I started as an agent 2006 and been in this industry up to this day. During those days, most people perceive people from BPO as slackers and no serious job people. To set things straight, being an agent is not an easy job as what most of you are thinking. It’s one of the most challenging jobs which I can compare to those in field of sciences. When they deal with math, most agents in BPO deals with wildcards.
We talk to people and not just one but thousands of them. Imagine dealing with people having different moods and behaviour adding the stress of being shouted at 2-3x a week even if you’re doing what’s right.
There’s an average of 5-7 metrics or goals that an individual agent needs to achieve monthly to avoid being reprimanded (calling out Uverse, Verizon, At&t agents).
Because of those things I’ve mentioned, job security is the most difficult thing to maintain. One mistake even unintended could mean your job.
There are also other factors that make job security difficult to maintain for a call center agent but this article focuses more on what leaders should do to make an employee stick.
Most of the things below are based on feedback from agents from recruitment until the exit interview phase:
- Transparency - People always wants transparency. When a team is not performing or exceeding goals, it’s a leader’s job to let people know. This could promote some sense of urgency to all the employees but this ensures that team work is initially promoted.
- Commendation and feedback – Always commend people for a job well done or if someone exceeds previous achievement. Provide feedback to those in need and focus on what can be done rather than the opportunity.
- Be consistent – When we set goals to our people be clear that we are focused in achieving those goals. If we don’t monitor what has been achieved vs goals consistently, people will slack and end up not hitting the target. Have a visibility board for your current achievements so people would know what they need to do more.
- Show emotional intelligence – It’s a leader’s stance to be firm when making decisions like if a leave will be approved or if a goal will be changed. Don’t forget that for every decision that we make, we should also take into consideration what each of your employee will feel if a certain decision is given. Try to be empathetic and reasonable to a point wherein they already understand if a request is not granted. Strong leaders are respected not because people’s requests are always granted but because they always show transparency. It’s not bad to say no specially if no has a valid reason.
- Don’t promote someone just because of performance but check for competency – One common mistake for some companies is that they promote because a person has an outstanding performance. That doesn’t guarantee if that person can do well on a higher role. Initiate training and workshops or start some apprenticeship programs. This will not just train people on how to be on a specific role but will make them realize if this is a job they can do or no.
- Be critical when promoting someone and avoid the POLITIKA culture – This is the most hated culture on any company. This will demotivate people specially those who are performing. If a friend really deserves the promotion, make sure your selection process is clear and understood by all.
- Show GENUINE care – Second common mistake for some leaders. They show care for those who are sick not because he wants the person to get well but the desire to avoid further absences. As a leader, we should also have the realization that being sick is normal. Tell people get well and rest completely. Avoid saying get well for them to get back to work immediately.
- Admit mistakes – A strong leader is someone who can admit that he/she committed a mistake. No one will stay with someone who’s always right and blames other people. It’s a sure way to lose loyalty.
- Be your employee’s friend (outside / can also be done inside, but beware) – It’s enough to have a strict employee relationship inside the office but be friendly outside. People tend to get bored when leaders always have this relationship barrier. Remember that as a leader, we also want honesty and transparency from our employees. We can’t get them to be at least 90% honest if they’re not comfortable talking to us.
- Smile when there’s no reason to be angry and show constant appreciation – When there’s nothing to be worried about, smile. Say “thank you” each day an agent is present. Agent whose leaders are appreciative tends to stay at work and will have difficulty deciding to be absent.
Items above are those things I’ve learned being in this industry for 10 years. As leaders, let’s not be the wildcard for our agents but a straight path. If I missed out anything, feel free to share your ideas by sharing your comment below.