Most call centers sparkle when a telesales performance development plan has strong standards to eliminate the “focal point”, or middle agents, quickly. I am a firm proponent of having supervisors work incredibly hard with new agents to get them ramped up quickly. Those agents who fail to meet minimum goals over an extended period, but become part of the “wall- paper” of the company, are the agents that lower performance results. New agents need to be worked with. Superstar agents need to be rewarded for exceeding performance goals. Focal point agents, those in the middle, must perform or leave. Performance programs are designed to continually raise the bar, increase the goals, and have a call center with very little middle class. Below are some general techniques when creating performance development programs:
The program must have clearly outlined objectives
If agents are expected to meet goals or be placed on a program, then the objectives must be defined so there is no confusion. Sounds easy, but it never is. Factors such as days, weeks, months and quarters come into play. A new program for new agents must be created to ensure they have clearly outlined objectives.
The program must have a development piece
Although agents get penalized by going on a performance development program when they fail to meet goals, the program should be flexible enough to train agents to improve their performance so they can eventually get off the program.
The program must be implemented, not ignored, by supervisors
It’s easy to fail to put some agents on the program when they don’t meet goals, but what does that say to those agents who are on the program, or who think they may be put on the program in the future. The most difficult thing for a supervisor to do is to enforce the program and terminate an employee. Once that is done, however, the message is sent.
Consistency is important. The program can’t continually be changed
Agents want a level of comfort. They want to believe that management knows what they are doing. They don’t want to be part of a program that management can’t get correct. A well thought out program must be supported for six months to a year to see how valuable the program is.
The program must not have too many, or too few, participants
Ten or twenty percent of your group should be on the program at any one time. If more are on the program, then various questions need to be asked. Is the program overly strict? Are the goals out of place? is training merely adequate and not world class? If so, how can it be improved? Is hiring inadequate?
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Want to talk to Dan Coen about boosting your inside sales numbers and remaking your customer service call center? To contact Dan about speaking, workshops, training and consulting: DCoen@CallCenterToday.com or 888-835-5326 x111. Follow us on twitter at www.twitter.com/callcentertoday