From hiring suitable agents to setting the right goals, contact center performance management involves a lot of tasks and processes.
And while life as a contact center manager can be hectic, you can ease the workload with the right techniques and tools.
In this article, we’ll cover what contact center performance management is and provide 11 tips to manage contact center performance easily. We’ll then cover three major challenges of performance management in a contact center.
Lastly, we’ll highlight the three best contact center performance management software to help you get started.
This article includes:
(Click on the link to go to a particular section)
- What is Contact Center Performance Management?
- 11 Tips for Successful Contact Center Performance Management
- Set the Right Goals
- Benchmark Key Metrics and KPIs
- Hire Suitable Employees
- Conduct Effective Training Programs
- Create an Employee Centric Workplace
- Give Insightful Feedback
- Develop a Positive Environment
- Distribute Work Equally
- Coach Your Employees
- Complete Administrative Tasks Regularly
- Use Robust Technology
- 3 Common Challenges of Contact Center Performance Management
- Top 3 Contact Center Performance Management Software
Let’s dive in.
What is contact center performance management?
Contact center performance management is a continuous process of communication between a team leader and agents to accomplish the organization’s strategic goals.
It involves several steps like:
- Planning work and setting expectations.
- Continually monitoring agent performance.
- Frequently rating employee performance.
- Rewarding good performance.
- Developing strategies to enhance work capacity.
- Identifying performance gaps.
Typically, this process requires a number of tools like call recording, quality monitoring, customer interaction analytics, scorecards, and gamification.
But why do you need to do all this?
Here’s a quick look at the benefits of contact center performance management:
- Identify training opportunities.
- Increased number of happy customers.
- Higher lead conversion rate and sales.
- Enhanced individual agent productivity.
- Better ROI (return on investment) and more.
Clearly, performance management can offer some great benefits.
However, to get maximum profitability, you need to manage contact center performance the right way. Let’s take a look at some effective tips for that.
11 tips for successful contact center performance management
Here are a few tips that will help you manage your contact center performance efficiently to provide excellent customer service:
1. Set the right goals
One of the main challenges faced by a contact center is setting the wrong goal.
Improper goals can distract and misguide you and your workforce.
You can avoid this by creating a list of all challenges faced by your team in the previous year. Then, prioritize your team’s issues based on their weaknesses and their severity.
Once you know what the main problems are, you should brainstorm ideas to solve them.
If you brainstorm as a team, you can get diverse solutions – which can act as goals and objectives your team should work towards. For example, if a high turnover rate is a problem, your goal can be to ‘provide a better employee experience.’
2. Benchmark key metrics and KPIs
Establishing a clear KPI helps you identify what to track. You can then break these down into team and individual agent performance targets.
And if you haven’t set KPI targets before, you can start by tracking for a quarter and use the results as your first benchmark to surpass – eventually setting the bar for a higher level of performance.
Additionally, you can consider the key revenue drivers for your business and required service level while setting a KPI target.
3. Hire suitable employees
Staffing the right remote and virtual agents is crucial for achieving performance goals and developing a positive team culture.
For starters, you should only hire someone who will work in your company for at least a year.
If a hired agent resigns within a few months, your company won’t benefit from the investment made in training them. Low retention or turnover rate will also affect the overall productivity of the firm.
So let’s look at two points to keep in your mind while you search for a contact center agent:
A. Detailed job descriptions
The job advertisement you post should be clear, concise, and include a detailed description of the job responsibilities. It should also align well with the platform you’re posting it on.
For example, if you’re posting a job advertisement on a social media platform like Facebook, you need to convey the important points in the first two to three lines.
This is because Facebook only displays the first two to three lines in a post, and most people won’t bother to read the rest. You’ll have to press ’See More’ to read the entire post.
Emphasize your team’s work culture and what the firm expects from them. Additionally, you should include the firm’s goal, salary, benefits, and other conditions to attract the best talent.
B. Job interviews
Your would-be agents must be technically skilled and experienced.
However, it’s also essential that they’re emotionally intelligent and have good team spirit.
You should confirm that the interviewee is patient, trainable, and has a good personality. This way, your new agent will fit your team well and pick up the skills needed to excel at work.
Read more about efficient call center staffing here.
4. Conduct effective training programs
New agents can be confused about how to answer certain incoming calls, which will affect their performance.
But with proper training, frontline contact center agents can reach customer expectations within their first week of joining the company.
You should also train your agents to work towards high customer service levels.
Your onboarding process can include webinars, workshops, etc. This way, they’ll be able to handle at least a minimum call volume and easily fit in with the team.
5. Create an employee centric workplace
According to Globoforce, 89% of organizations with employee recognition programs provide a better employee experience.
And when your agents are happy, they are more productive and provide a positive customer experience.
You can increase employee engagement by:
- Providing contact center agents with benefits like health care insurance, performance bonuses, transportation allowance, etc.
- Allowing agents to work from home or any place of their choice a few days a week.
- Promoting work-life balance by reducing their workload and arranging team outings. You can also offer them free vacations.
Additionally, you should ensure that your employees don’t consistently work overtime, as they may become less productive and might face burnout.
6. Give insightful feedback
Providing feedback is very important for agent engagement, performance improvement, and management.
And 51% of millennials prefer receiving feedback frequently or continually.
Feedback will help your agents improve their skills and make them more efficient. A contact center supervisor or team leader can also improve the relationship with their agents by giving them real-time feedback face-to-face.
Inquire about any discomfort they may be facing at work and take appropriate steps to make them feel comfortable.
7. Develop a positive environment
Sometimes working in a contact center can get difficult.
Angry customers can stress your employees out — affecting their mental health and reducing their productivity.
You can help them withstand harsh or stressful situations by providing a positive work environment. Build a positive atmosphere in your office by:
- Praising your agents for their performance and encouraging them to work better.
- Giving them rewards like bonuses, free medical insurance, etc., to increase agent satisfaction.
- Conducting contests and awarding them with titles like ‘Best Employee of the Month.’
This way, your agents may feel energized and go the extra mile to satisfy your customers.
8. Distribute work equally
Workforce management and equal distribution of workload within your team are crucial.
Agents who are assigned more work may feel stressed because of the huge workload, and consequently, they might overwork to achieve the target.
So it’s essential to ensure that you equally distribute work among all agents in your team.
You can do this by calculating the total number of calls in a day, week, month, and year. Then, forecast outgoing and incoming calls for the upcoming year.
Based on what you predict, evaluate whether you need to hire more agents so that your existing team members won’t have to take on tons of customer calls during the busy period.
Consider creating and scheduling shifts so that they can run every contact center operation smoothly.
9. Coach your employees
You may tend to micromanage poor-performing agents to address performance gaps and increase their productivity.
However, micromanaging your agents will add undue pressure and could actually make them more unproductive in the long run.
Instead, a team leader should coach them empathetically based on agent performance.
Invest time in quality assurance call monitoring to identify their weaknesses and coach them individually to provide a better customer experience.
According to Fuel50, if a manager coaches their team once every month, employee engagement rises to 82.6%! And high engagement translates to higher productivity.
What should your coaching sessions include?
You can help them through unfamiliar or difficult customer calls that couldn’t be covered in training.
Or you can role play with your agents – where you can play the part of an angry customer, and the agents can try to resolve your queries calmly.
10. Complete administrative tasks regularly
These tasks provide a solid foundation for your team to work – making it as important as coaching your agents.
You should regularly complete your administrative tasks to evaluate your team’s performance.
For example, you may not notice problems like absenteeism if you don’t regularly update your timesheets. Similarly, you may need to track expenditure and budget to confirm that the project has low operational efficiency.
This way, you’ll be able to take the necessary actions to deal with these issues.
11. Use robust contact center technology
With the proper use of contact center technology, you can improve employee performance and efficiency and enhance customer experience.
Let’s look at a few tools that will help you manage your contact center:
A. Intelligent routing tools
Routing software captures all inbound communication from customers and routes to agents depending on a set of rules. It assigns incoming calls to agents depending on their skills and consequently helps with quality management to provide great customer service.
For more information, read our guide on automatic call distribution.
B. Contact center software
A contact center software can help you manage operations like inbound queueing and routing, outbound contacting, etc.
Service Cloud from Salesforce is one such popular contact center software.
C. Workforce management solutions
WFM solutions help contact centers increase individual agent productivity and competency by managing staff schedules, vacation schedules, workforce optimization, etc.
Check out the 10 best call center workforce management software.
D. CRM software
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software records and stores all your customer data in a single place so that you can access it quickly when needed.
E. IVR systems
An interactive voice response system (IVR) is a self-service virtual voice assistant that will guide customers to find solutions to their problems without a live agent.
It’ll only connect the customer’s call to a contact center agent if it can’t find the solution or when the customer specifically requests it.
F. Predictive dialer
This software automatically calls customers from a list and directs them to contact or call center agents when it detects a connection.
G. Speech analytics software
Speech analytics provide actionable insights into contact and call center calls by analyzing recorded customer calls.
H. Employee productivity management software
Employee productivity management software will help you know how productive your on-site and remote workers are.
What’s Time Doctor?
Used by small businesses and huge firms, Time Doctor is a powerful employee productivity management software that lets you track the time an agent works and help them achieve their targets quickly.
Here’s a look at Time Doctor’s functionalities:
- Create and assign tasks and projects to agents.
- Track the time your agents take to complete a task or project using interactive or automatic time tracking features.
- Access detailed analytic reports which will give you actionable insights into your agent’s productivity. Some of the different reports are activity summary, hours tracked, projects and tasks, timeline, attendance, customer, and web and app usage report.
- Manage distraction by showing a pop-up when the agent has been inactive while the software tracks time.
- Take screenshots and 3-minute videos of agents’ screens to know what they’re working on.
- Offers a Chrome extension to integrate with top project management and CRM software like Asana, Basecamp, Freshdesk, Intercom, etc., for enhanced workflow optimization.
- Pay your agents directly with Paypal, Wise, and Gusto integrations.
- Available as mobile and desktop applications for Android, Windows, Linux, and Mac devices.
These handy tips can go a long way while managing and optimizing your contact center performance.
But you should also be aware of the most common challenges you can face in this journey. Here’s a look at them.
3 common challenges of contact center performance management
Here are three major challenges of managing contact center performance:
1. Can be time-consuming
Traditionally, a call center manager or supervisor uses a combination of quality monitoring, team training, and one-on-one coaching to enhance employee engagement and improve agent performance.
However, gathering and analyzing enough data to decide where to direct resources to improve performance requires both time and energy.
Fortunately, you can use relevant contact center tools to minimize manual labor.
For instance, most contact center software provides auto-generated reports that offer actionable insights into employee performance, customer satisfaction, quality assurance, and more.
2. Agent accountability
Accountability refers to contact center agents taking ownership and responsibility for their actions.
However, it’s not only about who is to blame when something goes wrong but ensuring that all agents are delivering on their commitment to the team.
Often, contact center leaders face a difficult time getting their agents to take ownership of a customer problem – leading to chaos, waste of time, and negative customer experiences.
That is why you should guide your agents and support them to improve performance and boost morale.
3. Lack of standardization
While there are goals and documented methods for carrying out the performance management process, a lack of consistency or standardization can make it ineffective.
For example, if the employees don’t receive insightful feedback or if the contact center leaders are not trained on how to carry out the process, they won’t be able to take the necessary steps to improve performance.
Additionally, you need to set clear standards on what level of performance, trait, or behavior differentiates between non-successful, average, and top performers.
This way, both employees and managers will have more clarity on who needs additional training or who needs to be rewarded for good performance – resulting in an effective and accurate system.
Clearly, contact center tools can help you overcome all these challenges.
Here are some tools you can implement in your contact center.
Top 3 contact center performance management software
Here are three performance management solutions that you can use in your contact center:
Alvaria, previously known as Aspect, is a performance management system that can help increase your call center’s operational efficiency. This tool offers valuable performance insights by tracking individual agent and group performance against your business goals.
2. Nice CXone
NICE CXone is a contact and call center performance management system that offers personalized employee engagement and improvement strategies for contact center and back-office employees.
It can help contact centers increase customer satisfaction levels by connecting businesses with their customers through any touchpoint or channel.
3. Verint WFO
Verint WFO is a suite of workforce optimization solutions that captures customer interactions and manages agents’ performance across the contact center.
It can also help you improve customer satisfaction, scheduling, and operational efficiency by providing appropriate staffing levels.
A contact center manager has to look after their agents’ well-being and motivate them to provide satisfying customer service.
And while it can seem challenging, you can simplify the process by utilizing the tips and tools we covered here.
For instance, you can use Time Doctor to optimize agent productivity by monitoring their work. With a host of productivity management features, Time Doctor makes contact center performance management effortless.
So why not sign up for Time Doctor’s 14-day free trial and boost your agent’s productivity today?
Andy is a technology & marketing leader who has delivered award-winning and world-first experiences.