Communication is the most essential ingredient for the success of any organisation, and most companies cripple due to a lack of it.
But we’ll tell you something: the secret sauce of success is to have an open-door policy.
Businesses should build an environment where employees can raise their concerns—provide feedback and suggest improvements in the system—without having to worry about hierarchical barriers.
For instance, contact centres rely on their agents to provide excellent customer service via different mediums of communication (voice, video, chat). But what if your agent is struggling with a personal problem? What if they can be more productive at work and have suggestions? What if they have an issue, but are too afraid to confront it?
The answers to these questions are simple. Management should encourage conversations and try to empathise with their employees or agents. An agent should be able to talk freely and raise their issues without any hesitations.
Agents interact with your customers daily. Simply listening to them and trying to make their work easier should be the end goal of a contact centre. Sadly, that’s not the case.
Due to lousy leadership, improper management, or a lack of structure, agents are hesitant to raise their concerns.
Let’s look at some of the most common things that contact centre agents are afraid to tell their managers.
I need flexibility at work
Covid-19 has made work from home a practical reality. And home is no longer restricted to your house, and it can be anywhere in the world. Agents have been remotely working from their hometowns, or even hill stations and beaches.
With the lockdown restrictions lifted, companies now have a decision to make. Do they want to continue working from home, or do they want to work from the office?
Some agents would want to work from the office, while others would like to work from home. Sparking up a conversation and listening to their opinions can be valuable feedback for an organisation. There is no point in calling employees to the office against their wish as they won’t feel productive or motivated to work.
By taking into account everyone’s opinions, management can make better decisions for both the employee and the organisation.
We have an outdated software
The management selects the tools for your contact centre, but your agents are the ones who utilise them daily. There could be a software issue, or agents might need different tools for better functioning and efficiency; management should hear them out.
After all, agents are the first ones to encounter any such issue with the system. Preparing your contact centres with the right tools is necessary. It could be because agents have outgrown the current toolbox, or perhaps they need better resources for better results.
All contact centres should re-evaluate their tools, software and resources. It will help them stay one step ahead of their competition and will help them better prepare for difficult periods.
I have made a mistake
We are all humans, and humans will make mistakes. That’s how we learn.
“I have made a mistake,” is something every employee is afraid to say.
However, if your agents accept their mistakes without worrying about the consequences, you will be more likely to have a successful business. But if your agents are too afraid to speak, you might never know about the mistake, or even worse, it would be too late by the time you do.
Providing constructive feedback to your employees and helping them out will lead to better work efficiency. Your agents will be more willing to work and won’t get scared whenever they make a mistake. It also creates opportunities for other agents to come forward and speak up.
I am feeling burnt out
Contact centres face a spike in the volume of calls every year. It can happen due to a seasonal sale, a promotional event, or generally due to high business demand.
One way to manage the same is by hiring employees who can handle high-pressure situations. Another way is to normalise the high call volumes, so agents understand that it is the requirement of the job.
However, contact centres should not push agents to the limits of exhaustion. The primary goal should be to motivate the agents so that they can overcome the challenging phase.
Managers should take regular feedback and listen to their employees if they feel pressured at work.
To handle large call volumes in a short period is not an easy task, and even the most skilled agents can suffer.
Buying tools that can help you manage sudden call spikes can save your agents from tiring mentally and improve the organisation’s efficiency. By keeping tabs on your agents, managers can save them from burnout and maintain their productivity.
The process needs improvement
Contact centres should encourage their employees to speak up and provide feedback. If your system needs improvement or there is a scope of doing something better, management should be aware of it.
They should take criticism positively and try different ways to improve the organisation’s overall structure. If your agents are scared to voice their opinions and raise their concerns, then you might never know about them in the first place. Managers can have anonymous submissions from employees if they don’t feel comfortable having their names on the notes.
I am struggling to finish my work
Agents can get affected mentally, physically, and emotionally. An agent can feel demotivated because of challenging work, personal problems, or simply feeling burned out.
It gets easier to manage your team if you are aware of the mental state of your employee. But agents are scared of sharing their problems because they think their supervisor might think they are incompetent for the job.
A manager’s job is to ensure a healthy work environment where employees can share their issues without any hesitancy. By providing a solution to their problem, contact centres can improve the growth of the employee and the organisation.
Stop wasting our time
Managers can be too keen on taking meetings and reports at times. It is important to take meetings and keep everyone on the same page, but there are times when an employee adds no value to a meeting.
Try to avoid meetings that would hamper your agent’s work as they are overloaded, especially during peak times. Useless activities hamper time and kill the motivation of the employees.
Smartly conclude meetings and communicate with your agents, and you will learn different ways to be more productive at work.
Managers should encourage employees to speak up and share their feedback. The line of communication should always be open between employees and their managers.
By listening to their problems, managers can better handle their team and maintain their productivity.