Fact: A good customer experience begins with effective call center management.
And that’s simply because happy and properly trained agents are able to provide better and often more empathic support. In fact, customer service can improve by as much as 450% over the course of five months by restructuring leadership and changing up the way coaching is done.
Such results usually come with increased productivity and overall happier agents and customers.
But getting there’s no easy feat.
To help you better structure the way you manage your call center teams, we’re going over our best call center tricks so you can improve performance without missing out on any detail or person.
10 call center tips and tricks for managing large teams
1. Leave Excel in the past
For years we’ve been talking about how all kinds of teams should avoid the Excel trap. Yet, it’s still one of the most popular solutions out there for managing agents and their schedules.
Sure, Excel is good for small teams or if you’re just getting started and have no budget to dedicate to such platforms. But for bigger ones, using it is counterproductive. Simply because it can’t handle complex customer service tasks and needs.
Here’s seven things Excel or similar spreadsheet programs can’t help you with when it comes to proper agent management:
- Handling large or interconnected data sets
- Ensuring error-free data when it comes to repetitive manual processes
- Staying away from data loss or corrupted files
- Providing a modern interface that will motivate your agents to use it every single day
- Integrating with other systems you’re already using as part of your tool stack
- Giving you a real-time look at operations
- Tracking and analyzing trends in time
2. Give more autonomy and accountability
One of the core customer service call center tips to always rely on is trusting your agents more. Give both agents and managers the trust they need to make informed decisions without needing approvals every time.
Start by training them to make the right decisions. This alone should empower them to do their best even when faced with having to respond to queries or issues in real time. Give them a knowledge base to look back at when they need some context before making decisions. This document should include all relevant information about how your product, business, and operations work.
In our Customer Service Agent Empowerment Research, we found that agents want more autonomy in their roles and believe that having it would boost their performance.
3. Gain more control and visibility into agent performance
The most important thing is to note that the more you know about your agents, the easier it is for you to know what you need to improve. Knowing exactly what a team’s blockers are also helps you save time and make error-free decisions when it comes to distributing tickets and keeping your agent team productive.
With Kaizo’s Scorecards, you can track activity in real time and use these insights for making data-driven forecasts. This way, you can look at every agent’s performance, compare results across different teams, and plan team capacity with the correct metrics in mind.
4. Bring all of your processes into one tool
Wouldn’t you just want to handle everything in one tool? Decluttering your tech space and finding a tool that replaces a dozen others means you’ll pay less and simplify your team’s work.
But the biggest benefit of keeping quality assurance, coaching efforts, and reporting in a single place is how easy it is to connect data like performance metrics, ticket results, notes, achievements, reports, etc. No more having to manually move insights from one tool to another and risking the accuracy of this data in the process.
5. Finetune QA
Time to build a QA scorecard!
This can offer you a holistic look at how different teams perform. It should provide a clear picture of how well your team’s doing and what improvements you need to make.
One of the most common mistakes you could make when putting together QA scorecards is to make them too detailed. While this does mean you’ll get more accurate feedback, it does require A LOT of time. So with 10-15 categories for each criterion, it can take as much as an hour for the QA expert to cover everything. And that’s just for the first QA rating!
To avoid challenging your QA team unnecessarily, include only essential criteria for evaluating ticket quality. This gives your agents a clearer look at what they need to work on. Opt for 5-7 categories, each with 8-10 criteria points.
You can read more about the common mistakes you should avoid when creating QA scorecards by grabbing our “DO NOT” checklist.
Tip: Don’t forget to get our free QA templates to help you handle case handling, escalations, channels, and more.
6. Create a feedback loop for improved performance
Regular feedback helps call center agents identify the areas where they need to improve. On top of this, they can use feedback from supervisors and customers to set better goals for evolving in their roles.
Feedback comes in different forms. Supervisors can simply schedule one-on-one meetings or performance review sessions with them to discuss any blockers or performance data.
The easiest solution is to provide regular and actionable feedback through Coaching Cards. These allow you to leave coaching advice and even follow-up tasks every time you see an improvement opportunity for your agent. You can easily turn metrics into actionable advice and build a positive feedback loop that keeps agents motivated to keep growing.
Tip: Don’t forget that it’s important to focus your feedback on the things agents are doing well as well! This keeps them engaged and makes them feel valued for their work.
7. Switch to automatic reporting
The old way of creating manual reports is time-consuming and only provides outdated stats within a short period of time. Unless you actively update them on a regular basis that is.
But you’ve already got so many other things to focus on. So keeping reports up-to-date isn’t really a core priority when you can automate the process.
Creating automated reports lets you get back your time and maintain accurate data you can always turn to in real time. This is one of the call center hacks: you won’t have to re-check the data every time you need to make a decision or plan your team’s capacity.
8. Motivate your agents to perform
Sometimes words aren’t enough to keep your call center team motivated. Instead, you’ll want to set up a rewards system that can make your agents feel appreciated and valued at work.
There’s dozens of different ways to set this system up. The most common:
- You could give your agents points for every call they handle or for meeting certain targets. These points could then be redeemed for prizes or vouchers.
- You could simply give agents a cash bonus for meeting targets. To speed this process up, use employee rewards solutions and choose from the different rewards options they provide like coupons, cash rewards, gifts, etc.
Whatever form the rewards system takes, it’s important to make sure that agents feel appreciated and valued. In addition to creating a rewards system, you could even use the regular feedback we just mentioned or team-building days to support the same goals.
9. Set things straight from onboarding day
A successful call center team starts from day one.
By taking the time to properly onboard new agents, you can set them up for success and ensure that they’re able to hit the ground running.
This is the best time to establish clear expectations from the start. Be sure to communicate the company’s vision and values, as well as performance expectations. New agents should receive comprehensive training on your company’s products or services, as well as on the systems and processes they’ll be using.
Remember onboarding can last for months if you’re planning on breaking your agents’ training into separate modules.
Approach training during onboarding systematically to make sure you’re communicating all best practices and policies. As an extra step, get your new agents an onboarding buddy or mentor to fully immerse them in the work environment and acquire general know-how faster.
Remember: Evaluate progress regularly. Conduct regular check-ins with new agents to ensure they’re meeting expectations and progressing in their training.
10. Help your teams build better collaborative relationships
Let’s face it: Sometimes your employees just want to get their job done and leave. They’re not at work to make friends for life.
Changing this mentality, however, will only bring you and your team lots of perks like improved productivity and increased employee retention. In fact, as many as 75% of employees think collaboration and teamwork are essential.
Here’s some of our best call center agent tips to easily build healthy collaborative relationships within your team:
- Get supervisors and managers to become a role model and build rapport with their team
- Be clear about your communication expectations
- Set up regular events that help your team connect like fun meetings, Slack check-ins, random one-on-one chats over a cup of coffee, contests, etc.
- Make sure you’re using the right team collaboration tools to speed up communication and connection
- Encourage team members to socialize [even if that’s partially happening during work hours]
What’s next for you
Sit down and think about your main priorities.
Has team communication been slowing down lately? Are your agents not happy? Is their performance not up to par with expectations? Is your team lacking motivation?
Start by taking a look at your current performance and employee engagement stats. Use the call center tips for customer service above to guide your action plan.
Ready to change the way you manage your call center teams?