Putting a stop to underperformance in call centers


In call centers, underperformance may be caused by skills mismatch, lack of emotional connection with the job, and miscommunication.

To outperform competitors and deliver great services, managers must shift their focus from customer to employee experience. Unfortunately, most team leaders and supervisors make the mistake of looking too closely on customer experience. Although there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, an unintended consequence is that they fail to properly manage the people who keep the business running.

It’s true that in order to deliver great customer service, all you need is a bunch of passionate employees. But if your agents are suffering from poor team dynamics and lack of teamwork, it’s time for you to step in.

To heighten employee engagement in the contact center, try these coaching strategies.


1.     Identify the underperformance issue.


In call centers, underperformance isn’t really as obvious as it sounds. You’ll only know for sure whether your team’s slacking off based on measurable results, such as average handling time, number of sales, repeat complaints, and others.

If results are dropping, you’d want to pinpoint what’s causing this. Are your agents accepting fewer calls? Missing work often? Not communicating with the team? Unless you know the root of the problem, you won’t be able to formulate an effective solution that would address the issue.


2.     Determine your agents’ training needs.


Training sessions can help boost employee engagement, especially if underperformance is caused by skill gaps. To identify your agents’ training needs, you need to assess them based on all parameters that can affect their performance. Some of these may be low call rate, poor rapport building skills, and lack of product knowledge. The training program you’ll be designing must directly address your employees’ specific needs.

3.     Improve call routing.


An optimized call routing system will allow you to manage call volume by wisely leveraging the individual expertise of your agents. For example, if one of your agents is not that well-versed in technical issues, the solution is to transfer the call to someone more capable of resolving the customer’s problems. This way, you can easily spot underperformance issues without compromising the customer experience.


4.     Align incentives with important call success metrics.


Reward your employees and do so generously, but make sure that you’re incentivizing them based on the call center metrics that really matter. Channel incentives toward key result areas in order to motivate your agents to work on these priority metrics.


5.     Always provide feedback.


Often, Agents often feel disconnected from their job and the company because managers, though unintentionally, may be keeping them in the dark. If employees don’t know how their performance is affecting the company, they might slack off because they think their job is negligible. By praising their good performance or urging them to improve on some aspects, they’ll know that their role in the company greatly matters.



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