This is a continuation of the article “5 Tips For Improving Attrition” which appeared on my blog on July 14, 2014.
Recruiting the best agents for your center is a challenge at times and can be expensive as well. Equally or even more expensive is the cost of losing the agents we have brought on board when many times there are opportunities to turn around the negatives that are causing them to leave. These are 5 more tips for you to consider:
Attrition Tip #6
Catch them doing something right.
A recent Forester Research report showed that only 31% of organizations recognize and reward employees across the company for improving customer experience. Many of us have rewards and incentives in place for our agents based on reaching targeted goals. Unfortunately, Psych 101 tells us that you get the behaviors you reward. What are we rewarding? Are we looking at monthly goals reached, quarterly goals reached? What about the frontline leaders recognizing agents that are doing great things for the customers every day? This is typically only done through monitoring.
Coaching isn’t an activity that should just happen in a room behind closed doors, but something that should be done out in the center as well to make those agents feel valued.
We need to catch our agents doing something right and let them know about it right away when it happens, instead of waiting until days or weeks later when a report comes out or when it’s time for formal coaching. Unfortunately, that is the cookie cutter coaching that so often happens. Many supervisors are stuck in that repetitive nature of the work. The causes of contact center attrition aren’t just the in repetitive work of the agents but rather in the repetitive work that supervisors do and how they view their role in motivating and helping your agents want to come to work every day.
Attrition Tip #7
Recognize efforts, not only perfection.
We know agents love to be rewarded for things. Studies have shown they love getting money, gift card incentives, time off and written recognition. I suggest that supervisors and coaches leave a little surprise thank-you note instead of just sending an email. Kudos like that could be part of a big corporate plan for recognition, but still involves the supervisor taking the time to personally recognize the agent by leaving a little treat or surprise at their desk.
Of course, just stopping desk-side and giving verbal kudos in front of the rest of the group also goes a long way, but the bottom line is that they all want someone to notice their efforts, not just perfection.
If your contests are motivating and rewarding the same top ten people all the time, what is it doing for the rest of the group?
Although you may be rewarding them with a paycheck and they certainly love money, that’s not always the top motivator for people. Some are motivated by money, but some are motivated by other things.
Attrition Tip #8
Give agents opportunity.
They want you to identify them as a growth opportunity for the center, the future leaders for the center or maybe within your company. I often find the coaching that we’re doing involves strictly the customer experience. If this is what we’re doing, we’re really not thinking about leadership qualities that we might identify. Number three on the list of attrition causes is the lack of promotion and leadership opportunity.
What are you offering for your best agents who want new challenges and opportunities with you?
You have opportunities to structure your centers with multiple levels of agents so that your agents can grow within those levels. They can start off on the beginning level and move up through your call center.
Attrition Tip #9
Meet the challenges of the 58% of your agents who are now GEN Y.
Contact centers are seeing a change, with a lot of the baby boomers and older agents leaving the workforce. They’re retiring or moving into part-time work. Fifty-eight percent of agents are now GEN Y, and we need to look at the new challenges and opportunities for preventing attrition with them. Understanding how they think about their job and what motivates them and keeps them is critical. This goes back again to a lot of front-line leadership contact, because the daily interactions are where we see the best opportunities for improving attrition. This includes the personal interactions that GEN Y agents are having with your leadership team.
They love when your lecturing turns interactive because they don’t want to just sit there and listen to you talk. They want you asking them for their ideas, their suggestions and their input for your center.
I’m not referring to generic surveys, but rather the supervisors asking them, what have they noticed? What have they heard? How could processes be improved? What about interacting with the customers, what have they noticed? GEN Y agents love that and they will contribute on a regular basis if we just ask.
Attrition Tip #10
Explain to Agents the benefits to the customer, to the company and to them.
Gen Y doesn’t want us to just say, “Okay, this is the way you have to do it.” There is now a group of people working in your center who are more interested in what’s going to happen to them and how it’s going to affect the customer and even the company itself because they’re interested in the day-to-day operation of the company. Many of them want to learn more about those things.
How you manage mentoring with this group is also critical because they love to help.
One of my clients recently used mentoring as a motivational tool to get several struggling GEN Y agents to improve their skills. The client told the agents that once they reach a particular skill level they would be able to become mentors. Within a month’s time the agents made the needed improvement. They are now doing great at those skills; they have really successful quality ratings and manage processes and procedures extremely well. They became mentors and they were thrilled to have that opportunity. Looking for ways to offer that mentorship program could provide substantial results.
♦ This article is based on a webinar I facilitated for Intradiem and the related article written for Intradiem’s Blog where I’m featured as one of their Call Center Experts.
Filed under: Attrition, Call Center, Call Center Manager, Call Center Supervision, Coaching Skills, Contact Center, Customer Service, Employee Development, Employee Engagement, Employee job satisfaction, Employee Motivation, Employee Retention, Employee Turnover, Leadership, Turnover, Work Environment | Tagged: Attrition, Call Center, Coaching, Contact Center, Contact Center Management, contact centre, Employee engagement, Employee job satisfaction, employee motivation, employee turnover, Human resources, Inside Sales, Leadership, Retention | Leave a comment »