Working at a call centre is probably one of the most stressful jobs in the world today. Inbound or outbound, call centre agents are assigned to deal with uncouth customers or angry homeowners.
Even just one day on the job can convince somebody to hand in their resignation letter.
That said, it is entirely up to you to help your call centre agents survive a shift, a month and even a year. Whether you are selling a product, providing customer service or attempting to conduct a survey, call centre supervisors and managers alike need to do a better job of helping their agents – berating them about not meeting quota will hardly ever work at a call centre.
Who could possibly handle the plethora of harsh, hurtful and horrid comments for eight hours a day? The answer is nobody. But that’s what call centre agents have to contend with daily.
Here are five tips for helping your call centre agents survive a shift:
1. Provide Real-Time Metrics with Employees
The “on a need-to-know basis” is a common theme in call centres everywhere. This can oftentimes be frustrating for agents, particularly if they have been working there for an extended period of time. Everything from the status of shifts to call centre data, employees always have to guess among themselves to determine what the heck is going on. This should not be.
Rather than keeping them in the dark, you should adopt a new policy: providing workers with real-time metrics so they know what’s happening, how well everyone is doing and what needs to be done better. Shouting orders from the command centre will not improve the environment.
2. Always Praise Your Staff
Certainly, you should refrain from giving praise to a single person every hour on the hour. However, it would be wise to at least provide some praise to the top performers once in a while, and give a bit of kind words to those who are not performing as well as they should.
Some positive words never hurt anybody.
3. Establish Work Schedules Together
Another common tactic in call centres is producing a one-size-fits-all work schedule for your team. One of the reasons why people, particularly youth and seniors, like to work at call centres is the flexibility that they are meant to offer their personnel.
Moving forward, it would be a good idea to create work schedules together with each of your staff members. This also makes them more likely to nab shifts that are the really important ones.
4. Be Kind Outside of the Call Centre
To label call centre supervisors as two-face would be an understatement. They may be cooperative inside the call centre, but once they have walked through those doors they completely morph into another human being and frown upon those who dare talk to them.
If you’re a supervisor then this attitude should change. You don’t need to be the best of friends with your agents, but it would be good for you and your team to be cordial, couth and conversant outside of the call centre. This can also prevent a high turnover rate.
5. Remind Agents to Never Take it Personally
It can be hard to remember, but it is excruciatingly imperative for agents to never take their phone calls personally. Just because someone is upset that a product isn’t working or they’re outraged that you have called them at supper time, agents need to know it’s not personal.
That said, it is up to you to remind them of this fact – perhaps you can share similar stories of the days when you were on the phones and had to endure the nasty behaviour of the clients.
Customer service continues to be one of the hardest industries to work in. Are consumers becoming more miserable and less patient? Who knows? All we know is that it’s tough work.At least you can take comfort in the fact that call centre work is over the phone so you don’t need to deal with these odious beings in person. But it doesn’t have to be a miserable four-, six- or eight-hour affair.
The objective of call centre supervisors and managers is to achieve the aims of the clients. The number of sales, studies or inquiries are all laid out by the client, and it is up to the team members to fulfil these aims. But you need to keep your staff happy, calm and able.