How to Empower Contact Center Agents

The contact center is, without question, an intense environment. To keep agents organized and focused, managers may present them with a rigid protocol. However, good management is only part of ensuring agent success. Agent empowerment is equally essential, and that means giving agents a voice when establishing contact center practices. Listening to their customer experiences and allowing them some autonomy when delivering service can empower them to do their best work. Here are five tips for empowering contact center agents to offer the best customer service possible.

Give agents the best tools

Agents need the best technology to deliver great service. Providing them with a powerful CRM system ensures that they always have access to the customer data they need. It’s important to make sure that all information is updated regularly and that agents are comfortable using the technology. The same is true for any other technology used, such as IVR systems. When customers are routed to agents through an IVR menu, these agents need to be able to manage inbound contacts efficiently. Be sure to train agents regularly and give these systems regular maintenance checks.

Ensure that departments work together

Agents rely on each other to perform at their best. At times, an agent may need to ask a question to better serve a customer. Put yourself in the agent’s place and test the current process that is followed. Does the agent call a supervisor? Does he transfer the customer to another department? Are these peers easy to reach? Determine the most efficient organization chart, and ensure that agents may contact one another seamlessly. The more they support each other, the more seamless the customer experience will be as well.

Listen to their experiences

Since agents interact everyday with your customers, their feedback is essential to offering better service. Ask them to talk about their experiences during meetings and training sessions. Identify, for example, the most recurring reasons for customer contact, and take note of any procedures that might be hindering service. Then be sure to ask them for suggestions on how to improve service. Using their feedback to change practices builds their confidence and gives your customers the kind of service they want.

Provide regular mentoring

Agents need regular mentoring so that they can discuss their concerns. Managers should serve as mentors, providing advice on improving skills and listening closely to agent needs. Agents should also be paired with peers. In this manner, they are empowered to share their best practices with colleagues who can benefit from such knowledge. Giving employees a chance to talk and learn from each other empowers them to do their best.

Give them autonomy

Contact center managers can empower agents by giving them greater autonomy. For example, allow employees to communicate their work schedule preferences. Agents may have preferences that reflect both their availabilities and the times they feel they work best. By trusting them to offer their best times, your contact center will be a more productive place. Also, be sure to authorize them to make goodwill gestures when appropriate. Sometimes, they may know intuitively that a difficult customer situation can best be resolved with such a gesture. However, if they do not have the permission to do so, an opportunity to please the customer will be missed. Empower your agents to do what they think is best. Both your agents and customers will be satisfied. Contact center agents play a critical role in a company’s success. By giving them the support they need, they can deliver the experiences your customers seek and feel empowered in the process.

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