5 Ways to Improve Transit Call Center Productivity
Paratransit services play a significant role in society. They provide America’s elderly and disabled populations with the mobility services they need to live their best lives possible. This responsibility extends to the call centers they employ to handle customer service duties.
Transit call centers, whether in-house or outsourced, perform four main functions:
- Make reservations. Agents work with clients to make the correct reservations, as well as ensure that passengers understand any fare issues.
- Provide customer service. Transit call centers receive requests for cancellations, resolve customer complaints, and keep track of ongoing issues to help the transit agency optimize its operations.
- Update riders. Agents provide riders, especially paratransit customers, an update on the whereabouts of their rides.
- Answer questions. They field questions regarding ADA paratransit eligibility and help customers set up appointments to get certified.
Millions of riders across the U.S. need paratransit services. To ensure call center productivity, below are five tips:
Top Tips for Improving Productivity in Transit Call Centers
1. Gamify Your Processes
At the same time, they carry the most burden. Unfortunately, they’re also largely unglorified. It’s no wonder that agent turnover is a major challenge for call centers.
This is where gamification can help. When properly leveraged, the concepts that make video games addictive can boost workforce productivity and overall transit call center performance:
- Completing stages. The first thing you do is create the stages each of your agents must complete to qualify for a rewards program. For example, Reservation Expert for 10 reservations within a shift, Reservation Superstar for another 10, ADA Appointment Expert for 10 appointments successfully made, and so on.
- Leveling up. The goal is to get agents to level up and complete as many stages as they can.
- Recognition for a job well done. For every stage completed, an agent earns points, which they can exchange for rewards such as gift cards, an extra day off, flexible work hours, and other fringe benefits.
- Competing with other “players.” Games trigger people’s competitive nature. As long as you keep things light to avoid any added pressure, healthy competition encourages collaboration and increases productivity.
2. Keep Your Employees Engaged
We know the value of an engaged employee to an organization: They deliver outstanding customer service.
Keep your agents engaged by:
- Keeping them updated. Whether it’s about new local or state rules regarding paratransit services, the company’s recently launched service offerings, or your agents’ individual performances and where they are versus team standings, cliché as it may sound, knowledge is certainly power.
- Ensuring they have everything they need to get the job done. This includes training and know-how, ADA customer data, and other essential information and tools to allow them to address customer concerns quickly and accurately.
- Making your workplace fun and enjoyable. Examples include allowing your agents to personalize their workstations, decorating the call area, encouraging hobbies, having games or a workout room, sharing photos of family and pets, creating a “wall of fame,” etc.
- Crafting a rewards and recognition program according to your agents’ individual interests. Reward the travel junkie with an airline voucher, the new mom with a nursing shawl or a bathtub caddy, and the fitness buff with a yoga mat or interval timer.
- Genuinely caring about them. Simple things like asking your staff if they need help with anything, greeting them on their birthdays, and sending thank-you notes can go a long way.
3. Allow Agents to Take Frequent Breaks
This may seem counter-productive. But taking calls and listening to angry customers can be stressful and taxing even on the most upbeat customer service representative. Allowing your agents to take short, frequent breaks lets them refocus for the next call. Tired employees will have a hard time performing their best.
Also, make sure that work is fairly distributed among agents.
4. Manage Agent Idle Time
Having more agents is not necessarily better. Besides increasing the idle time if call volume is not accurately anticipated, you also increase payroll expenses. This calls for a better understanding of call volume trends and their impact on staffing needs.
If idle time cannot be avoided, take advantage of off-phone activities such as:
- Sending agents memos on service updates or short training sessions (i.e., webinars or presentations) to hone their customer service and call handling skills
- Short huddle sessions to share transit call center best practices: ask for agent feedback, or provide agents with feedback
5. Highlight Agent Impact on Customer Experience
Emphasize to agents that they’re not mere cogs in a wheel. Let them know what their work means to the agency, your customers, and the society in general. If they know that the work they do impacts millions of lives, particularly the lives of disabled and elderly Americans, they will likely be more eager to help.
Boost Your Transit Call Center Productivity Today
Transit call center productivity is a product of many factors. Recognizing agents, providing constant feedback, setting targets, equipping your team with the requisite knowledge and tools, and encouraging positive behavior are all instrumental in making the most out of your team.
Call National Express Transit today for more tips or to understand how our team of experts can help your agency.
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