You can’t build rep competence without rep confidence

If you are running a call center operation, you are well aware of the importance of rep competence. After all, your reps are the main link to the outside world and, in many cases, the only contact point your customers have with your organization. It is not an overstatement to say that rep competence can make or break customer satisfaction, repurchase intent, and up-selling potential – in short, the longevity of your business.

While rep competence is certainly a key driver of a successful call center operation (and business as a whole, for that matter), it goes hand-in-hand with something that is often overlooked or forgotten by call center managers: rep confidence. Nothing impairs quality scores, AHT, FCR, NTF returns, tech transfers, and repeat calls more than reps who lack confidence. Customers sense a rep’s insecurity immediately. They question and double-check everything they hear, demand a transfer, or hang up and call back, hoping for someone more helpful.

Let’s start with the bad news first: the complexity of today’s device landscape makes building rep confidence extremely difficult. Since the launch of the first iPhone in 2007, Samsung, Apple, Motorola, and others have released more than 450 smartphones in North America alone. Keeping up with all of the new features and functionalities of these devices is virtually impossible for even your most tech-savvy reps. The result? Reps lose confidence in their ability to solve device-related issues successfully. And with a decrease in confidence comes a decline in competence. Before you know it, your reps have entered a vicious cycle that will only get worse over time.

The good news is that you can tackle the confidence problem successfully if you have the right systems in place and empower your reps with the right tools. By implementing a comprehensive device support platform that spans across your entire device portfolio and all of your software updates, you will see an immediate uptake in confidence on device-related calls, an improvement in support quality scores, and a decrease in operational costs.

The power of the right tools

Digital device support tools can be an incredibly valuable addition to your call centers. Think of tools as a GPS for your reps – in many cases, your reps know the preferred outcome of the call but are unsure how to best get there. The right tools provide your reps with an easy-to-follow, yet thorough framework to handle device-related calls effectively. It is crucial that the tools make your reps’ lives easier by being easy to find and available at any time. This brings us to the next point.

The importance of consistent and up-to-date tools

Let’s go back to our GPS example. The value of a navigational system is impaired considerably if some of the maps aren’t updated or the performance of the application is spotty. The same holds true for your support tools. During one of our recent call center focus groups, a rep made a comment that stuck with us:

Every call is game time. Efficiency is all that matters.

Support rep focus group

In other words, your tools will do nothing to boost your reps’ confidence if they are unreliable, unavailable, or outdated. Au contraire. Your reps will lose confidence and quickly abandon them altogether. Consistent, up-to-date tools are absolutely vital to build rep confidence and guarantee an improvement in quality, efficiency, and financial metrics in your call centers.

The on-call-training phenomenon

In another focus group, a rep mentioned that in the majority of cases, he sees a phone for the first time when he is on a call with a customer trying to troubleshoot an issue with that phone. On-call training is a bit like driving a route for the first time without previously determining which interstates or exits to take. If you have a great GPS, the task is quite manageable. If you don’t have a GPS, the task becomes immeasurably more difficult, which brings us back to the importance of the right tools. Be sure to implement tools that help your reps get familiar with new devices and operating systems on-the-fly, and you will eliminate a significant driver of rep insecurity.

It is important to understand that confidence doesn’t come overnight. Confidence is a process. But without confidence, there is no competence, and vice versa. Just remember: your reps are the face of your organization and you want to ensure that they represent your brand appropriately. Building up their confidence will be well worth your time.
If you’d like to find out how our tools can help you boost your reps’ confidence, contact us.