Agents want clear, explicit, fair rules to guide their performance. For management the hardest part of laying the ground rules is that the rules may not be clear to the people who actually work with them: the agents. To clarify the rules, hold meetings, send emails, make posters, etc. You can’t over communicate when the rules are new. All channels of communication must be open so there is NO ambiguity in terms of expectations. It is also important that management regularly asks for questions and use good communication techniques like paraphrasing and mirroring to check for understanding. Regularly asking “Am I being clear?” is a good habit to get into when you’re rolling out new rules. Management must also leave their doors open to future questions should complications arise.
In addition to clear rules, it also must be clear to agents who will answer their questions, and address their problems and concerns. In most call centers, agents report to a supervisor. If the supervisor is out on a particular day, who will they be referred to? It’s imporant that agents communicate clearly with their floor supervisors, and not skip to the upper echelons of managmeent. The reason call centers implement a chain of command is to allow time and space for everyone to do their jobs. A supervisor’s job is to manage his or her call center team. Upper management then manages the supervisors. This is how the channel of communication works and agents must be clear on this point.