Customer Experience News & Trends

Oh $#!+ – a great agent just quit: Now what?

A great agent just quit, leaving a big hole in operations. Here’s what you should’ve done before, and should do now.

The departure of one agent won’t likely sink any contact center’s boat. But when a key performer turns in a resignation – especially if it’s unexpected – there will be some ripples in operations for some time.

Here are three things to do when a key player resigns, and three things you’ll want to do going forward so it doesn’t take you by surprise again, according to business executive and contributor Paul Spiegelman:

  • Find out why. Do an exit interview as soon as possible so the agent can spill any hard feelings or disappointments on you, not co-workers who might become poisoned. Use their feedback to improve the environment for everyone else.
  • Train supervisors to know when an agent is dissatisfied and report it up the ladder. Share with them the signs (see below) that an agent is on the verge of leaving.
  • Prepare a backup plan. Create this now, so if and when a key player leaves in the future, everyone will be better prepared. Know who can fill or share the role. Know how customers will be affected and what you must do to minimize those affects.

To avoid an unexpected (or mass) departure:

  • Build closer relationships with your people. When you’re talking about professional and personal goals (ideally, in quarterly one-on-ones) with agents, ask them to be frank with you. Say, “If you’re ever thinking about leaving, tell me.” And in all fairness, tell them when their jobs are in any jeopardy.
  • Nurture their visions. Every agent has a different idea of the ideal work situation and success. Help them achieve what they see as accomplishments by giving them opportunities to train, work alone or head a project when they want them.
  • Read the warning sights. Agents who ask for more training or responsibility (and possibly the pay to go with it) are getting restless.  If they don’t get what they crave, the next step (and sign they’re ready to go) is disengagement.

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