|Call center agents|
A call centre is a centralized office used for the purpose of receiving and transmitting a large volume of requests by telephone. A call centre is operated by a company to administer incoming product support or information inquiries from consumers. Outgoing calls for telemarketing, clientele, product services, and debt collection are also made. In addition to a call center, collective handling of letters, faxes, live chat, and e-mails at one location is known as a contact center. A call center is often operated through an extensive open workspace for call center agents, with work stations that include a computer for each agent, a telephone set/headset connected to a telecom switch, and one or more supervisor stations.
Call center technology is subject to improvements and innovations. Some of these technologies include speech recognition software to allow computers to handle first level of customer support, text mining and natural language processing to allow better customer handling, agent training by automatic mining of best practices from past interactions, support automation and many other technologies to improve agent productivity and customer satisfaction. Automatic lead selection or lead steering is also intended to improve efficiencies, both for inbound and outbound campaigns, whereby inbound calls are intended to quickly land with the appropriate agent to handle the task, whilst minimizing wait times and long lists of irrelevant options for people calling in, as well as for outbound calls, where lead selection allows management to designate what type of leads go to which agent based on factors including skill, socioeconomic factors and past performance and percentage likelihood of closing a sale per lead.
|Call center agents|
While inbound call center services attend to the enquiries of company customers, outbound call center services are aimed at enlisting customers to purchase the services or products of the company. In these services, the representatives of the company initiate the calls to the customers to sell the company's product or services. This type of service may be called telemarketing. The call center representatives use telephones to call prospective customers. Alternatively, representatives can also send emails. An outbound call center compiles and maintains a large database of personal information about the potential customers. These databases are obtained on shared effort bases, or just purchased. Unfortunately, these addresses and telephones numbers are sometimes obtained sometimes by dubious methods. Using an outsourced outbound call center invites an indirect, impersonal relationship with customers. It also means less control over sales representatives. This appears to be a great drawback in hiring outbound call center services, howsoever hardworking and honest they may be.
|Call center agents|
Call centers are often large offices staffed with representatives who either make or receive phone calls. Depending on the size of the call center, a single office could have anywhere from a few dozen to hundreds of telephone staff. Depending on the needs of the company, call centers can make either incoming or outgoing calls.
|World Class Cell Center|
1. Randomly record 2 -3 telephone calls. Random recording is important. Do not record 3 calls back to back or on the same day, as your employee may be having a bad day and this may be reflected in all of one afternoon's calls, but is not necessarily reflective of their typical performance.
2. Review the calls and note strengths and opportunities. Before meeting with your employee, listen to the calls and note what they did well and identify 1 -2 opportunities for performance improvement.
3. Play one tape and let your employee listen. During the playing of the tape, you do not need to respond.
4. Have your employee respond to the tape. After the tape is played, ask your employee to respond. Most employees will be overly self-critical. Your employee will likely note many opportunities for improvement and struggle to articulate what they've done well.
5. Coach the call. Use the "sandwich" approach. Tell your employee what s/he did well, followed by constructive feedback, and then end with positive feedback. When offering constructive feedback, share only one opportunity for improvement. The employee has likely observed and stated several improvement opportunities so there is no need to bring these up again Try to mention one thin g the employee did not bring up and offer this as your constructive feedback.
6. Gain commitment for performance improvement. Ask the employee, "What specific steps will you take over the next 5 days to improve in this area?" Write down what the employee states and repeat it to her. Summarize the session by reiterating strengths and offering a vote of confidence that she can improve in the identified area.
7. Repeat steps 2 - 6 with a second and perhaps third tape if necessary. The point of numerous recording is that an employee may respond defensively stating that was just a "bad" call. If that is the response, you may choose to review a second or third tape.
8. Follow-up before the next agent coaching session. Check with your employee in between coaching sessions to keep the commitment top of mind. You can touch base with your employee via email or a personal conversation.
9. Discuss improvement in next coaching session. Before listening to calls in the next coaching session, ask your employee how she's progressing toward the goal of the last session. Look for improvement on calls reviewed in this session. This 9-step call center agent coaching model is simple, clear and it both praises employees and offers support for improvement opportunities.