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Contact Center Challenges in Performance Management

There are many challenges in business – these challenges range from basic administrative to complicated in the executive offices and in various branches between. One challenge in particular, performance management in the call center, has been asked to call center leaders. ICMI recently wrote an article about their responses. A summary is below:

“What’s the biggest performance management challenge in your contact center?”

The responses fit into four major themes:

• Finding time to manage the team
• Maintaining peak performance
• Attendance
• Taking ownership of problems

Here’s a look at each one:

Finding Time to Manage

Contact center leaders are stretched thin. They’re juggling administrative duties, special projects, and large teams while constantly putting out fires. This common call center problem makes it difficult to find time to develop employees.

Managing remote employees poses an additional challenge. Out of sight can easily mean out of mind.

One of the root causes is something I call the Manager’s Paradox: You don’t have enough time now to develop employees, but not developing your employees will cause you to spend even more time fixing problems in the future.

Maintaining Peak Performance

Burnout and complacency often prevents seasoned agents from staying at the top of their game.

A contact center leader noted that remote agents often become complacent. Their stellar performance earned them the ability to work from home. As time goes on, some agents begin to take advantage of that privilege by slacking off and becoming disengaged.


This has probably been an issue since the beginning of contact centers. The challenge is poor attendance is usually a symptom of a larger problem. Disengaged employees aren’t excited about coming to work. Engaged employees can’t wait to be there.

Benchmark Portal’s 2013 Agent Voices study revealed some interesting insights about how contact center agents really feel about their jobs. Here are a few eye-opening stats:

• Only 44.6% of agents felt their work environment was optimistic and positive
• Only 56% of agents trust messages from senior management
• Only 45.7% of agents felt their opinions were valued

Taking Ownership of Problems

Many contact center leaders told me they have a difficult time getting their agents to take ownership of a customer problem and run with it. It’s the second step in empowerment – agents have the ability to take action, but they aren’t using it. This issue may tie back to managers not having enough time to manage.

Contact center agents need guidance from their managers to understand how they should take ownership. This guidance is hard to come by if the manager doesn’t have the time to provide it.

Finding Solutions

Many of these tough performance management challenges have simple solutions. You just have to know where to look.

One tool you can use is the Quick Fix Checklist. It’s a tool to help managers quickly diagnose performance problems by focusing on the most common causes of poor performance.


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