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5 ways to Improve Your Contact Centre - Start with Agent Morale

5 ways to Improve Your Contact Centre - Start with Agent Morale

Organisations are now reaching the realisation that understanding Customers’ experiences whilst they interact with agents is an absolutely essential requirement to continual improvement and overall future success.

An extensive survey undertaken in summer 2017 on UK contact centres ways aimed at analysing the systems and processes which required improvement. Those surveyed were asked to give scores on what the most important areas for improvement should be giving a score of 1 to 10, where ‘1’ was very unimportant and ‘10’ was very important.


1. Improving your Agent Performances

Agents in larger sized call centres who were surveyed felt that agent performance could be improved. Those in smaller call centres didn’t share the same sentiment, perhaps they felt they received better training initially.

13% of those surveyed fed back that agent performance was extremely good within the call centre, yet 35% felt that their performance was only ‘Fair’ or ‘Poor’ clearly identifying room for improvement. Overall the agents who were surveyed were much more likely to feel that agent morale was vastly better than agent performance.

‘Giving agents more power to make informed decisions based on customer needs and requirements’ was seen as the most important factor in increasing agent performance at 19% of those surveyed. This factor increases first contact resolution rates. Agents were asked to pick the three most important factors as suggested to them on lists. It was noted that by giving them this empowerment agent morale would improve significantly. Contact centres should focus on the systems and processes they implement which support agent empowerment.

Improved knowledge based applications to assist the agents while they are on any call to avoid them from potentially requiring the call to be transferred or to prevent call backs would help assist agent empowerment and effective solution conversion rates.

Having a unified omni-channel agent desktop that provides agents with all the information they require on a single screen was also rated as most important by 14%.

Factors suggested to improve Agent performance

Empowerment to make decisions that help Customers = 19%
More Training = 17%
Improved knowledge Management Applications = 16%
Unified Omni-channel agent desktop = 14%
Better QA and feedback = 14%
Better training = 10%
Higher pay = 5%
Their environment – fewer desks, reduced noise levels, etc = 3%
Incentives – e.g bonuses, prizes, gamification – 2%

2. Improving your Agent Morale

Customers were asked to score which factors would significantly boost call agent morale. The most popular no.1 choice was increased salaries with 21% of respondents feeling this would have the most significant impact on morale. This may not be a realistic solution for most contact centres, there is a correlation between salaries and high staff turnover.

Suggested factors to improve Agent morale

Higher pay – 21%
Empowerment to make decisions that help customers – 19%
Technology to support the advisor in serving the customer – 14%
Employee recognition awards – 9%
Better/more training – 7%
Incentives – e.g. bonuses, prizes, gamification – 6%
More holiday options  - 6%
Flexible shifts – 6%
Better facilities – e.g. canteen, leisure room, etc – 4%
Opportunities for homeworking – 4%
Their environment – fewer desks, reduced noise levels, etc  - 3%

3. Measuring Customer Satisfaction

49% of agents rated the importance of measuring customer satisfaction levels at either 9 or 10. The factors most valued by customers using the contact centre and the priority of improvement in the specific areas were as follows:

69% of Agents felt that first contact resolution was the number 1 factor in improving customer experience within contact centres. Only 5% felt this wasn’t the most important factor for improvement.

Suggested areas for Improvement

First-Call Resolution 69%
Not having to repeat issues if moving between channels 13%
Short queue times 13%
Polite and friendly agents 12%
UK based agents 7%
No Call Transfer between agents 3%
Short IVR menus 3%
Long Opening Hours 2%
Short Call Times 1%

Further findings also reveal that the first contact resolution rate is ranked by 86% of UK contact centres as one of the top three performance metrics that they focus upon.

4. Helping Agents adapt to Changing Customer Requirements

Decision makers within Contact centres were asked how they are helping their agents to adapt to changing customer requirements. An increase in training is perceived as the most effective way to improve agent performance, and most contact centres express that they are doing this, particularly for soft skills and to a marginally lesser degree, product and technical knowledge.

There is considerably less focus on preparing agents to handle digital enquiries, despite the growth in digital channels driving contact centre strategy. Most Contact centres realise the need to improve quality measurement, which leads to more targeted and effective coaching.

Call centre bosses consider technology as being a significant piece of this, a unified omni-channel desktop is seen as being one of the most important solutions enabling and empowering agents to deliver high quality customer service.

5. Place more emphasis on Improving Call centre Technology

New technologies had quite a high average score of 6.0 out of 10 on the survey, but is rarely seen as a major driver of the contact centre strategy: it is implied that business issues come first, with technology put in place to support these.

Yet contact centres state that technology is holding them back, meaning many agents are not yet entirely empowered to handle customers’ needs fully, at the first time of asking. The rise of digital channels makes this even more difficult, and with customer expectations rising, there is a pressing need to implement unified omni-channel agent desktops, supported by sophisticated knowledge bases, in order to improve customer experience, performance, morale, and first contact resolution.

Summary

Technology and change is a significant part of this report this year.

08UK’s virtual inbound number CSAT solution can give you the ability to capture perceived agent performances. Plus 08UK’s unified omni-channel desktop solution allows your agent can take someone from Chat or Social and engage in full agent conversation. Ask for a demo to see how 08UK’s solutions can help to improve agent morale by better empowering agents.

If you would like to talk to one of our team to get any point clarifying please do not hesitate to contact us. Call us now on 0800 692 7000 or email new@08uk.co.uk so we can call you back.

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