High Maintenance Agents
A high maintenance agent is one that always has issues, criticisms, questions and input regarding any imaginable topic. A high maintenance agent is the type of agent who brings any issue to the supervisor’s attention; even issues that probably shouldn’t be considered issues. We may know high maintenance agents as agents who complain about the temperature, the data in the computer, the customers, the computer screen emitting radiation, the challenges of the job, the chair, the compensation plan, the headset manufacturer, a peer department, payroll, friends and enemies in the call center, what those friends and enemies in the call center do on the telephone and at break, the fairness of contests, the fairness of prizes, the fairness of promotions, etc.
Yet, High Maintenance agents are agents we usually can’t live without, because they demonstrate accountability and caring with regard to their jobs. They take pride in their work, and they work admirably. Therefore, in spite of all the complaining supervisors may do about their high maintenance agents, supervisors will be disappointed when these agents move on. High Maintenance agents are inquisitive by nature, and passionate about everything. They also tend to be sensitive and emotional. For instance, the same sentence communicated in the same way by the supervisor on three different days will entice “HM” to respond in three completely different ways.
High Maintenance agents are tough agents to manage. When “HM” comes to you with feedback on a particular topic, you must immediately recognize that you should react very slowly and thoughtfully. With “HM” agents, the way they feel can change so quickly that the way you respond is critical. You may give an “HM” agent what he says he wants only to cause more troubles with the “HM” agent the next day, or with peers of the “HM” agent who are unhappy with your decision. High Maintenance agents are the reason a supervisor gets his pay check.
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Low Maintenance Agent
The exact opposite of a high maintenance agent is a low maintenance agent. These agents see the “big picture” in the call center. They recognize how challenging a supervisor’s job can be. Low Maintenance agents have been through the mill, and recognize the value of their job. They are extremely consistent in their communication habits. They think before acting, and tend to portray the same disposition each day.
When agent feedback takes place with low maintenance agents, the supervisor recognizes that he may be able to react and provide a fair solution to issues before those issues become a problem. Low Maintenance agents are self-starters and tend to display a maturity that makes the supervisor’s job quite easy.
The attention-driven agent is a sub-set of the high maintenance agent. The attention-driven agent wants to be seen by everybody in the call center. This agent may call the supervisor four or five times in a day simply to ask questions that have no relevance. He may throw birthday parties, holiday celebrations and other events simply to be involved in the process of the call center.
On the other end of the spectrum, attention-driven agents sometimes substitute over-involvement at work for a lack of involvement at home. Attention-Driven agents care about how they are perceived by their peers. They want to do the right things, and they want management to recognize they are doing the right things. They want their peers to commend them on their performances.