Top 10 Mistakes Call Centers Make with Telephone Agents
Did you know that call centers have one of the highest turnover rates of any industry? It’s an extremely stressful job that is highly underestimated. The reason for short agent “life spans” is due to many call centers undervaluing the importance of keeping agents happy.
Whether you’re the owner of a call center or are shopping around for professional customer service agents, you need to read this article. Having trained and employed award winning telephone agents since 1986, we know what works and what doesn’t.
Let’s skim through the top 10 mistakes call centers make when it comes to their staff.
Mistakes Call Centers Make With Their Staff
1. Having a Poor Hiring Process
Call centers that have a poor hiring process will have very high turnover rates. Telephone agents require very specific skills. In order to successfully hire long-term candidates, an extensive hiring process is required.
If you don’t invest the time and energy into finding individuals ideally suited to perform the job, they’ll quit or be fired in record time. Here at A Courteous Communications, we have a 6-round hiring process. We also can proudly share that a lot of our agents have been with us for decades.
Our call center’s hiring process can be reviewed here: How Our Phone Answering Service Hires Talented Virtual Receptionists.
2. Inadequate Training
One of the biggest mistakes a call center can make is not properly training their telephone agents. Call centers need to place a high priority in providing their staff with initial and ongoing training.
Having a continuous training program will help the agents do their jobs and deliver exceptional customer service experiences.
3. Not Having Enough Agents
Understaffing is a huge #CallCenterFail. When the number of telephone agents is so low it can’t fulfil the number of incoming calls, the agents are being set up to fail. An agent’s job is stressful enough without adding to it. When a virtual receptionist has multiple lines ringing off the hook he or she will be forced to:
- • Deliver rushed customer service
- • Place callers on long hold times
- • Endure high levels of stress during an 8-hour shift
Call centers may think they’re saving money by stretching each agent’s workload as far as possible but understaffing just leads to costing more in the long run.
4. Running an Unsupervised Agent Room
Yes, ensuring quality assurance is a huge reason to have qualified supervisors in an Operator’s Room. But it’s not the only reason. A virtual receptionist team needs a lead that will assist them when needed.
Whether an agent needs extra support with an irate caller or help completing a specific task, supervisors need to be available to complete an effective call center team.
5. Not Making Time for Staff Meetings
A professional answering service will have weekly staff meetings. Not making time for these types of internal communications is one of the top mistakes call centers make. During these meetings, the management team is able to:
- • Provide updates or changes to client accounts
- • Discuss new client accounts and customizations
- • Advise of new or revised answering procedures
- • Acknowledge good and bad call examples for the week
6. Lacking in Incentives and Benefits
Telephone agents are the backbone of all business answering services. Call centers that don’t focus on their staff’s incentive and benefit packages are not going to attract the best of the best.
Our agents that provide award winning answering services enjoy our custom benefits:
- • Extra pay incentives for late night shifts
- • Flower deliveries to acknowledge work anniversaries
- • Room for growth and internal promotions within company
These are just 3 ways we show our telephone agents how important they are to our call center. The benefit we love the most is offering all new hires the chance to become part of our family. A family that’ll never forget to acknowledge a birthday, new baby or other special event.
7. Ignoring Good and Bad Behavior
The management team of a successful call center will always focus on the good, the bad and the ugly. Poorly run call centers will choose to just focus on bad behavior. This can lead to a telephone agent being constantly ridiculed and reprimanded; beat down and defeated.
Call centers need to acknowledge the bad so that improvements can be made. But it’s equally important to address and make example of employees’ positive behaviors.
8. Having Constant Equipment Failures
No matter how skilled a virtual receptionist is, if they don’t have properly functioning equipment, they can’t do their job. Digital call center’s need to provide their employees with adequate tools and resources.
Constant equipment failures will lead to agents feeling helpless when trying to perform the simplest of answering services. There’s nothing worse than being delayed because of faulty equipment during high call volume times.
9. Skimping on Security
For those not in the industry, this mistake might not make sense at first. Realize that professional call centers run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We have telephone agents in our Operator’s Room all day and all night.
A telephone agent’s level of comfort and security will directly impact how he or she performs. That’s why professional call centers will have security cameras installed outside and require access codes or cards to enter the building.
Call centers also have the responsibility of having secure lockers where a telephone agent can store personal items during their shift.
10. Not Creating a Fun Work Environment
Virtual receptionists are tied to their desks and telephones for hours on end. They’re the punching bag for unhappy calling customers. On busy days, they could be pushed to their maximum performance capabilities that cause high levels of stress. They’re required to always be friendly and provide elite customer service experiences.
In order to have a happy telephone agent team, a call center has to keep the morale high. If a telephone agent dreads going into work, it’s going to show in their performance.
To paint a picture of our call center’s fun working environment, we:
- • Celebrate holidays with office parties
- • Frequently volunteer in our community as a team
- • Recognize fun holidays (like weird sock day or national ice cream day)
- • Decorate our break and agent rooms
- • Have a company bowling team
We Hope This List on Mistakes Call Centers Make Helps!
We hope that after reading this article you understand the top mistakes call centers make when it comes to their telephone support team.