Although working in a call center might not be the worst job in the world, it’s one of the most emotionally draining desk jobs. While a large part of this comes from answering angry customers that might be verbally abusive, it also doesn’t help that most top management still believes that quantity is more important than quality. Of course, there are many types of call centers and there are various steps you can take to improve your call center environment. But first, you need to look at the main problems that call center agents face.
People who work in customer support know they need to have thick skin. People will say anything to get their own way, and it’s not uncommon for agents to share stories where customers even make death threats during a call. It’s extremely important that you train your agents in dealing with angry customers – the truth is that clients are mad at your service, not the agent who’s picking up.
There’s a reason why the phrase ‘I want to speak with your manager!’ is used so many times. While call center agents need to follow policies by the book, managers can bend the rules to please a customer. In this case, you have two options: either make your managers strictly follow your policies or give agents the freedom to make decisions depending on the situation. Finally, customers who have a smooth support experience tend to be a lot calmer. So, it’s wise to invest in a call center platform that allows agents to see the customer’s full history before picking up, such as Freshcaller.
Excessive Call Monitoring
It’s true that all roles need KPIs – you need to know if your employees are performing to expectations, after all. However, only a few jobs face as much monitoring as call center agents. There are even stories about call centers that monitor employees’ time in the bathroom – it’s a no brainer that this kind of environment isn’t good for anyone. Often, everything the agent does is recorded, including calls, their computer screen, and more. The only way to solve this is by trusting your employees. Make your recruitment process more selective and only hire people who show high potential. After that, only monitor calls when necessary and always remember to give praise when agents do a good job.
Many call center agents complain about how unreasonable their targets are. Top management usually sticks to KPIs like the number of inquiries answered, time to respond, and average time spent handling customer queries. Although these are important metrics to keep in mind, they don’t clearly indicate an agent’s performance. For example, asking agents to answer a fixed number of customers each day doesn’t consider that some queries take longer than others. Additionally, it’s more important to ensure that the customer gets their problem fixed with just one contact (even if it takes longer) than through multiple interactions with a lower handling time.
Consequently, it’s more efficient to track metrics such as first contact resolution and customer satisfaction. You can even take advantage of platforms like CloudTalk to include surveys at the end of the call. This way, when setting targets, you can create a mix of call quality and handle time, where the former has a bigger impact on KPIs.
Poor Quality Phone Equipment
To offer good customer support, it’s essential to have excellent phone equipment. Unfortunately, sometimes companies lack the hardware to provide a seamless call experience. If agents are struggling to communicate, they have to shout to make themselves heard, which distracts everyone working nearby. Traditional call centers are expensive, but with the arrival of call center software, agents can now have crystal-clear audio while using affordable headsets.
Physically Straining Demands
Companies must understand that working at a desk can be physically straining. Of course, call center work is not as demanding as operating heavy machinery, but it’s still essential to have an ergonomic workspace. This means having adjustable office chairs, a well-lit environment, and establishing policies like the 20-20-20 rule and getting up every 30 minutes.
Call center jobs are perceived as the worst office jobs in the world. Still, instead of being part of the problem, companies can work towards the solution. And, hopefully, in a few years, call center jobs will be treated with more respect.
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