In today’s work climate, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for employers to retain team members. Contact centers are especially notorious for low retention rates, with agents often citing burnout and boredom as reasons for leaving.
According to Gallup’s findings, highly engaged employees bring 21% greater profitability; focusing on employee engagement reduces the risk of churn and improves business results.
One way to ensure high agent engagement is by setting professional development goals for call center agents.
Goal setting is one of the most important methods of employee engagement, as it gives agents purpose, motivation, and stimulation throughout their day. Setting and tracking goals with call center agents can be daunting, but we’ve boiled down everything you need to get started.
How Do I Set Goals with My Employees?
There is a method to the madness of goal setting, starting with the acronym SMART. The best goals are always specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
Specific goals answer who, what, where, when, why, and how
Measurable goals allow for simple tracking
Attainable goals put little wins within reach and encourage employees to keep striving for more.
Relevant goals focus on what the company needs as a whole and pertain to the needs of each team member.
Time-bound goals motivate employees to make accomplishments in the here and now.
We’ve written a comprehensive guide on goal setting if you’d like to read more on how to help your agents get ahead.Goal setting is one of the most important methods of employee engagement, as it gives agents purpose, motivation, and stimulation throughout their day. #cctr #agentengagement Click To Tweet
Professional Development Goals for Call Center Agents
It’s not always easy to develop new and innovative professional development goals for call canter agents. Though goals should always be tailored to the individual agent, there are seven basic goals we think fit the needs of most customer service team members:
Improve Customer Satisfaction (CSat)
A great indicator of overall performance is an agent’s CSat results. Tally together their scores as far back as a year or as far back as you have them on record, and find the average. Set a percentage increase goal in monthly increments to make the results measurable and time-bound.
Complete additional training
Call center training is important, so a little extra motivation and incentive to complete courses is an excellent way to keep agents engaged. Monthly goals for training will encourage agents to keep learning and growing and result in improved agent retention for your contact center.
Increase First Contact Resolution (FCR)
Setting customer service goals is key to helping an agent improve their overall performance, and First Contact Resolution (FCR) numbers are an essential piece of the puzzle. FCR measures the number of customer contacts resolved within that single interaction.
If your contact center has a solid FCR rate, you’re more likely to see growth and get impressive CSat scores. If an agent has a notable FCR rate, they have a good handle on important aspects of the job, like product knowledge, customer service, and communication skills.
Decrease Average Speed of Answer (ASA)
Your contact center’s Average Speed of Answer (ASA) has a deep impact on your CSat scores.
ASA measures the average time your contact center takes to connect a customer call with an agent. This is a great goal to add to every agent’s professional development plan, as it encourages your team to work towards it together.
Fonolo’s Voice Call-Backs save customers about 77 years of hold time annually.
Customers can opt to receive a call back once it’s their turn in the queue. Fonolo technology waits for them and gives them a ring once they reach the front of the queue.
The customer is connected with an agent who is ready to help. Voice Call-Backs keep ASA low and give agents some breathing room, especially on busy days.
Seek out leadership opportunities
You must help agents take baby steps towards their long-term goals. Often, a career goal for contact center agents is moving into a leadership or call center management position. Start nurturing this goal by encouraging them to seek leadership opportunities within their current work.
These may take the form of new employee training, helping with hiring, or managing a social media account (there are plenty of options, though, so don’t limit yourself to these three examples). Performing leadership tasks will give them a taste of what it’s like to lead while also preparing them for their next career move.
Chat with team members
Communication is especially important for new hires in remote or hybrid call center environments. Goals to improve internal communication and fellowship will contribute to agent engagement and happiness levels, leading to better agent retention.
Remember that when an agent is happy, their mood will shine through in their customer interactions, positively impacting CSat scores, customer retention, and business growth.
Improve Average Handle Time (AHT)
Average Hangle Time (AHT) is an easy key performance indicator to track. It’s simply the sum of three numbers:
- Talk time, or the time an agent spends talking to the customer
- Hold time, aka the time a customer spends on hold before interacting with an agent— excluding time before the IVR answered the call.
- Wrap-up time or the time an agent spends on post-work after the call with a customer has ended.
Generally, the lower the AHT, the more calls your agents can get through, and the higher productivity will be in the contact center. Keep in mind, though AHT can be helpful to track, it doesn’t account for the quality of the calls.
Sometimes, when AHT is too low, it means the agent isn’t being thorough enough or providing a quality experience for the customer. If this is the case, the CSat scores of the agent in question will normally be on the lower side.
The Most Important Part of Setting Professional Development Goals
Setting goals is a great strategy to keep agents engaged and performing at their best—but that’s just the beginning.
Keeping tabs on progress helps hold agents accountable and shows that management supports them through their journey with the company. So always remember to set goals, track progress, and celebrate successes as they happen.