Call Center Agents appreciate a call center that maintains a balance between discipline and flexibility. In employee surveys, one of the most common sentiments is that call center agents really appreciate managers who understand their busy schedules and allow them to leave early if they asked. At the same time, those agents are more likely to alert their managers to any extra time taken at lunch or on breaks, so it could be “docked” from their time cards if applicable.
So often, management has the impression that call center agents try to “get away” with as much as they can. In some instances, that is true. However, usually agents truly desire the balance of discipline with flexibility. Similar to children, they don’t want to be given everything they have ever wanted, because they desire limits combined with fairness and empathy.
Call Center Agents Want Clear Rules.
Call Center Agents desire call center rules that are clear and easy to understand. For management, the hardest part of developing rules is that those rules may not be clear to the people who actually work with them: the agents. To clarify these rules, meetings must be held, emails must be sent out, flyers must be passed out and bulletins must be made. All channels of communication culture must be open so that there is no ambiguity between call center management and call center agents. It’s also important that management asks, “Does anyone have any questions?” Or “Am I being clear?” After the rules have been spelled out, management must also leave their door open to future questions, should a complication arise.
In addition to having clear call center rules, it should also be clear who the agents should come to if there is a question, problem or concern. In most call centers, the agents report to a supervisor. If the supervisor will be off on a particular day, they are referred to someone else acting in charge of the floor. It’s important that agents communicate clearly with their floor supervisors, rather than try to skip through the upper echelons of management. The reason call centers implement a chain of command is to allow everyone time and space 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 must work and agents must be clear on this point.
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