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Global Response Blog

How to Effectively Empower Call Center Agents

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There’s a lot of discussion about employee empowerment today, but call center agents are a unique type of employee with unique roles and needs. 

What does empowerment look like when it comes to their role?

Agent empowerment is key for increasing retention and job satisfaction, but it also plays a large role in effective customer service and customer satisfaction. So, how do you create empowered call center agents who can deliver great service day-in and day-out? 

We’ll show you how in this article. 

Understanding Agent Empowerment

Empowering agents ultimately comes down to providing agents with ownership over their work and responsibilities, giving agents a voice in the overall operations and decisions of the call center (as possible), and supporting agents in creating a work-life balance that provides for both business and personal needs. 

Empowerment also means creating a company culture that rewards and prioritizes continuous improvement, learning from one another and creating development and growth opportunities for all team members. 

When you prioritize agent empowerment, you reap significant benefits for your company and team, including: 

  • more knowledgeable and supportive agents 
  • stronger, faster and often friendlier customer service interactions, leading to increased customer satisfaction 
  • increased job satisfaction for agents, resulting in less turnover and more knowledgeable and friendly agents for customers

Considering that 80% of consumers cite speed, convenience, knowledgeable help and friendly service as the core elements of good customer service, developing empowered agents is a key factor in creating excellent customer service experiences. The more empowered your agents feel, the faster and better they will be able to support customers, and the friendlier they will tend to be. 

Strategies for Empowering Call Center Agents

However, empowering agents is easier said than done. At Global Response, we focus significant time and energy on ensuring our agents are knowledgeable, empowered and supported, so they can provide the best service for your customers. Here are some of the key strategies we use to support and empower our agents. 

Provide the right call center agent training and development opportunities. Empowering agents to handle calls independently, make key decisions and implement the best solutions for each customer will improve your service—but only if you support your agents with the right training and development. 

Before you set them free to make decisions and take ownership of their work, make sure that you support them with the necessary training, coaching and mentoring to feel confident in their abilities to do so. For example, having ongoing training sessions, individualized call center agent training based on key areas of development needed, and individual or group mentorship or coaching can be valuable. 

For many call centers, team-led or mentorship-based training can be a great way for agents to develop their skills and share them with others on the team, strengthening your team’s knowledge and reliance on one another, while providing your employees with an opportunity to contribute to the team and develop their leadership skills. 

Encourage autonomy and decision-making. It’s tough to create an empowered workspace for agents if you are micromanaging your employees, workflow and processes, or monitoring employees’ every move. Instead, hire the right people, train them well, and then trust your employees to make the best decision for each situation. When agents know they will be trusted and supported—coached when things go wrong, and rewarded when things go well—you get better results and your whole team is encouraged to share and learn from failures. 

Giving your agents autonomy to make decisions based on the unique customer situation also allows you to deliver more effective, personalized and memorable customer service. Instead of employees having to stick to a robotic script and work within tightly-confined policies, they are free to find a solution that really satisfies the customer, allowing you to deliver exceptional experiences, every time. 

Create a feedback-driven culture. When the entire team is encouraged to share and learn from feedback together, it becomes easier to grow, improve and strengthen your service—and results. You can provide and solicit all kinds of feedback, for example: 

  • create a QA program to regularly evaluate and provide feedback on customer interactions 
  • solicit feedback from agents on workflows, processes and quality 
  • have experienced agents share feedback with newer employees 
  • implement regular periods of both individual and team feedback 
  • use software that allows agents to see real-time metrics and feedback on their own work 
  • share customer feedback from CSAT, NPS surveys or other online reviews 

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Promote work-life balance and employee wellness. When you support your employees outside of the office, you create a more supportive—and productive—environment inside the office. Provide your agents with ample benefits, time off, workday breaks, and so on to support their full lives and wellness. Not only will this create stronger job satisfaction—reducing turnover and increasing expertise on your team—it will also create happier, more fulfilled employees.

Track and reward the right metrics. Part of giving your employees what they need to succeed is focusing on, and rewarding, the metrics that really matter. If you measure your agents’ success solely based on, for example, average handle time or completed calls, agents might be motivated to simply complete calls as quickly as possible to meet those metrics. Doing so, though, can create incomplete customer service that leaves the customer dissatisfied. Instead, look at a broad spectrum of metrics that highlights a variety of agent skills and gives a fuller picture of success. In addition, you can empower agents by asking them to set personal goals for areas they’d like to improve in, and supporting them in self-directed learning or development to improve those areas.

The Role of Leadership in Call Center Agent Empowerment

When it comes to agent empowerment, the most effective strategy of all is the lead by example. Implement your new culture from the top down. In short:

  • Be the kind of leader you want to see on your teams.
  • Exemplify the openness, attitude and behavior you want your agents to demonstrate.
  • Work through decisions and mistakes in public, with an attitude of humility and learning.
  • Create a culture of learning and improvement that rewards openness and honesty others can learn from.
  • Inspire confidence and trust by being open and supportive of your team.

Leadership has an important role to play not through leading by example, but also by creating effective communication channels and processes to enable learning, development, training and other team efforts that will empower agents.

The more your team can share learnings, support one another and exchange knowledge and training, the stronger your team—and each individual agent—will be. In addition, leadership should be responsible for implementing effective QA processes and providing regular feedback to agents to learn and grow.

Using Technology to Empower Call Center Agents

In today’s call center, technology can also play a role in empowering your call center agents. Without the right tools to do their jobs, agents will be held back from the ownership and development they might like to have because they are working with limited tools or outdated technology.

On the other hand, the right kinds of software can empower agents to do their jobs well and effectively. For example, consider implementing:

The growing development of AI and other forms of automation can also be a strong support for agents, who typically have a high amount of repetitive and tedious work. By implementing AI tools that can help automate some of the most tedious parts of agents’ roles, you not only increase job satisfaction, but also improve productivity and empower agents to spend more time focusing on growth, customer experiences and other strategic elements.

Measuring the Impact of Empowerment

Even though empowering agents is a somewhat subjective and ongoing process, there are still ways you can monitor your own success and improvement in this area. Tracking these core KPIs can help you quantitatively measure the impact of your empowerment efforts:

  • AHT (Average Handle Time)
  • Average after-call work time
  • Occupancy Rate
  • Agent Turnover Rate
  • Agent Satisfaction

These KPIs not only monitor the output and productivity of agents, but also guard against negative trends of burnout, high turnover or lowered satisfaction. If you do start to notice problematic trends in these metrics, you can work with agents and managers directly to remedy the situation before you end up with significant consequences.

In addition, you may also want to measure CSAT as a measure of employee empowerment. Although it’s not a direct correlation, in many cases, agents who are highly empowered to deliver the best, most personalized experiences they can, deliver better service, and therefore are correlated with higher CSAT rates.

Challenges in Empowering Call Center Agents

Although agent empowerment benefits everyone—your company, your customers and your employees—that doesn’t mean it’s an effortless initiative, especially if this isn’t a core value or culture at your call center currently.

In many cases, simply overcoming the resistance to change can be the biggest obstacle. Agents may not immediately feel comfortable taking on more responsibility or decision-making, and management may not expect them to, or trust them to do so competently. As you introduce new initiatives, try to get the whole team on board and let initiatives stem from within the teams themselves.

In addition, call centers still need to balance autonomy with quality control, even if their agents are highly capable and competent. Customer service needs to be consistent, on brand, and stay within corporate guidelines, even as you empower agents to serve customer needs effectively. So how do you balance quality with autonomy? Implementing a strong QA process is a key factor. With an effective QA process, agents know what “quality” looks like and what is expected of them, while also having the freedom and flexibility to make choices and solutions within those boundaries.

Even better, agents and management can work together to design and implement QA processes, evaluations and feedback, allowing agents to learn from one another and manage quality effectively.


In short: working with a call center that effectively empowers their agents can be difficult to find, but confers a number of benefits for your company.

And if you’re managing your call center in-house, focusing on agent empowerment is a must to grow and improve your customer service and satisfaction.

At Global Response, we focus on empowering our agents in both working conditions, operational processes, call center agent training and development and work-life balance to provide competent, well-trained and satisfied agents who can deliver the best service possible for you. Not only does this boost retention for your team—ultimately providing you with more expertise and long-term agents who can become brand specialists for your company and provide a seamless experience for your customers—but it also improves customer satisfaction.

Curious how outsourcing to a team of empowered agents can make a difference in your call center and customer service results? Connect with an expert from Global Response today.


Empowering your call center agents involves creating an environment where agents are given freedom and autonomy to create smart, effective and personalized solutions for your customers. It also includes allowing employees to create a strong work-life balance, learn and develop in their career, and share decision-making responsibilities as appropriate with management.
Empowered agents typically deliver better customer service because they are faster (less policy hoops to jump through), more effective (have more flexibility and ability to create effective solutions), provide more personalized service and are typically more satisfied with their jobs, and thereby friendlier and more empathetic.
Empowering agents can include creating more training and development opportunities, providing increased opportunities for agents to make decisions, sharing more feedback and learnings across the entire team, giving agents more autonomy over their workday and customer service solutions, and providing agents with modern technology and tools to empower their work.
Modern technology and AI tools can empower agents to make better, faster decisions, analyze customer sentiment more easily, search knowledge bases effortlessly and automate repetitive, tedious tasks. In so doing, agents are not only empowered to do their jobs well and efficiently, but also have stronger job satisfaction.
In some cases, overcoming resistance to change is a big obstacle in agent empowerment, especially if your call center doesn’t currently have a strong culture of empowerment. Other challenges can be adequately training agents so they feel empowered, balancing quality with autonomy and effectively gathering and implementing agent and customer feedback.

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