We’ve all experienced it – that high expectation when calling a customer support agent, hoping our issues will be resolved. We’ve also all experienced the flipside – the dashed hope that follows the realization that our issues will not be resolved, despite the smooth diction and assurances of the agent.
Whether we admit it or not, customer experiences add up. Unfortunately, many companies don’t see it that way. How do I know this? According to a 2022 Hubspot report, 40% of customer service managers say their company sees customer service as an expense instead of a growth driver.
Is your company part of those who believe an investment in customer service is a waste or those who see its contribution to business growth? Whichever side of the divide you belong to, the fact remains that HR cannot be detached from call center management. HR has a huge role in customer care management; the earlier there’s a synergy, the better for the company.
What are the challenges of call center agents? How can call center management be improved? What is the role of HR in all this? How does synergy between HR and the call center happen? The answers are all here.
What is call center management?
Call center management is the continuous cycle of devising, executing, monitoring and enhancing strategies to ensure the smooth functioning of daily operations within the call center environment.
For effective call center management, you must evaluate and improve agents’ experiences. Also, you must monitor and analyze the internal and external communication flow. To manage your call center efficiently, you must also look into how technological tools impact the processes.
As you can see, running a call center is a lot of work and can be overwhelming. And as it is a unit of the business that cannot be handled with kids’ gloves, you must give it all it takes. That’s why the human resources unit must pay close attention to the management of the call center.
Limitations/challenges of call center agents
When setting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your call center agents, did you put in place what will enable them to perform well? Do you know what their limitations and challenges are? Are you even aware that 87% of call center workers report high stress levels?
Remember that the welfare of your call center agents directly impacts your customers. If they’re empowered and motivated, it will reflect in customer satisfaction. If it’s the opposite, it will also show. How about you get to know some challenges call center agents face?
Call center agents are the ‘Agony Aunts’ of customers. They’re the first port of call anytime something goes wrong or there’s an issue with your product or service. We tend to overlook this emotional burden and write it off as part of the job description, but it is a real challenge.
Agents must always be patient and empathetic, regardless of how they truly feel. Some calls can get so emotionally charged, yet they have to keep it together. Over time, this emotional labor begins to affect their mental and physical health, which could, in turn, affect their performance.
Large call volume
All roads lead to the call center. The agents must attend to every call professionally – from inquiries to queries, complaints and verifications. Handling a large volume of calls every day takes its toll on call center agents’ health.
Managing difficult customers
We all agree that no one calls customer care to wish them a good day. Most calls received at call centers are from dissatisfied or confused customers, many of whom can be very difficult. Agents have the unenviable job of managing these aggrieved customers every day without losing their cool. This might look easy but it is a daunting task for anyone.
Odd and irregular schedules
People work at night, have issues with their apps or devices and call customer care. Customers don’t care whether it’s an odd hour; if they have a problem with your product or service, they’ll call and expect to be attended to. Due to this not-so-lovable nature of customers, call center agents have to work odd and irregular hours. This affects their health and can impact job satisfaction.
Everyone loves a little creativity and spontaneity in their jobs. Unfortunately for call center agents, it’s a luxury they can only dream of. The reason is clear – they have the same job every hour, every day, every month, every year. This could be very boring and lead to the loss of zest and passion for the job.
Why HR and call center synergy is important?
The human resource unit is the backbone of every business. It is responsible for establishing organizational structure and meeting company needs through the effective management of employees.
HR affects every unit in the company and the customer care unit is not exempted. That’s why a synergy between human resource and the call center is crucial for the growth of the company.
Here are three reasons why there has to be an alignment between the HR and call center.
HR does the hiring and firing, remember? Therefore, the job of HR starts with hiring suitable candidates for the call center. HR must be in tune with call center management to know the requirements of the job so that the right staff will be employed. Without this synergy, there will be round pegs in square holes.
Every employee needs consistent training to perform effectively in their roles and it’s the HR’s job to provide training for staff development. Due to the sensitive nature of their job, call center agents need regular training even more. To provide this, HR needs to be in sync with the call center to know their training needs.
Employee engagement and satisfaction
Part of the human resources unit’s job is to ensure the employees are well cared for and engaged. This is only possible if there is a collaboration between the two units. By working closely with the staff and managers of the call center, HR can implement strategies that will boost their morale, motivate them and generally make them happy on the job.
5 ways HR can empower call center agents and boost their productivity
A synergy between the HR and call center units results in satisfied and empowered agents and improved productivity. When call center agents are happy with their jobs, it will rub off on customers. Happy customers, in turn, lead to an increased bottom line. Here are five ways HR can empower call center agents and boost their productivity.
One of the ways HR can empower call center agents is to build team culture. This is non-negotiable. Team culture is basically the shared beliefs, attributes and values among employees in a company. When team culture is fostered in the call center, it leads to increased trust, improved motivation and a happier and more engaged team.
Adoption of parking management software like WayLeadr
A sure way to make a call center agent grumpy at the start of the day (or night, depending on their shift) is to waste valuable minutes finding a parking spot when they should be at their post. Wayleadr solves this problem by optimizing parking and easing the stress of call center agents. They get to resume work on time and in a cheerful mood.
Work/life balance promotion
HR can also consider incorporating remote jobs from platforms like Remotewokr to further promote work/life balance for call center agents. By offering remote work opportunities, employees can have more control over their schedules and reduce commuting time and associated stress.
Here are some benefits of integrating remote jobs into the call center environment:
1. Increased flexibility
2. Reduced commuting stress
3. Improved job satisfaction
4. Enhanced work/life integration
5. Access to a broader talent pool
To implement remote work effectively, HR should establish clear guidelines and expectations, provide necessary technology and support systems, and regularly communicate with remote employees to ensure their well-being and productivity.
Also, introducing 8 hour 24/7 shift schedule examples is a strategic move by HR departments to bolster the work-life balance of call center agents. These schedules offer a structured framework that ensures agents have consistent working hours, allowing them to plan their personal lives with greater certainty. HRs can tailor these schedules to provide options that align with agents’ preferences and responsibilities, fostering a sense of control and flexibility. This, in turn, minimizes the stress associated with irregular working hours and night shifts, contributing to improved overall well-being and job satisfaction for call center agents.
Effective communication channels
Communication is the oil that runs the engine of any organization. Without it, there will be friction and little or no results. HR must create effective communication channels to empower and equip call center agents for enhanced customer satisfaction. This will facilitate honest employee feedback.
When agents can share their concerns, give feedback and provide suggestions, they feel cared for. They have a sense of belonging which improves their job satisfaction. This spills over to customers as they attend to them passionately and professionally.
Recognitions, rewards and incentives
We all love to be recognized for a job well done. To recognize and appreciate call center agents who do their jobs well, HR should create rewards and incentives for them. This will encourage and motivate them to keep doing a good job and even improve their performance.
HR and Call center synergy – the perfect combo for enhanced customer satisfaction
You can’t give what you don’t have. Call center agents face daunting challenges that limit their productivity and reduce job satisfaction. How then can anyone expect a dissatisfied agent to facilitate customer satisfaction?
A synergy of HR and call center management provides a lasting solution to this problem. This synergy is important as HR is responsible for agent recruitment, training, and engagement. Therefore, a misalignment between these two units will affect customer satisfaction negatively.
The benefits of a perfectly synergized HR and call center management include a vibrant team culture, good parking management, work/life balance, effective communication, and recognized and rewarded staff. All these outcomes empower call center agents to perform their tasks excellently, improving customer satisfaction.