Customer support jobs aren’t generally known for high employee retention or satisfaction.

In fairness, working in a call center is a tough job. The hours are challenging, the demands are high, and for many folks it’s a stepping stone into the corporate world. So it makes sense that new employees tend to burn out before they’ve even gotten the hang of things.

If you’re a supervisor, this constant churn at the entry level can be a real blow to morale and your bottom line. Here’s how we recommend coaching your team for success.

Provide really good training and onboarding

Look, it’s totally normal for new employees to feel confused or overwhelmed when starting a new job. Call center agents are no exception. What’s not normal is for those feelings to persist past the first few days or weeks of onboarding. Confused agents mean confused customers, and that’s no good for anyone.

The trick to avoiding this is to invest in great training, not just up front but throughout the agent’s tenure with your support team. New agents are sponges for product information. The more hands-on, high-quality training you can provide, the more of an expert and company ambassador they will become.

Well trained agents also tend to be happier and stick around longer, so you’ll be improving your customer satisfaction and agent retention scores all in one go.

Give timely coaching and feedback

As alluded to above, continuous agent coaching and on-the-job feedback is essential to agent success. This is where technology like Dialpad Support can be a huge help.

Real-time insights like sentiment analysis allow you to pinpoint which calls need your attention so you can listen in on your agents mid-conversation and coach them in the background. Our real-time recommendations also coach agents through tough “I don’t know” moments by providing suggestions on how to respond to customers.

Combined with regular professional development sessions and formal trainings, these tactics will help keep your agents feeling empowered and knowledgeable from their first call on the job to their last.

Focus on the individual

As a people leader, it’s your job to learn what motivates your employees, what they value in a job, and how they like to be managed. If you think climbing the corporate ladder is the end goal for all (or even most) of your agents, you’re making one heck of an assumption.

Keeping agents engaged means taking time to understand each of them as individuals. Do they care most about learning? Growth opportunities? Team culture? Do they punch in and punch out for the paycheck? Or are they the type that likes to put in extra hours and think of ways to improve processes?

Knowing these details will help you provide training, recognition, and feedback in meaningful ways that make a real impact on each agent.

Prioritize 1:1s

We know there’s no such thing as downtime in a call center. You’re busy, your agents are busy, and no one wants to surrender precious calendar time. But agent 1:1’s are a necessary and valuable part of keeping your team around long term. They provide a real opportunity to get to know your agents personally (see point above) and to honestly hear how things are going for them.

Setting an agenda will help you get the most out of your time together. You can start by addressing the week’s challenges or high points, then work your way into specific performance feedback and open the floor for them to share what’s top of mind. For suggestions on running effective 1:1 meetings give this article a read.

Invest in your own training

Given that most call center managers don’t come from a human resources or managerial background, it’s not uncommon for people leaders (especially those who’ve recently been promoted) to feel a bit out of practice.

Being a great coach is a skill that’s learned and honed over time, so it’s worth it to invest in your own professional development. Building the skills to effectively lead, coach, and communicate won’t only translate to a better team experience, but a better customer experience as well.

Now, how about you? For those of you leading support teams, what have you found to be key in building strong teams?