Keeping Your Frontline Agents Fresh And Focused

Four simple yet strategic techniques you can apply immediately to boost and retain frontline focus.

Phil Barron
May 23, 2016 · 5 min read
Image for post
Image for post

Dreaded employee turnover needs no introduction. It’s one of the most crippling circumstances organizations of every shape, size, and offering face every single day. More alarmingly, the troublesome trait transpires. In recent years, concrete statistics continue to reinforce the reality that those bustling center scenes we collectively devote our efforts to have the highest turnover rate worldwide.

Don’t panic; there’s no need to nervously nibble on your fingernails. With well-documented case studies of one hundred percent center turnover rates weighing down the web, losing employees at any cog of the customer service cycle really is a costly yet somewhat avoidable reality.

Here at TCCS, we put two thumbs up to committed agent efforts that streamline every customer interaction. What’s more, we appreciate the daily dedication and cognitive load required by supervisors to ensure every single agent is fresh and focused on every single call, email, and direct message.

With that being said, are your efforts to boost and maintain frontline focus a relative reflection of the quality of service being delivered?

No answer is necessarily correct here. What’s important is that you apply daily the best practices.

Demotivation Demystified

Based on our own trusted takeaways of contact center life, we understand first-hand that the repetitive nature of frontline tasks heavily influences those troublesome turnover rates. Be it telephone support, email assistance, or social customer care, agents adhere daily to something of a strategic yet repetitive structure in order to deliver consistent, quality service to every customer.

In the defense of agents worldwide, we as humans innocently become disinterested as a result of performing repetitive tasks or relaying the same information over and over and over again. Add to the workload spiking call queues, persistent pressures for better CSATs, and disgruntled customer disputes. Mounting agent responsibilities aren’t quite as chilled as computer chair races on the call floor, huh?

Having spent countless hours reciting generic, linear processes and information to customers, we hold close the reality that contact centers differ enormously from more traditional, nine-to-five office environments. We’ve recently spent some time discussing some simple yet strategic techniques supervisors can apply immediately to boost and retain frontline agent focus.

There’s no time like the present. Let’s take a look!

#1. Hit home the importance of individual agent efforts.

Agents are the backbone of any contact center. Let’s be honest, would your center stay above water without their focus and willingness to assist your customers? In the absence of dedicated agent efforts, realistic targets are never reached, customers become increasingly dissatisfied and seek alternate providers, and centers effectively crumble.

Every center needs agents in order to stay on target and ahead of leading competitors. By actively telling agents how much their efforts are appreciated, they’ll naturally feel much more empowered to facilitate customers beyond their current technical and interpersonal ability.

#2. Preach the good word of effective teamwork.

We’re not in any way, shape, or form going against Tip #1. While individual agent traits and personalities inject a much required, humanized element to every interaction, it’s important to consider that agents work as part of a wider team every single day. Strong, like-minded teams support a more empowered means of working by removing avoidable constraints that may potentially hinder a particular agent’s abilities.

Without tight-knit teams of contented agents, the sincere efforts of those agents who embrace positive customer service are washed away by a sea of rising, negative customer perceptions. Optimize the experience your customers receive by encouraging trusted teamwork on the floor. We’re all responsible for your customer’s journey!

#3. Prioritize and organize regular training opportunities.

Did you know? Empowerment is an immediately positive by-product of involvement. If agents are provided with continuously constructive training opportunities, they’ll appreciate your willingness to support both their personal and professional development. In appreciating your determination to keep their best interests at heart, agents will embrace compromise and give it their all on every interaction. Supervisors take note, the Learning and Development Team are your best friends!

Think about it for a second. How can agents (or anyone) improve if appropriate training means necessary are not provided? Can you realistically afford to wave goodbye to your top performing agents as a result of limited training and up-skill opportunities? Be it an hour-long classroom session on telephone etiquette, or a brief twenty-minute e-learning module on handling customer hostility, there’s no benefits of or excuses for completely disregarding training efforts.

#4. Appreciate every single agent.

As humans, it can seem extremely easy, should we let it happen, to let our skills slip right through our fingers when we feel unappreciated. Center life is no exception whatsoever. If agents feel unappreciated, they’ll continually deem their efforts as pointless as a back pocket on a t-shirt. Mentally place yourself in their shoes. How would you feel?

Agents will become rapidly resistant to the positive impact of their efforts if they’re rarely made to feel appreciated. While chocolate cakes and cookies are always well received on the floor, appreciating agents can be as simple as a passing comment on a faultless customer call they handled. Remember, your ability to recognize and appreciate agents has an immediately direct impact on their performance.

Your agents are your center’s backbone.

If agents convince themselves, on the basis of their experiences, that they’ve been hired to pacify supporting financial bodies, their focus will frazzle and they’ll eyeball alternative employment opportunities.

So supervisors, waste no time. As contagious agent deflation flutters across the floor, associated, half-hearted service efforts have the standalone power to sink your center. As the electronic front of house for your brands, center, and organization on the whole, no other center team or development stream communicates with customers more than your frontline agents.

Here at The Call Center School, we’re forward-looking, sharp-witted professionals who can fully relate to and appreciate your experiences of contact center life. The tips provided aren’t the answer to all your customer retention headaches, but we know for certain they’ll help if applied efficiently.

Keep up the good work. Your supervisory efforts are as appreciated as they are mandatory!

The Call Center School

Powerful e-learning platform & training programs for…

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store