The role of the contact center agent may seem straightforward at first: to field customer communication and resolve issues as quickly as possible. For the enabled agent, though, the job is more extensive than that. Additional trust and responsibility means a more substantial role for the agent and better service for the customer.
1. Allow agents to set their own goals, which will make them feel more invested in their job. This doesn’t have to be a replacement for goals set by the contact center, but in addition to them.
2. Let agents create their own solutions to common problems. When a few agents identify the same difficulty, have them work as a group to come up with a resolution. Their new process can be implemented and tested within the group to measure its effectiveness.
3. Regularly update the contact center’s in-house best practices guide, which should answer the questions agents ask during their shift. This single point of reference will keep agents knowledgeable, arming them with the information they need to best serve the customer.
4. Rotate agents in project management positions. Contact centers should always be looking for new ways to improve the customer experience. Give each agent the opportunity to head projects that will improve contact center focuses, like script structure, social media interaction and repeated call rate.
5. Use the buddy system to partner agents who have important yet different strengths. Each agent will be able to take on the role of a mentor, while at the same time learning new tactics.
6. Instead of requiring every agent to work a traditional nine-to-five schedule, permit them to choose flexible hours. Agents feel more respected when they have some control over their schedule and they’ll show up to work in a better mood.
7. Empower agents to make management-level decisions, like offering refunds. Train them to recognize situations where these offers are appropriate and clarify the red line they shouldn’t cross.
8. Create a corporate culture where agents are encouraged to share ideas. This can be in the form of an idea box (or custom e-mail account) or during informal meetings. Some contact centers offer a monetary award when they use an agent’s proposal.
It’s always possible to further enhance the customer experience. Enabled agents are better able to positively affect customer satisfaction and retention.