Call center agents are unsung heroes of every industry. They are the bridge between the brand and the customer. Owning to this responsibility, the work-life of call center agents is extremely brutal.
Call center agents are often under-equipped, preventing them from offering quality customer service and reducing retention rates. With such restraints on work-flexibility, the life of a call center agent is harsh.
Agents usually have to stick to their desks all day, working for long hours. More than often, they are incentivized to work over-time; however, it doesn't compensate for the mental and physical strain. For most people, incentivized jobs are a big deal, but for call center agents, it translates to the repeated answering of phone calls, reading out the same-old script over and over. We are talking about really long hours where a person has to answer 80-100 phone calls per day, respond to at least 50 emails, all the while sitting in a small cubicle amidst an extremely noisy workplace. It's actually admirable how they can provide their complete attention to their customers.
Apart from a hefty schedule, these agents are also confined to various rules and regulations, unlike most jobs. To comply with all of this, agents barely feel any work-life freedom to the point where they even have to schedule their own food/bio breaks in advance. They always have to stick to their desks to respond to any unannounced query from the customers. With the brand's reputation at stake, the agents have to perform in a stressful environment.
From a customer's point of view, who might be unaware of such circumstances, will always expect top-notch service. However, agents are barely motivated and mentally exhausted to offer premium service all the time. 8 out of 10 agents hardly get a chance to grow their careers as the workspace is highly competitive due to an incentivized work culture.
A standard call center agent gets benefits/bonuses only when they reach a pre-determined benchmark. The companies preset these metrics to push the agents until the business goals are met at an optimum cost. Every agent has to answer most of their calls, i.e., 80% of their inbound calls, within few seconds. Each call has to last for at least a specific time limit so the agent can check off things from his quality script. It doesn't matter whether the agent is familiar with the customer after several calls; they still have to repeat the information to go through compliance.
To accelerate agent performance and to meet KPIs, agents must be equipped with the following:
It is important to remember that investing in your agents by armouring them with proper SaaS-based tools will positively reflect customer satisfaction. This will ultimately retain more customers and generate revenue for the business.
From problem-solving to closing sales deals, agents tackle an essential sphere of contact centers. Businesses have to employ dependable leaders, aka managers, to generate proactive agents. These managers must not throw overwhelming expectations at the agents. Instead, they must train them, equip them and promote a positive environment.
Some contact centers push their agent to cover multiple channels based on requirements. This becomes burdensome for the agent and for the customers who have to repeat their information across these channels for one issue. An omnichannel integration can be a viable solution for this. It enables agents to utilize their time efficiently by streamlining these multiple conversational channels under one dashboard.
With further digitization, agents no longer will have to fill in customer data repeatedly after each call while managing to answer the call. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions can fill customer data automatically with proper prompts for call outcomes to unburden the agents.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the call center industry suffered drastically from revenue loss. Many businesses discontinued their services or laid off people to deal with their losses. However, some brands upgraded their teams to remote working solutions.
Work-from-home became an alleged affair for call center agents, thanks to cloud telephony or cloud contact center solution. With mobile phones becoming more competent with the agent-specific number and call-masking, they could manage inbound and outbound calls from home. This has somewhat relaxed the momentum for agents as they can work from their home's comfort, saving on time wasted on the daily commute.
Call centers with progressive tools witness significant YoY growth, making it worth their investments. After all, the end-goal for every contact center is to conduct sales-driven conversations with a problem-solving mindset. To achieve this, pushing agents will not get the business any further. Instead, proper contact center solutions can lead the way by uncomplicating the lives of call center agents.
Agent gamification is another novel way to add fun in the life of contact center agent and brings more learning on the way. Various contact centers have devised different ways of gamification with microlearning, to keep a motivated workforce.
Author Bio: Sweta is a passionate technical writer with an experience in digital marketing. Outside work, she is a devoted Esports advocate.