When and How to Fire Your Agent For The Greater Good of Your Call Center
- Contact Center
- BY Eddie
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One of the most critical and challenging tasks for a contact center manager is knowing when and how to fire your agent. In today’s litigious society, managers risk facing expensive lawsuits if they fail to comply to regulations. therefore, terminating an agent’s employment can be painful and stressful. Plus, firing an individual with some sort
One of the most critical and challenging tasks for a contact center manager is knowing when and how to fire your agent. In today’s litigious society, managers risk facing expensive lawsuits if they fail to comply to regulations. therefore, terminating an agent’s employment can be painful and stressful. Plus, firing an individual with some sort of contact with the organization’s prospects or clients can be disastrous if mishandled. To top it all off, a disgruntled agent can ruin your call center’s company’s reputation and take loyal clients with them when moving on to new positions.
So, when and how do you fire your agent? In this write-up, we’ll help you sort it out by outlining when and how to terminate a contact center employee effectively to minimize the potential for retaliation, anger, litigation, or worse.
When to Fire Your Agent
Before entertaining any notion of firing an agent, consider whether you (as the manager) or the supervisor has provided the individual with adequate support, training and time to understand their territory and business mission. If the answer is a genuine yes, consider firing if the agent is:
- Constantly abrasive and caustic with customers and co-workers alike.
- Regularly disregard policies and procedures (i.e. they`re never on time, ignores the formulated scripts without a reason etc.)
- Secretly working for or sharing your strategies with your competitors.
- Continually under-performs compared to their strengths as stipulated in their reviews.
How to fire your agent
Do you remember when AOL’s CEO, Tim Armstrong, fired one of his employee in front of all of his colleagues? People around the country and the world saw it as humiliating and unjustified. So much so, that several days later, Armstrong apologized privately to the employee then to publicly to AOL employees. The point is, employment termination affects many people; you, the agent, co-workers, family, customers etc. Therefore, firing your agent calls for great skills. If the exercise is mishandled, there can be seen and unseen negative consequences. So, how do you go about it?
- Document the employee’s performance including their reviews which are indicative of their strength and weaknesses. Have them read and sign the review to determine whether to issue a notice or termination.
- Get permission from human resource department or your superiors to fire the agent if need be. This requires detailed reasons behind the firing notion.
- Consider the agent’s current assignment and what effects the termination will have on the contact center. Keep in mind, procrastination is a thief of time. Regardless of the critical nature of the assignment at hand, if you are terminating an employee, it is best to take care of it immediately. Just find an appropriate co-worker to fill the gap if you haven’t hired a replacement.
- Formulate an exit strategy. This is determining the time and date to fire the agent without massive disruption of co-workers. Is it on Friday afternoons when people are more interested in getting home than listening to termination conversation or on Monday mornings as suggested by psychologists? While at it, take into account the corporate paperwork involved and schedule appropriately.
- Do it professionally. Be prepared psychologically and don’t let any emotions get in your way. Remember you did a thorough review that justified the termination if any thoughts of second chances cross your mind.
- Most importantly, have a witness such as someone from HR attend the firing meeting. Document the meeting or better yet, record the same just in case it`s needed in court!
The journey on how and when to fire an employee is usually bumpy. However, with a level head, planning, and an optimistic outlook to the future; firing your agent can at the end, be a good thing for all the parties involved.