The best managed call centers know that employees are the key to success, according to Brad Cleveland and Julia Mayben in Call Center Management on Fast Forward. These call centers invest heavily in training, focus on the working environment and provide legitimate career paths for agents. This technique for call center management can be seen in some leading credit union call centers.
An Environment Tailored to Call Center Employee Needs
NMTW Community Credit Union ($446M in Lowell, MA) wanted to enhance the performance of its call center. While the phone was the largest touch point by transaction volume, executives at the credit union recognized that service performance had to become more consistent.
The credit union re-designed its call center. They developed an 8-week training program specific for call center employees. The credit union also created a working environment tailored to the needs of call center employees including bigger cubicles and sound absorbing tiles.
The results of the focus on the call center at NMTW were phenomenal. The call center became the leading channel for member service at the credit union. Plus, the call center became the most productive contributor to the credit union's sales referralprograms.
Enhancing Call Quality vs. Monitoring the Call
More than any other measure, call quality programs have the ability to significantly enhance the performance of individual agents. A strong call quality program can improve sales performance, impact member relationships, improve service and pinpoint training needs. The key to making a quality program successful is creating a collaborative environment for agents. Agents need to understand that you are all looking for ways to improve the quality of the call center for all members rather than looking for ways to catch an agent making a mistake. Effective call quality programs include scoring evaluations, coaching programs and training tools to guide agents.
Scoring Your Call Center Agents
In many credit union call centers agents are typically scored 5 times per month on calls. Scoring methods may vary. The components of scoring systems at credit union call centers often include:
- Member verification - This is one of the most important components of most credit union call center scorecards. Agents must be able to follow the credit union's guidelines for authentication of the member via phone.
- Professionalism - At many credit unions, the call center is the entry point into the organization. Training and evaluation in professionalism is required to help newer agents understand the expectations in member interaction.
- Connecting with the Member - Members contact the call center to speak with a person because the Internet and automated voice response system could not meet their needs. Call center agents need to be able to create a connection with members.
- Service and Sales - Did the agent recognize opportunities to suggest a credit union product based on the comments from the member? Call center agents can be the most valuable employees inextending the credit union brand.