All-star Agents (and their secret game time strategy)


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In some shape or form, at work or at home, we all want to be all-stars, right? At least I think most of us do. Call center agents, who value their jobs as well as the organization they work for and take pride in delivering top notch customer service, consistently strive for this achievement. These are your “top performing” call center agents who cannot wait to see how their customers scored their performance via the External Quality Monitoring program. Survey scores and comments is the customer currency that motivates them. In a perfect call center world, your seats would be filled with this type of All-star. The reality is, unfortunately, this is not the case but All-stars can increase the performance of the rest of the team.

Customer Relationship Metrics produces an annual Elite Customer Experience Awards program which consists of seven award categories. One category would be the All-star recognition, specifically “Agent of the Year.” The recipient is one of the tens of thousands across many types of industries of our client base. How does the annual award recipient deliver Elite customer experiences on call-after-call day-after-day throughout the year?

This All-Star has valuable coaching tips for her call center teammates that can be used by any agent. She identifies four main strategies used in every call:

1. Ask more questions than deliver statements. The Agent of the Year consciously flips the standard statement-based responses into question-based responses to increase the caller’s perception of control over decisions.

Example statement-based:

Customer: How can I make a payment on my bill?

Agent: You can make your payment by check or we can automatically deduct it from your bank account online.

Example question-based:

Customer: How can I make a payment on my bill?

All-star Agent: Would you prefer to pay your bill by check or by setting up an automatic deduction from your bank account online?

2. Stop and listen. No one likes to be interrupted. Customers may interrupt the agent and when they do always remember that they have the right of way. The second a customer begins to speak – stop and listen. This will go a long way when it comes to agent satisfaction scoring.

3. Use a little finesse. Every call center agent has to deliver bad news to customers. Using authentic empathy when explaining to a customer that they cannot be helped and WHY they cannot be helped will leave the customer with the understanding that all was done and the relationship is valued.

4. Build rapport. People like to be treated like people not just as an account number or as an anonymous creature on the other end of the line. It helps to connect with customers on a personal level, to even share a laugh. Even a small, genuine personal connection underscores the value of the relationship for the customer.

It is not uncommon for All-star agents to have difficulty expressing how they do it. Analytics of call monitoring, operational metrics and customer feedback linking the call and the agent provide a list of your All-stars. Listen to their calls and talk with them about their service philosophy to find their list of techniques to help the entire team.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jodie Monger
Jodie Monger, Ph.D. is the president of Customer Relationship Metrics (CRM) and a pioneer in business intelligence for the contact center industry. Dr. Jodie's work at CRM focuses on converting unstructured data into structured data for business action. Her research areas include customer experience, speech and operational analytics. Before founding CRM, she was the founding associate director of Purdue University's Center for Customer-Driven Quality.


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