Here at VoiceIQ, our brilliant sales and support agents are the lifeblood of our business. As the providers of a cloud phone system, it’s vital that our agents are at the top of their game on every call, giving our customers the best possible experience no matter what time of day.
To help our agents with the motivation and tools to keep focussed throughout their working day, we implemented 5 simple tactics which we have detailed in this blog.
These 5 tactics can be implemented with very little cost and have worked wonders for our business, so give them a try and see what results you can achieve for your business!
Why does agent focus matter?
Phone based agents are one of your businesses strongest assets and may even contribute the majority of revenue. So when tasked with increasing revenue, many businesses decide to either:
- Increase talk time targets
- Hire more agents
The problem with these approaches is that they don’t necessarily equate to a linear growth in revenue. Increasing targets could add undue pressure to agents and lead to burn out. Whilst hiring more agents could become a significant money drain if the core performance of those agents remain low.
Instead, you should start by focussing on your existing agents and thinking about what you can do to make sure they perform to the best of their ability, consistently throughout the day.
The best way to increase agent performance? Focus
It’s a simple equation, the more focussed your agents, the better they perform and their call success rates soar.
Striking that delicate balance between consistent performance and agent wellbeing is one that is hard to achieve, but can be done with the right tools and processes.
How can I keep my agents focussed throughout the day?
- Regular short breaks
Whilst the government required minimum break time is one uninterrupted 20 minute rest break per working day, we believe that is nowhere near enough time for agents who spend a considerable portion of their working time talking and looking at a screen.
And it’s not just what we think, many studies point to the benefits of taking at least a 5 minute break every 25-90 minutes. These can include:
- Improving memory
- Serving as an energy boost
- Reducing stress
- Boosting performance and creativity
Reducing stress, improving memory and boosting energy are all vital to keeping sustained focus throughout the day.
By implementing a policy of additional short frequent breaks, the amount of ‘active working’ time may reduce, but crucially, the quality of working time will increase.
- Provide high quality tools
“A bad workman always blames their tools” Right?
Well not necessarily, especially in today’s digital world where choosing the right, or wrong, software could have a big impact on agent focus and productivity.
When equipping your agents with software tools, it’s often tempting to be led by price, especially if you’re starting out or a small team. In fact you’ve probably already googled “best free CRM” or “cheapest business phone system”.
But when it comes to enterprise software, generally, the more functionality or customization you want, the higher the cost. So before making any purchase decision, decide exactly what you want to achieve with each tool and keep that as a benchmark. Look for software solutions that provide real value-add rather than being led exclusively by cost.
For phone-based agents, the two most important tools are a CRM and a Phone System.
Why? Well the data speaks for itself:
- A well implemented and adopted CRM can improve sales team performance by up to 34%
- 92% of call customer interactions occur over the phone
With a CRM collecting 360 degree views of customers and a phone system seamlessly integrated, your agents never have to lose focus sourcing information or being distracted with manual admin tasks.
With advancements in voice AI, the best phone systems will empower your agents to talk to the right customers at the right time, whilst providing real-time support and guidance on every call.
Another great way to keep agents focussed, especially at the end of the day or month when motivation can wane, is to inject a healthy dose of competition through gamification.
What do we mean by gamification? Well put simply, gamification is the application of game-design elements, competitions, and leaderboards to motivate behavior.
Tracking and gamifying a select key metric may sound a bit gimmicky, but when implemented well, can contribute to boosting conversions up to 7x!
Here are some stand-out benefits of gamification that help towards keeping agents focussed and motivated.
- Increased CRM adoption - leadership boards don’t work without correctly logged data!
- Better Team Communication - getting those last few deals over the line may require a collaborative effort
- Open Mentorship - with leadership places at stake, agents are more likely to seek help and advice from each other
- Engaging workplace - gamification can contribute to removing feelings of boredom and disappointment
For phone-based sales agents, the metrics you may want to consider for gamification may include call stats or deals closed. So make sure to keep gamification in mind when selecting your software tools. All great phone systems should include gamification!
- Switch up campaigns
Nothing will incite boredom quicker than monotony.
If your agents are pushing the same campaign, day in, day out, it’s natural for them to slip into bad habits and begin to miss important buying signals.
Simply rotating the type of campaign your teams are focussed can have dramatic effects on general alertness and focus (we suggest no more regular than half daily and no more infrequently than weekly).
If you only manage one campaign at a time, perhaps try out some A/B testing of new messaging or scripting - a healthy habit to get into anyway!
- Promote flexible working
If there is one positive outcome from the impact of Covid-19, it’s that it proved beyond doubt, that agents can work just as effectively from home as they can from the office.
That said, different environments affect our focus in different ways. For some people, they have found it easier to focus when working at home. Others felt they were more focussed on the office. Whilst some feel they are most focussed when they change up their environment regularly with a hybrid approach.
Historically, trying to accommodate this flexibility would have been impossible, especially with phone based teams and the reliance on hardware-based phone systems.
Cloud-based phone systems have removed this issue completely, turning the complexity of telephony into simple, easy-to-use software that can be used anywhere.
One complaint we hear from our customers is that with agents working from home, they can no longer be monitored. However, the best phone systems will employ real-time NLP (natural language processing) to trigger manager alerts when agents need assistance. Additionally, they will include transcription, recording and deep analytics to keep track of individual and team performance, no matter where they are.
How can I track agent focus and performance?
So now you've deployed these tactics to improve focus, how can you actually measure their impact, especially for home workers?
Well it depends a lot on your current processes for measuring employee performance and focus, but it can be very hard to do without specialised software.
One of the industries leading performance and time tracking software is: Time Doctor. Time Doctor provides time tracking software to help your team be more productive while working from home. The software works immediately once installed and provides pop-ups that alert employees when they stray into time-wasting websites. Daily time reports show employees their metrics for the day so they can self-correct. Whilst dashboards show supervisors at a glance who's a superstar and who's slacking off.
Time Doctor is available with a 14 day free trial.
So there you have it. 5 tactics to help keep your agents focussed throughout the day. They have worked for us and hopefully have inspired you to try them out on your own teams.
But remember to measure! Take note of key metrics before implementing any new tactics and then again after at staggered intervals of a month, 3 months 6 months etc
If you want to learn more about our cloud phone system, you can arrange a 30 minute demo here.