As discussed in a previous post, Agent Interviewing: How to Find the Best B2B Lead Generation telemarketers, interviewing and qualifying candidates for multi-channel marketing positions is not an easy task but once you have recruited those top candidates, how do you keep them?
Successful call centers are well aware of the critical and evolving role of the agent, and it important that strategic steps are taken to ensure not only that we have qualified people, but that those people are set up to succeed and inspired to grow with the organization. The best centers do much more than just provide agents with solid training and advanced technologies; they empower agents to do what it takes to create positive customer experiences. These centers also involve agents in tasks and projects that add job diversity, foster employee engagement and development, and enhance the center performance.
Be sure to tie in formal skill sets and knowledge requirements needed to achieve each “communication specialist” level, and, most importantly, implement a skills-based pay program that rewards agents financially for continual development. To help reduce agent burnout, tap the talent and creativity of each agent when working on off-phone projects. Empowering agents and creating job diversity is essential to retaining staff in a call center for as long as possible. Allow agents the opportunity to enhance their skills by not only offering ongoing training and coaching but also the opportunity to advance skills by taking certification courses and testing.
When training is a privilege, not an obligation, interest will be piqued. Allow your agents to “earn” their way towards advanced training. Agents who have been “awarded” the opportunity to increase their skills are more likely to attend, participate in and share what they’ve learned with other agents.
Key traits often seen in top agents include strong technical skills, including proficiency with computers, support systems, strong verbal communication skills including good voice quality, diction articulation, willingness to learn, professionalism and has the ability to work under pressure and handle multiple tasks. By creating a career path, you not only reward and retain the best agents, but it also helps you identify the least productive agents. Agent retention is a complex process that includes hiring smart, ongoing training, tracking progress and rewarding those who excel. The longer agents are with you, the more significant the contribution you can expect them to make.
Don’t let good agents get lost in the shuffle. Proven, loyal employees who excel as agents may also be able to help you in other areas of your organization such as center supervisory positions or even IT positions depending on their background and qualifications. Reducing turnover and improving productivity also hinges on having an attractive company culture. In addition to offering competitive wages and a pleasant working environment, letting agents know that you value them and will reward them with advancements is important. Also, don’t forget to always train and encourage managers to identify potential candidates who can offer more to your call center