How to improve call center agent productivity

Call center employees make a living by providing quality customer service.

Call center employees make a living by providing quality customer service. People typically phone call centers because they want to resolve an issue, so it's important that a call center's workers are able to handle problems in the most productive way possible.

A recent webinar from call center software company Knowlagent, titled Breaking Call Center Rules: Find Time to 'Wow' Customers, discussed how to find "hidden pockets of productivity" and how employees can use time more effectively to create customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Researchers found that 81 percent of call center companies believe improving agent performance is the best way to enhance customer service, while more than 50 percent of those polled felt "increasing customer satisfaction" was the No. 1 contact center investing priority.

This can be achieved by educating and empowering agents, VoIP News reports. Colin Taylor, CEO of contact center consultancy The Taylor Reach Group, explained that many call centers only train workers once, while the remainder of their employment education comes from asking co-workers questions over the next six months.

"Training agents to better utilize the tools they have goes a long way," he told the media outlet.

Taylor adds that "agent empowerment can be a huge productivity booster." When agents are encouraged to directly address customer complaints and take ownership of their job responsibilities instead of seeking assistance from their superiors, they'll become more adept at uncovering solutions for callers.

The Knowlagent study also found that respondents ranked reducing operational costs as a high priority. According to VoIP news, many agents tend to have multiple desktops on their tables, and that it's not uncommon for workers to have "six different windows open at any given point in time," Taylor explains. Rekeying the same information into several different systems is a huge waste of time and money.

"Putting an incentive on reducing average handle time is going to be nowhere near as effective as eliminating one or two of those windows," Taylor told the news source.

Lastly, Knowlagent revealed that 76 percent of respondents felt it was important for agents to make the best use of idle time. Knowlagent President and CEO Matt McConnell notes that if contact center managers allocate unproductive idle time to deploy "off-phone activities," it will improve a center's profitability, since additional tasks will be completed as opposed to having those company hours go to waste.