Shivani Verma - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
Publish Date: September 13, 2010 7:45 AM
Managing multiple call centres spread over many provinces and continents one thing hit home with me. The most important message for anyone in a management position is that it is never about achieving the service level or meeting your KPIs. All the statistics, goals and measurements could be met if you do one thing right: manage your people. The key to good management is good leadership. How often have you stopped and asked yourself if you are leading your people or are you too busy putting out fires?
Here are some lessons from the trenches that really work.
Become a manager
You have gone from only having responsibility for your own work to now being responsible and answerable for a group of people. Some people fail as managers because they don’t know how to make the transition from managing themselves to managing people. So the first thing to learn when you are managing people is to become a manager.
Find the motivational triggers:
Everyone has their own unique motivational triggers. Things that make them jump out of bed in the morning and get them to work. For some it is the work environment, the people, for some money, responsibility, empowerment, encouragement, a pat on the back, recognition of potential, respect etc. A good manager finds these triggers for his/her people and then manages through them.
Delegate and develop
Some leaders newly promoted to management have difficulty delegating. They continue trying to do their previous job, rather than developing their agents to do the job well. Good managers recognize that to be successful, they need to develop and delegate. Here are a few tips:
- You can develop people to look after routine tasks that are not cost-effective for you to carry out
- Transfer work to people whose skills in a particular area are better than yours therefore saving time.
- Transferring responsibility develops the agents, and can increase their enjoyment of their jobs
Remember a leader is only a leader if he/she knows how to develop and grow new leaders.
Set clear goals, expectations and consequences
To develop high performing teams it is important to clearly define:
- goals that need to be achieved and how they align with the corporate goals
- outline clearly and establish the expectations from your agents
- assign consequences to the expectations
Communicating effectively—both understanding and being understood—is much more difficult. That is what managers need to do.
- Take corporate objectives and breaking them down to agent level so that they may understand the direction of the company and the role they play in it
- Make sure your team has a two way communication where questions are welcome
- Ensure that your team understands the reason for change in policies or processes
- Always keep your team in the loop and encourage upward feedback
It is always important not to get bogged down by everyday fires and recognise the efforts and achievement of your team. A pat on the back goes a long way so don’t wait till yearly appraisal to tell your team how good they are. Award the most improved team members as well as the high achievers to motivate the others to emulate them.
Get your team noticed
All call centres directly or indirectly contribute to the company’s revenue and directly contribute to customer satisfaction. Understand how your team links into these and then showcase their accomplishments. Recognize the team's role in the company’s successes and give praise and credit to specific individuals for good work and to your team as a whole. This will help build the visibility of your team and empower and motivate your agents.
In summary here are a few characteristics of a successful leader:
- A sense of urgency
- An openness to learning
- "What can I do for you?" attitude
- Ability to handle stress and confusion
- A team mentality
- Ability to have fun
Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. These tips on being a great leader will help you go a long way.
Publish Date: November 19, 2009 7:43 PM
As a CEO in this time of discretionary spending, how do you increase revenues and reach out to your customers while keeping costs down? There are a lot of options and paths to follow. Let’s explore one scenario where, recently, a TELUS client determined that they needed to get in touch with their customer base. They didn’t have the infrastructure or human resources for an outbound campaign nor the physical space to temporarily house them. They were looking at options whereby they didn’t have to invest in bricks and mortar and wouldn’t have to manage the work force either to achieve their goals.
The client brought the opportunity to TELUS to see how we would address their issues. After a few days of brainstorming, the TELUS Advisory Services team came up with an innovative solution for the client. It was agreed that TELUS would
- TELUS would manage this virtual centre for the client,
- Establish a 100% home-based contract agent centre, and
- All the workers would be contractors who ran their own businesses.
To achieve the first goal, TELUS employed their hosted call centre platform which allows contact centre staff to manage customer calls, e-mails, voice-mails, web call backs and web chat sessions from any location in Canada. The only requirements the staff had to comply with were to have a telephone, Internet connection and a PC with a browser.
To hire the right remote workers or “home-based contract-agents”, TELUS ensured they had the right processes in place to meet the customer’s requirements. Paramount in making this initiative a success, TELUS developed a solid screening process; a sound contract; a remote certification capability; and a subject matter training program. To conduct the remote recruitment process, TELUS Advisory Services used an online portal to assess all qualified remote agents and to review critical information, specifically each candidate’s e-resume and voice recording for assessment. Once the candidate passed the screening test, a remote work contract was established to create payment rates, track interaction usage and ensure timely and accurate payment to these remote resources. This was followed by a skill assessment or remote agent certification - a process that ensured agents had the necessary skills, environment
and equipment to work on-line remotely. Finally, the successful candidates went through remote training, a process of on-line, multi-media learning to qualify agents on call transactions.
The home-based contract agent gave TELUS a whole new dimension on agent staffing. It gave our client a new precision for the campaign – agents were hired for very specific transactions and work periods, and paid only for completed transactions. It gave them a new simplicity – no employees, no unions and no outsourcers. It offered a new flexibility – inherently more flexible agents and significantly more flexible schedules delivering real time staffing. It gave the client a new managed relationship with motivated business contractors working under performance based agreements.
TELUS Advisory Services team managed this 10 month contract and worked to create a high performing, 100% home-based Canadian team. This is a new era in home shoring. When trying to create an outbound marketing campaign now-a-days, companies have to leave it on the back burner or take a hit on service excellence. In many circumstances, there are either not enough human resources to deliver the campaign, and/or no budget available to hire the part-time workers needed to get the job done. In these situations, creating a “green” home shoring solution allows businesses to move forward with their campaign and creates jobs in the company’s own marketplace – a win-win for all. This same green staffing solution can work for companies faced with increasing interaction volumes or limitations on hiring or laying-off of seasonal personnel. If a business experiences a sharp increase in market share without an increase in the size of their contact centre, this productive, cost efficient solution makes financial sense.
At the end of the term, our client contacted their entire customer base without expanding their operations or creating a brick and mortar contact centre. The client’s internal resources were productively used on other key projects that needed to be completed in the same time span. The home-based contract agent centre fully managed by TELUS delivered exceptional call quality and strengthened the client’s image and brand in their market place. In our client’s words, the campaign was “a phenomenal success”, one that would not have been achieved without TELUS Advisory Services. TELUS and our client are looking forward to partnering again on another campaign.
Publish Date: November 19, 2009 6:21 PM