Dialogue – 5 Ways to Improve Agent Performance in Your Call Center (Post 5 of 6)

Call Center Dialogue

Dialogue is a critical component in the 5 ways to improve agent performance in your call center.  It is critical because it represents a channel of communication that you must have with your managers and agents in order to run your call center efficiently and effectively.

Let’s dig into this idea of dialogue a little deeper.  If you have done well in managing your PMA, your positive mental attitude, you will have a neutral platform, at worst, by which to approach your employees.  Your PMA gives your team a context so that they can understand you.  That context gives more information to your team about what you mean by what you say.  It adds color to your comments; it adds meaning to your words.  How you walk, how you talk, how you present yourself totally gives context to your leadership.  It informs your audience, adding depth to their understanding of you.

Ever heard the expression, “practice what you preach”?

As their supervisor, your managers and agents understand you in your context.  Your PMA, your choice of words, your tone, and your body language all speak to who you are.  In the backdrop of the call center, you communicate a style of leadership, beginning with your presence.  Picture this supervisor: disheveled and wrinkled clothes; hairstyle is messy; posture is hunched-over; PMA is passive.  If you walk into the center, looking for this supervisor you have yet to meet, would you believe s/he is your new supervisor at first glance?  Of course not!  Why?  Most supervisors don’t present themselves according to the aforementioned description.

You might be thinking that it is petty of me to hone in on appearance.  Well, I believe this is where the conversation begins.  And, you don’t want it to begin behind your back at the coffee pot.  As a supervisor, it is important to begin the message of what you want to say by presenting yourself in a manner that is consistent with what managers and agents reasonably expect of supervisors.  At the very least, you don’t want your attire, your language, or your breath to be the subject of conversation over coffee.  You want your standards to be exceeded, don’t you?  So, tow the line!  As I stated in the very first line of this series of posts: it starts with you.  How you present yourself makes a statement, whether you realize it or not.

Call Center GamesYour statement is the beginning of the dialogue.

In a perfect world, it doesn’t matter how the supervisor presents.  When the supervisor speaks, the managers and agents heed.  But, it’s not that simple in your call center, is it?  Each person has his own way of presenting.  When an agent presents a poor mental attitude to one of your managers, what does the manager do?  The manager begins a method of discipline designed to change the behavior and attitude of the agent, correct?  Fortunately, you live in a call center world where your opinion about agent attitudes weighs supreme.  And, fortunately, this idea of context and personal presentation works both ways.  How your managers and agents present themselves speaks volumes to you.  Be wise in considering what they are trying to tell you with their words, tones, and body languages.  If you’re paying close attention, they will give you more information than just metrics.

Now, all the information shared in this post sets up the channel of communication for dialogue.  Not just any dialogue, but useful dialogue is the most helpful.  Useful dialogue is absolutely vital to improving the performance of your call center.  Some call center gurus call it feedback.

Well, useful dialogue is meaningful because it not only includes the neutrality of numbers by way of feedback, but also includes the subjectivity of the presentations of managers and agents that enhances the supervisors’ understanding of the call center data.  If you as a call center supervisor only focus on the feedback of objective numbers given through your metrics, your road to success will be longer.  You are wise to pay attention to HOW the feedback is given, as well.  Pay attention to the vibe of your center.

Do you know what is meant by vibe?  The vibe in this context refers to the atmosphere of your call center.  So, it is important to consider the useful dialogue you hope to achieve with your managers and agents, and then deconstruct the process.  As you reconstruct the process to get the useful dialogue you desire, you are creating the vibe for your call center.  You are creating an atmosphere that encourages an effective channel of communication that facilitates implementing your plans and exceeding the goals you have for improving the performance of your managers and agents in your call center.

Remember here are the other articles in this series:

[hyperlink style=”1″ href=”http%3A%2F%2Fwww.callcenterbestpractices.com%2F5-easy-ways-to-improve-agent-performance-in-your-call-center-1-of-6%2F” align=”center”]5 Easy Ways To Improve Agent Performance In Your Call Center (1 of 6)[/hyperlink]
[hyperlink style=”1″ href=”http%3A%2F%2Fwww.callcenterbestpractices.com%2Fassess-5-easy-ways-to-improve-agent-performance-in-your-call-center-post-2-of-6%2F” align=”center”]Assess – 5 Easy Ways to Improve Agent Performance In Your Call Center (Post 2 of 6)[/hyperlink]
[hyperlink style=”1″ href=”http%3A%2F%2Fwww.callcenterbestpractices.com%2Fplan-5-ways-to-improve-agent-performance-in-your-call-center-post-3-of-6%2F” align=”center”]Plan – 5 Ways to Improve Agent Performance in Your Call Center (Post 3 of 6)[/hyperlink]
[hyperlink style=”1″ href=”http%3A%2F%2Fwww.callcenterbestpractices.com%2Fimplement-5-ways-to-improve-agent-performance-in-your-call-center-post-4-of-6%2F” align=”center”]Implement – 5 Ways to Improve Agent Performance in Your Call Center (Post 4 of 6)[/hyperlink]

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To your success,

Greg Meares

 

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About the Author: Greg Meares

As a Sr. Consultant for Performance Connections, Inc., Greg's primary objective is to provide value to organizations that are focused on raising brand awareness. Additionally Greg works on improving the customer experience, through business process re-engineering, and call center best practices. Greg is an industry expert and is often called upon to provide his analysis and solution oriented approach to improving performance in the BPO and Call Center industry.

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