Ensuring Your Top Performers Get What They Crave

Industry-wide, agent attrition is high, hovering around 30%. Not only is this expensive in terms of hard costs like recruiting, hiring, new hire training and productivity losses, but there are even more critical hidden opportunity costs such as customer churn that many organizations don’t track because they are harder to quantify.

The truth is that when agents don’t have the appreciation, development and responsibility they crave, their performance suffers. And poor performing agents are less satisfied with their jobs and ultimately more likely to leave your company.

How can you ensure your top performers get the appreciation, development and responsibility they crave?

 

Reward High Performers

We all want people to notice when we worked hard and did a good job at something. High-performing reps got to be high performers by caring about the work they do. They’re proud of that work and want their effort to be noticed and appreciated. Look for creative ways to reward high performers. There are a lot of opportunities to provide the kind of rewards that reps love without extra cost. Reps that feel appreciated are less likely to leave.

Even the best-run contact centers can experience lower-than-expected call volumes. Have your workforce managers monitor for opportunities to provide time back as a reward. An obvious example is providing your high performers voluntary time off when you’re experiencing low call volume. It doesn’t have to be simply going home early. Work force management could look for opportunities to give high performers extra time for lunch. What if you got some gift cards to a local establishment and provided high performers time to go on a short shopping spree? The extra time doesn’t have to be unproductive for the company, either. What if during slow times you let high performers work on a pet project or self-enrichment of their choice?

 

Develop Skills

Ensure that you are finding time to develop your top performers. Top performers don’t want to feel stagnant. They want to learn and apply new skills. If your top agents feel that they are growing, they will be happier and less likely to leave. Don’t make the mistake of providing agents with training but not letting them apply their new skills. Put a system in place where agents learn new skills, those new skills are updated and the agents get a chance to apply them in their jobs. If an agent qualifies for a new queue, make sure they get a chance to work on that queue. That doesn’t mean that every time an agent completes training you have to switch roles.

As I said earlier, even the best-run contact centers experience lower-than-expected call volume at times. They also experience higher-than-expected call volumes. This happens at the queue level too. One queue might be blowing up while another queue may be slow. Have systems in place to know who your high performers are, what queues they are qualified for and when there are opportunities for them to help out on an understaffed queue.

 

Have High Performers Monitor Calls 

Give your high performers an opportunity to monitor some calls in place of quality control. As stated, reps want to feel that they are appreciated and developing, but the ultimate reward for good performance and development is extra responsibility. By making these reps part of the process they gain more ownership and will feel more loyalty. It is also a great way to get the good habits of top performers to rub off on your low performers.

 

SUMMARY

Identifying top performing agents and then providing them with the appreciation, development and responsibility they crave leads to a more satisfied, engaged and effective agent workforce overall, which ultimately leads to more satisfied customers – and stronger customer loyalty makes everyone happy!

This article was originally posted on the Melissa Kovacevic’s Customer Service blog.

 

About the author

Matt McConnell

Matt is chairman, president and CEO of Intradiem. Matt co-founded Intradiem in 1995 with a vision of helping companies increase the level of customer service they deliver by improving the performance of their agents. Today, Intradiem is a leader in its market with more than 300,000 call center agents around the world using Intradiem every day. Matt is the author of the book Customer Service at a Crossroads and holds 11 software patents. He graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1994 with a bachelor's degree in industrial and systems engineering.

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