What to remember when setting benchmarks for call center agents

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

As call center managers, your primary task is to make sure your agents are performing their best. Open Access BPO, a call center in the Philippines, explains how you can effectively set performance goals that can make your team more productive.

 Key performance indicators (KPIs) and benchmarks are there to guide your agents in delivering the tasks assigned to them on a productive level. As call center managers, you must be wise in setting goals because they can either motivate agents to give their best or make them feel burnt-out when set too high.

By establishing clear performance metrics, your agents can gear themselves up to give their best effort. Your call center can then have a dynamic team that gives favorable results and performs well even under pressure. Here are some tips to effectively set performance goals for your call center agents:

1.     List down all performance areas and the corresponding targets that you want your agents to meet.

Some of these areas include call handling time, call quality, ability to answer questions, and attendance. Get your agents involved by consulting with them the initial KPIs that you have in mind. Ask them which targets they think they can easily meet and which ones seem to be too high. This can create a greater sense of teamwork and a unified vision among your agents.

2.     Set reasonable goals that are sensitive to your agents' perceived strengths and weaknesses.

Benchmarks must always be within the capacity of your agents. Setting expectations that are too high can either make your agents feel frustrated or normalize the mindset that it's fine to not meet them since they're too unrealistic anyway.

3.     Suggest ways on how your agents can improve their performance and meet the set goals.

By showing your agents what exactly needs to be done, they can be more confident in meeting the goals. They can then take control of their own actions and come up with strategies to become more productive.

4.     Orient your agents about the rationale behind each performance goal.

Aside from knowing how, your agents should also know why they need to meet the goals. Usually, goals are set to create an image of credibility, timeliness, or quality work for the call center. Aside from these organizational implications, you can also encourage your agents to make their own personal reasons as to why they should exceed expectations.

5.     Review the goals with your agents regularly.

During performance evaluation, the focus must not only be on whether your agents met the goals or not. You must also constantly determine if there's something that needs to be changed in your evaluative approach. You may need to acquire new resources or provide more training just to meet those goals constantly.

Goal setting is an important managerial task that can set the productivity level of your team. Your goals are useless if you don't use them to effectively assess and reinforce your agents' skills. At the end of the day, you should highlight the weak points of your agents and train them how to improve their performance in the said areas. By studying trends in your progress reports, you can identify the most problematic area where you can concentrate your efforts on.