in our resource library for contact center leaders. Take advantage of our knowledge and experience accumulated over the past 20 years since inventing post-call IVR surveying for call centers. The eBook and self-assessment includes diagnostic questions that will help you to identify any of the many problems that will undermine the value of your customer experience measurement program. Why is this a problem? […]

Does your survey only have questions about agent performance?

“Do you only have questions about agent performance?” is a question that was included in the 25 Mistakes to Avoid with Post-call IVR Surveys eBook and self-assessment. The eBook and self-assessment includes diagnostic questions that will help you to identify any of the many problems I have come across since inventing post-call IVR surveying in contact centers. The self-assessment is intended for you to leverage our 20 years of experience to avoid the common pitfalls with real-time voice of the customer surveys. Why is this a problem? While asking questions about how well the agent handled the call is an important part of your post-call IVR survey, it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Asking customers to evaluate service from the agent will make it possible to write annual performance reviews; however, it isn’t going to tell you as much as you need to know about how the company can improve the customer experience. Sure, you will have a lot of data focused on how the agents are servicing the customers, but how will you determine how satisfied the customer is with the company if you don’t ask them? And how do you know if the scores are not a blend of the agent and the company? Think about it. […]

Why you can’t afford the contact center of tomorrow

The reasons why you can’t afford the contact center of tomorrow may not be for the reasons you think. It used to be that anyone who could type and was nice, was perfect to sit in a call center seat. Well, it’s not 1980 anymore and we have contact centers now. The archaic mindset of thinking that these are very simple jobs and therefore do not warrant higher education or provide a greater wage than the minimum is just not the case anymore. If you say it aloud it doesn’t even make sense, “I want to hire a multi-tasking problem solver, who is also empathetic, talented, and committed but I only want to pay them $10/hour.” See?  Crazy. The contact centers jobs have become more and more complex with each passing year but the mindset hasn’t changed. […]

How to safeguard against customer experience inconsistencies in your call center

Have you ever been disappointed going to a restaurant based on a friend’s recommendation but the great food and service they raved about, and you expected, was just the opposite? I don’t know what’s worse, having the bad experience or lying to your friend so their feelings are not hurt. Unfortunately, the same disappointment happens in contact centers too – customer experience inconsistency is the bane of our existence! In a perfect world the customers call in, reach a knowledgeable agent, and have their issue resolved promptly and professionally. Done. But, there is no worry in that. It’s the not-so-perfect world that we fear – the customers who have the opposite, disappointing and unexpected experience. […]

Send all of your Crazy Customers to Zappos Contact Center

Zappos wants to provide excellent service to everyone in their contact center, including the crazy customers that want to stay on the phone for 10-and-a-half hours. This story makes me really sad.  You know, I love a good public relations story just like everyone else.  And when you hear many of the (genuine) customer service [...]

Do contact centers hate families or LOVE Black Friday more?

Has the growth of contact centers along with consumer and Wall Street demands ruined it for families? Has Black Friday gained more societal power than friends, family, and fellowship? I was asking myself these questions as I read about Target Corporation opening stores on Thanksgiving evening instead of Friday morning. Then, I started to think about my years in the contact center industry (and one contact center I worked in) and how over the past few decades the hours of operation have continued to increase. First it was a longer work day, then it was a half-day on Saturday, then it was all-day Saturday, and half-day on Sunday, and finally 7 days a week.    […]

By |November 13th, 2012|Call Center Agents, Customer Expectations, Social Media|0 Comments

Crafting the perfect Call Center Manager

If you could create the perfect call center manager, what would he or she look like?  Specifically, what traits or management styles would s/he have?  What attitudes or knowledge would s/he bring to the table?  While you find some of your perfect traits during the interview process, it is difficult to find all of the attributes of a winning call center manager in one single candidate.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could take the best of all the call center managers we’ve seen over the years and build the perfect prototype? […]

Six Lessons body-building can teach you about customer experiences

The weekend before Thanksgiving, I competed in my very first body-building competition.  Between stage appearances, eating hourly meals and making sure my Oompa Loompa-like tan was intact, the customer-service lessons were hard to miss. 1.  Forget agent to supervisor ratios. You need expediters. If you’ve never been backstage at a body-building competition, imagine a large room filled with free-weights,  (tan) spraying tents, and fans leading to numerous dressing rooms—all connected by a fine mist of spray tan, Pam oil, hairspray and spray glue, amidst the chaos of dozens of competitors pumping up in preparation for their time on stage. Part of the chaos was likely due to the fact that this was my first show. Some competitors had the process down to a science. I think I even caught one competitor on a yoga mat catching a few moments of Zen. But the clear breaks in the chaos were the expediters, like bright beacons of knowledge and organization. The sole purpose of the expediters was to keep the competitors on track with the flow of the competition, make sure they were in the staging area when needed, and on stage when scheduled. And while there were only three of them (compared to over 90 competitors, plus coaches, trainers and helpers backstage), they seemed to be everywhere and have the answers to every question. If you can’t describe your call center supervisors the same way, you need to re-examine your supervisor selection and training process. 2.  It’s all about relationships. When you think about any competition that involves any degree of primping, you probably think you need to keep your finger on the record button of your flipcam so you don’t miss the impending cat fight. Instead, what you would have found were male competitors spotting each other in the pump-up room, women helping each other with make-up and glue, and competitors joking with the MC while on stage. If, as a manager, you can’t recall the last time you genuinely laughed with an agent or left working thinking, “We accomplished a lot today, but we had fun doing it!” your call center is at severe risk for agent burn-out.  […]

Do your call scripts make call center agents better or dumb?

Guidelines and talking points sound different to customers than do call-controlling scripts.  A call center agent who sounds like an advocate or advisor because they naturally converse (what they are told to say), deliver a better customer experience.  With your effort to help agents connect with the caller or to control the content of the call, your scripts easily become a cause of poor customer experiences. You know that being a call center agent is extremely difficult.  Were you aware that multitasking is close to impossible for human beings to do?  Did you know that with each additional task added to the basic task of listening, efficiency and effectiveness degrade?  Add the need to say specific things during the call to the list of tasks that have already decimated the ability to perform and what do you get?  Well, you get call center agents who sound like idiots (and robots) because they resort to reading the script and not one who is thinking about what the caller is saying.  As far as your customers are concerned, you have engineered intelligence, common sense, and human emotion right out the door. Your customer experience and/or speech analytics can help to identify agents who are desensitized due to over scripting.  If you are only doing traditional quality monitoring then you are not actually listening what your customers are saying.  Here are some examples of what you could hear: […]

Reducing volume in your call center is simple, hide your number

I recently had a small issue with Verizon that I wasn’t able to resolve on the web site.  Not a big deal. But when clicked on ‘Contact Us’ and then ‘By Phone’, instead of giving me the phone number, I was met with a pop-up window that said:  “We're sorry...we are not able to process [...]