Can happy call center agents really enhance productivity?

Posted on: March 19th, 2014 by Art Barger

We often look at customer satisfaction to determine how our call center is performing. We figure, if our customers are happy, our operations must be doing something right. While our customers certainly hold the key to our business success, retaining happy employees and reducing call center turnover rates says something about our business operations, too.

A recent look at employee performance metrics from different bank call centers found that the culture can affect the happiness and overall performance of its employees. After Bank of America make some simple operational changes that allowed employees to interact with each other during breaks, they were handling calls 25 percent faster, and cohesion increased to 18 percent. These changes resulted in $15 million extra for the company.

According to Ben Waber, an MIT Media Lab innovator and author of “People Analytics,” which examines connections between employee behavior and work performance, Bank of America tapped into one of the most important indicators of job performance — employee interaction.

“They found out that the biggest predictor for performance was looking at who you talked to among your colleagues. That single metric was six times more predictive than any other.”

Let’s face it, the job of a call center agent is not easy. Imagine coming to work to spend an entire 8-hour shift talking to many impatient and frustrated people. And to make matters worse, knowledge-based authentication (KBA) processes, which require contact center reps to ask a series of security questions to help identify customers over the phone, can actually get let go if they get beat too often or don’t follow scripts and procedures to authenticate callers.

A telephone customer identification tool like the TRUSTID® Physical Caller Authentication solution can actually help call centers improve employee and customer morale by automating the authentication process. By non-intrusively validating the risk of the inbound call pre-answer, TRUSTID removes costly and annoying telephone interrogations so agents can begin addressing good customers’ needs the moment the phone is picked up. 

And what you’re left with are more satisfied customers talking to more helpful and productive employees. To me, that’s a win-win for any call center environment.