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  • Writer's pictureZag Global

From Underperforming to Excelling in Customer Services [Tips & Tricks]

Having engaged employees in your contact center is crucial to providing excellent customer service. If employees are passionate and committed, they are more likely to deliver exceptional service. Conversely, if agents and managers are underperforming, they can negatively impact a program or even the entire company. This can jeopardize overall business performance, and sometimes leaders need to shift their focus from client metrics to individual employee performance to ensure smooth operations.


It's important not to jump to conclusions about an employee's lack of motivation. There may be underlying issues such as a lack of constructive feedback or personal distractions. It's essential to approach the situation with an open mind.


Coming to Terms with the Issues at Hand

The first step in addressing underperforming contact center employees, from individual agents to managers, including team leaders, supervisors, and operation leaders, is to identify the problem. Without knowing what's broken, it's impossible to fix it.


Identifying what the issue is, is the first step towards becoming capable of providing excellent customer services. To effectively narrow down on a specific indicator, it is crucial to identify what matters most to your client amidst the vast amount of data inundating contact centers, therefore, data is essential.


To gain valuable insights, it is important to listen to calls, review emails, or chat transcripts. There is no set guideline on how many of these interactions you should review. You should keep analyzing them until you gather enough information to identify the root cause of the issues.


Corrective Strategies

After identifying the issues, the next step is to decide whether the employee's dedication and commitment justify investing in them before taking action to address the issues. If the employee is an experienced agent or leader, you and the company have already invested heavily in their success. Otherwise, you may need to prioritize additional training.


Here are a number of things to keep in mind before proceeding:


Setting Performance Goals

When deciding whether to invest in an employee, keep in mind that providing ambiguous or general advice such as asking them to be more responsible might not be helpful. Instead, it is recommended to offer precise examples of areas for improvement. This entails setting specific performance objectives with well-defined expectations and timelines.


Personalized Coaching & Individualized Guidance

If an employee, particularly a new recruit with less than six months of experience, is not performing well in their assigned role due to a mismatch, you need to consider whether providing additional support can help improve their performance. Personalized training may be a viable option in cases where the employee lacks the necessary skills to excel in their role. By offering additional training and mentoring, you can track their progress and determine whether it is worthwhile to continue investing in their development or not.


Financial Incentives

Occasionally, providing continuous financial incentives or compensation such as bonuses or performance commissions can guarantee that agents and their managers uphold high performance standards that fall within the top 25%. It is crucial to reward and incentivize employees based on the metrics that are important to your client. To encourage agents to focus on these crucial metrics, direct incentives towards key result areas. Besides compensation, acknowledgment can sometimes assist in steering an errant staff member back on track. Official recognition from both leadership and peers offers positive reinforcement for employees who may comprehend their contribution to the company's overall performance.


Taking Disciplinary Action When Necessary

If an underperforming employee is not motivated by compensation, recognition, or a change of pace, disciplinary action may be considered. However, it should be noted that disciplinary action is not the initial approach and is only utilized if the underlying problem is a failure to adhere to policies or procedures. Taking disciplinary action should always be carefully considered and is never a decision to be made lightly by a leader.


Utmost Importance to Accountability

Once the issues have been identified and addressed through remedial actions, the next crucial phase involves ensuring accountability. It's important to note that a one-size-fits-all approach isn't applicable, as was the case in earlier steps. For instance, if an agent or leader's performance slump was brief, they may not require monitoring or incentives to regain their above-average productivity. Sometimes, a simple but genuine show of recognition suffices to boost employee engagement. Certain employees perform exceptionally well when their managers and peers acknowledge their efforts, causing them to flourish.


A Regulatory Feedback Mechanism

It is advisable to maintain a continuous feedback loop to ensure that the measures you take are well received by your team members who have benefited from the extra attention. Poor communication from managers can sometimes make employees feel disconnected from their job and the company, even if it is unintentional. If employees are not aware of how their work affects the company, they may start to feel like their job is insignificant, leading to a decline in their performance. Acknowledging their performance will demonstrate that their contribution is appreciated and valued.


By ensuring that the above mentioned techniques are put to use, it can be guaranteed that the performance of your employees would improve and the overall customer service would become exceptionally commendable. A little push in the right direction can go a long way.

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