Firing call center agents is usually a tough process that leaves managers searching for answers. They are left wondering, “How did things go so wrong?” “How did we end up here?” and “Why didn’t I see this coming?” The reasons why shouldn’t be a mystery.
Understanding why an agent’s performance declined, why they never measured up to expectations and why they went rogue and ended up getting fired is essential to knowing how to prevent these things from happening. Most of the time, the reason why is hidden within managerial processes, company policies and company culture.
The 5 most common reasons why agents are fired are:
1. Bad hiring
Most of the time, when an agent is fired from their position, it is because they never should have been hired in the first place. They either didn’t have the prerequisite skills, weren’t a good cultural fit and didn’t have the right personality for the job.
2. Insufficient training
Companies that under-invest the time and resources required to adequately train their agents end up losing in the long run. They are often left with agents who weren’t acculturated into the company, don’t have sufficient skills for their position and aren’t familiar enough with company policies and procedures to do a good job.
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Agents who carry intense workloads are usually stressed and their performance and motivation suffers as a result. They try to balance finishing everything on time with doing the best they can, but cannot achieve both at the same time. Often times, they fail to meet deadlines, have declining service quality and become burned out.
4. Lack of leadership
When an agent’s work performance declines, it is often because managers and supervisors lack the coaching and communication skills required to properly motivate and guide agents. In a typical scenario, the call center agent doesn’t know what is expected of them, isn’t given feedback tied to measurable results, doesn’t know how to increase their performance and doesn’t know who to talk to if they need guidance.
5. Poor management
Companies that set “blind” incentives related to quantitative indicators (like service level) and ignore qualitative measures (like customer feedback) may result in agents feeling “stuck”. As a result, agents may try to meet quantitative performance goals while sacrificing service quality. This can result in angry customers, half-baked solutions, a declining brand image and a manager looking for an agent to blame.
All of the aforementioned factors influence an agent’s performance, morale and engagement with their work and can ultimately lead to the decision to fire the employee. Developing a comprehensive understanding of each factor and how they may play out in your call center is the first step in engaging in preventative measures to help reduce agent attrition.
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