Monet Software - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog Page 3
“Hello, Mr. Smith – how can I help you?”
“Certainly, Mr. Smith, let me take care of that.”
“Before we go, Mr. Smith, is there anything else I can help you with today?”
It’s a decision every call center has to make when creating the script and communication guidelines for agents to use: how much emphasis should be placed on addressing the customer by name?
One of the goals of a call center is to make every customer feel valued. But how can this be achieved on a telephone call with a stranger? The circumstances make it more difficult to establish a rapport than with a face-to-face discussion.
Using the customer’s name is one strategy for creating a friendlier, personal response within a limited timeframe. But if it’s overdone, it can have the opposite effect of seeming artificial and over-scripted.
The best approach may be to advise agents to speak with a customer as they would speak with a friend, referring to them by name as often as they would in that situation.
Once that has been decided another question waits – should agents refer to customers as Mr. or Ms., or address them by their first name?
Traditionally in any business communication using a title denotes respect and professionalism – but we live in a more informal world now.
The most important variable in this scenario is the customer. Some will react more favorably to an agent who says, “Sure, Sandra, let’s get this done.” This is where speech analytics comes into play. By analyzing word usage, tone of voice and previous calls from that same customer, agents can adjust their approach accordingly, and engage with each customer in the manner most likely to deliver a positive result.
Publish Date: February 28, 2017 5:00 AM
Look at any survey about customer service and you’ll find that billions of dollars are lost each year when it is not handled efficiently.
Service is at the core of every call center function, and toward that end managers invest time and capital into a wide array of technology and employee training efforts.
There are many steps that can be taken to boost service. But some of them are really no longer options given the state of the industry and customer expectations. Here are four ‘musts’ that should be part of any call center operation.
1. You must allow customers to switch channels
According to the Harvard Business Review, more than half of all call center customers will at some point attempt to get something done online, but will have to switch to a phone call to make it happen. That transition should not only be possible, but also be actionable in a way that all information provided online is transferred to the agent so it does not have to be repeated.
2. You must provide self-service options
Not every customer issue requires a phone call. Self-service customer portals are not only convenient; they will also reduce call volume.
3. You must answer calls promptly
Everyone is less patient now because we’re accustomed to the instant responses technology provides online. Call centers cannot always provide that same instant response, but that won’t prevent customers from expecting it. Keep people on hold too long and they won’t be customers anymore. The forecasting and scheduling tools in a workforce management solution make this goal much easier to accomplish.
4. You must be able to handle service requests via mobile app
A Salesforce survey predicts that the number of inbound customer service requests via mobile app will increase by 38% over the next year. If your company does not provide this capability, there’s a good chance your competition does.
Publish Date: February 28, 2017 5:00 AM
We’ve covered quality monitoring (QM) before, but it’s such an important topic that there is always more to say, and more good ideas worth exploring. If your call center is still not getting the results you desire, try some of these tips.
A New Focus Every Month
Complacency can result from following the same quality monitoring formula every month. Rather than repeat the same procedures, review recorded calls and select the one issue where correction is needed most. Focus only on that one for the next 30 days, and then review the results at the next QM session. If positive changes have been made, move onto the next most pressing problem.
Recording customer calls will give you all the raw data you need for effective quality monitoring. But some call centers still find it beneficial to test agents, especially new ones, with specific challenges in a role-play scenario. These calls are then monitored just like an actual customer call, to determine if the agent is capable of handling these situations when the real thing comes along.
Your call center agents know it is their performances that are being scrutinized in QM sessions. They’ll feel better about this, and more responsive to its conclusions, if they are invited to be part of the process. That starts with the preparation of the QM checklist on what areas to review and where improvement is needed. If they are consulted in this effort they will be more invested in the result.
Agents can also be involved in the review process. Have them listen to calls from other agents and offer feedback. This also provides excellent preparation for listening to and reviewing their own calls. Some call center coaches have taken to not offering specific feedback, instead letting agents draw their own conclusions on how they can sharpen their skills.
There is an inherent fairness in treating every call center agent equally, and devoting the same amount of time to reviewing their performances via quality monitoring. But given the limited time and personnel resources available, it makes more sense to spend less time with agents who are excelling, and more time bringing those that are struggling up to speed.
What is ‘Quality’?
Before starting a QM program, a call center needs to define a quality customer interaction, and set benchmarks and standards for getting there. When everyone is in agreement on what constitutes a “good” call, this will make it easier to achieve the goals of the program.
Another benefit of including agents in the process, as described previously, is how it can ease tensions over QM sessions, and fears that they are being used as a way to get rid of slackers.
Quality management should be introduced in positive terms, as a way to improve both individual performance and that of the entire call center. Managers and trainers should place equal emphasis on great experiences, by saving the best calls and using them in training sessions. The agents responsible for those engagements should be rewarded for their fine work.
How is Your Competition Doing?
With QM you regularly measure call center performance internally, comparing this month’s results to last month’s and adjusting accordingly. For a fresh perspective, compare your call center to a similar operation for another company. This type of external benchmarking may yield useful ideas on how to get better.
What happens if an agent believes his or her evaluation was unfair? Have a system in place to review results – perhaps bring in a second manager or an experienced agent to provide another opinion.
Don’t Forget Customer Feedback
As your team prepares its monitoring process and quality definitions, some effort should be made to incorporate the views of the most important people in this equation – the customers you are trying to serve better. This information can be gathered from phone surveys or comment cards or social media, or by inviting customers in to attend focus groups. Following the initial implementation, customer feedback should remain an ongoing part of your QM strategy.
Review Evaluation Forms and Agent Scripts
When actors get stuck in a bad play they always say, “If it’s not on the page, it’s not on the stage.” That works with call centers as well. The evaluation form is a key cog in your QM routine, so review it and refine it to make sure the right questions are being asked, the scoring results are consistent and accurate, and the answers are prompting the right form of training. Similarly, make sure that any quality issues with agent performance are not coming from the script read to each customer.
Focus on High Value Calls
While every customer is important, some customer calls are more valuable than others when it comes to quality assurance. Focus on those that expose potential issues with new products or marketing campaigns, or those from the type of customers that are vital to your company’s success. Desktop analytics software can make it easier to locate these calls.
Don’t Wait a Month
It’s not that quality monitoring can’t be effective with monthly meetings – but there are still things that can be done between those sessions to improve call center service. Some managers start each day reviewing the last five calls of a handful of agents from the previous day. Those notes can then be presented at the start of their shifts, or saved for the next QM meeting.
Publish Date: February 28, 2017 5:00 AM
Customer expectations have changed over the past decade. Business moves faster now, which is great, but it has also become more impersonal, which presents another set of potential challenges.
Call centers dedicated to improving customer service and customer retention understand that it all starts with creating a relationship. Here are three things that must happen for that to be successful.
1. You Must Make the Process Easy
Let’s face it – no one looks forward to calling a call center. Customers dread the recorded prompts and the minutes spent on hold, and having to provide their phone number or order number more than once. It is vital for call centers to make the process of speaking with an agent as efficient as possible, while also providing other options such as email and chat and social media.
2. You Must Strive to Create a Connection
Whatever means a customer uses to contact a business or a call center, there is an opportunity to make that customer feel valued. Whether that’s an expression of appreciation for their business at the end of a call, or a personalized response to a social media post, the objective is to build a relationship with that customer so they are more likely to return. Automated responses have their uses but won’t get you there alone.
3. You Must Collect Data From Every Customer Engagement
Through call recording, speech analytics and performance management, a contact center can learn a lot about a company’s customers – what they like, what they don’t like, what they want from the company that they’re not getting and what they hope will never change.
Much of this analysis will be after-the-fact, which certainly still makes it valuable. What you learn today can pay dividends tomorrow. But sometimes a contact center can go one better – with real time analytics, it can identify a moment within an ongoing customer engagement in which action can be taken immediately to bring about a positive result.
Such moment-driven data is already being generated by workforce optimization and speech analytics. Agents must then be trained to recognize these moments and proceed accordingly.
Publish Date: February 28, 2017 5:00 AM
Every so often you run across a study that produces results so obvious you wonder why a study was necessary in the first place.
That was what most of us felt after the University of British Columbia announced that customers with bad attitudes are less likely to be satisfied with the service they receive.
Most call center agents already know this – and yet it is their job to try and make each customer happy, no matter how difficult the challenge.
These are the three customer behaviors cited by the survey. Agents encounter all of them regularly.
1. The Angry Caller
These customers are mad from the time you say hello. They’ve saved up a lot of complaining and are eager to let it rip. The best alternative for agents in these situations is to counter aggression with calm, steady responses. Convey empathy even if you don’t actually feel it – “I understand your frustration. I’m sure that was difficult. Let me try to take care of that for you.” Return negative words with positive words, and hope the caller calms down or responds accordingly.
2. The Abusive Caller
These customers are not just angry, they’re itching for a fight. They want to let someone from the company know just how lousy they are, and they don’t care if it’s the CEO or a poor agent just starting her daily shift. The difference between angry and abusive is the attack becomes personal. The challenge is to remain calm and try to reduce the caller’s hostility level. A reminder that the call is being recorded may change their attitude, but if it doesn’t it should be permissible for the agent to tell the abusive caller that their call will be terminated if he or she does not calm down. The agent should then inform that manager of what has happened.
3. The Interrupting Caller
Very few issues are unique – agents have heard them all before, and managers have prepared company responses that usually rectify the situation. But what is an agent to do when he or she can’t express the proper response because of constant interruptions? Though it won’t do much for average handle time, the best option here is to let the caller blow off steam, and at the first pause politely ask “Is there anything else about this situation I need to know?” Once the caller has vented sufficiently, he or she might be ready to accept the agent’s response.
Publish Date: February 14, 2017 5:00 AM
There are enemies at the door every day at a call center – inaccurate forecasts, average handle time numbers headed in the wrong direction, angry callers, employee turnover.
Workforce management software can get the forecasts and the KPIs under control. Angry callers will always be with us, and they may be one of the reasons why agents leave. Since disgruntled customers can never be completely eliminated, the best way to reverse those high turnover numbers is to give agents a reason to stay.
What is the culture like at your call center? How does the workspace look? How do agents feel when they start their shift every day? There are steps that can be taken to boost workplace culture and morale and help to keep spirits up, even when the work itself can be tedious and challenging.
Try some of these ideas at your call center!
1. Family Social Events
You know your agents – but have you met their spouses and kids? By arranging family events throughout the year – bowling tournaments, visits to local attractions or amusement parks – agents will get to know each other better and you’ll meet their families in a relaxed setting. Socializing in this way contributes to a positive culture, and encourages agents to think of their coworkers as a second family – and that will keep them around longer.
2. Special Days Off
Many companies allow agents to treat their birthdays as a paid day off. It’s a nice gesture that makes them feel appreciated, and since these days can be planned for, it makes it easier to forecast and schedule around them. Some call centers take this concept a step further, allowing additional time off for special events such as a wedding in the agent’s family that requires out-of-town travel, or even something less momentous like a day off to go Christmas shopping. And for the ultimate in agent appreciation, offer one or two “Duvet Days” each year; these are days that can be taken off at short notice, with no explanation required.
We’ve mentioned this before but it’s always worth repeating – agents like to feel appreciated, especially when that is expressed through some reward for their consistent work. It encourages healthy competition among shifts and gives struggling team members a goal toward which to strive. Bottles of wine, restaurant gift cards, movie passes and extra days off are all worthy incentives, and perhaps a special annual prize could be reserved for your best performing agent each year. Trophies and certificates are nice too – but in this era when everyone gets a trophy just for participation, they are no longer enough.
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why not help your morning shift agents get off to a positive start with a free breakfast? A few fresh pastries, or dry cereal, coffee, tea and juice won’t break the company budget, and will be appreciated. It can also help agents start their shift feeling more alert and more focused. At some call centers in England, a tea trolley serves tea and toast to agents at their desks. Classy – but potentially messy.
5. Volunteer Projects
Encouraging agents and other employees to participate in community projects is not just good for morale – it’s the right thing to do. It allows agents to help organizations that are important to them and it can generate some positive media coverage for your company as well. Depending on the size of your team, giving each agent 3-5 days a year of paid leave to pursue these projects will have a positive effect on morale and on the community.
5. Extra Help for Agents That Need It
Ongoing training should already be a part of your call center regimen – but there may be times when agents still require additional help on hitting performance targets. Keep in mind that the extra hours devoted to discussing these issues, working with them on improvement, and encouraging them throughout the process are a bargain compared to costs incurred in recruiting, hiring and training new agents.
7. A Positive Start
Any new job is stressful. Chances are your call center has some sort of orientation program that follows initial training, but why not take this a step further? Spend some extra time with a new agent in his or her first week. Give them some welcome aboard gifts to further ease the transition. As the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
8. A Break Room Makeover
Company break rooms should be places agents can relax, clear their heads and tend to personal matters before returning to their desks. If the place looks worn-down and dreary, it won’t have that positive effect. A fresh coat of paint (preferably bright colors), some plants (real, not plastic), snacks, a fish tank, an ATM machine (so agents won’t have to stop at the bank after their shift), happy photographs, comfortable furniture – these are the ingredients for an appealing break room.
9. Fitness Classes
Call center agent work is sedentary – and let’s face it, most of us aren’t getting the exercise we should even when we’re not at our desks. Experts recommend 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week to help stay in shape. Call centers can encourage this positive lifestyle with onsite fitness classes. These can be created with the help of a local health club, or you might even find someone on your team that can lead a yoga, Zumba or aerobics class.
10. Advancement Opportunities
Even your agents who are content in their work may not envision doing the same thing for the next 20 or 30 years. Resources should be made available for those interested in a career path to management – these can include meeting and training with current management personnel, sponsoring agents who wish to take business courses at local community colleges, and establishing a company policy of promoting from within whenever possible.
Publish Date: January 31, 2017 5:00 AM
The selection of a call center workforce management solution should not be entered into lightly.
It’s a decision with the potential to revolutionize how your business handles forecasting, scheduling, staffing and many other tasks that can boost KPI results and customer service. Do your homework, ask questions, and make sure you get it right the first time.
There are good qualities in almost every WFM solution available. But good is not good enough for your call center.
What you want is “great.” And great starts with the forecasting tool. If the forecasts generated by WFM are not accurate, it creates a domino effect that will throw the rest of your numbers off as well. Result? Overstaffing, understaffing, missed sales and angry customers.
What To Demand in a Forecasting Tool?
A WFM review of forecasting capabilities begins with the compilation and analysis of historical data. This is not just what happened at the call center on this day last year or five years ago, but also takes into account other variables that impact call volume – holidays, special promotions, annual events, weather conditions. Anything that can cause a fluctuation in workload should be considered.
Now that call centers are now contact centers encompassing multiple communication channels, forecasting must provide an integrated view of all channels and the capabilities of the multi-skilled workforce, as this will be essential for proper scheduling.
Most WFM solutions rely in part on forecasting based on averages. It’s effective, but not sufficient by itself. Find a forecasting tool that goes beyond that, one that can process every piece of data you provide and use it to deliver more accurate forecasts.
The more you put into forecasting, the more you’ll get out of it. When WFM does most of the work, the result is more accurate forecasts, generated faster than spreadsheets. With the right system performing these critical functions that can grow with your call center’s needs, you can invest with confidence and achieve ROI faster.
Publish Date: January 27, 2017 5:00 AM
In general, what do people think of call centers?
Maybe we shouldn’t use that kind of language.
Within the industry we see the efforts that have been made to upgrade technology and improve the quality of service, but too often these are not recognized by customers and by other divisions of the business. Is this important? Yes – because false perceptions undermine the services call centers provide, and may even limit their ability to make a positive contribution to their company.
Here are three opinions that are still far too common – and why they are inaccurate.
1. Call Centers Cost Money
Well, of course they do – someone has to pay agent salaries and buy the software solutions like workforce management that allow them to fulfill their function. But the data they generate through that software, and other solutions such as speech analytics, can be used in a variety of ways to generate revenue for the company.
Call centers boost customer loyalty. They provide direct customer feedback on which products and promotions succeed and which do not. They generate positive social media posts after a good experience that boosts brand reputation.
2. They Will Soon Be Obsolete
Who uses phones anymore to contact a company? That’s so last century now that we have apps and websites and Facebook.
Sounds good, but visit any call center and you’ll realize we’re nowhere near that point yet – and may never get there. According to a New Voice Media survey, 59% of customers still prefer to contact a business by phone, and 75% believe it’s the most effective way of getting a response.
Perceptions that call centers are on the way out may result in a company hesitating before investing in the technology resources that allow them to be successful.
3. Cost-Per-Call is the Only Metric That Matters
For companies that view call centers as a necessary evil, the objective is to keep costs as low as possible. One way this is measured is in cost-per-call. It’s a number deserving of attention – but it’s not the most important metric anymore. The focus instead should be on customer satisfaction, and that sometimes takes a little more time and creativity to achieve. Besides, lowering cost-per-call the wrong way can result in lowering customers as well.
Publish Date: January 24, 2017 5:00 AM
Here’s a question: who is the most prominent voice for your company’s brand or products?
Is it your president or CEO? Sometimes the man or woman in charge likes to be out front, appearing in TV commercials or giving a lot of interviews. Or perhaps it’s your marketing manager, who creates the ads that run in newspapers and magazines, as well as your social media campaigns.
But there is another voice that is also representing your brand that can be overlooked – that of the call center agent.
Each one of your agents may speak directly to dozens of your customers every day. For companies that sell primarily online, theirs may be the only voice a customer will associate with your brand. And according to a survey conducted by a company called Mattersight, 70% of consumers will cut ties with a brand after just one bad experience.
That places a lot of responsibility on agents – but it is also a great opportunity.
It doesn’t mean that every agent must be trained in marketing, but they should be made aware of the marketing tenets that customers associate with good service.
That starts with making a customer feel valued. Personalized marketing campaigns attempt this by crafting messages designed to appeal to a consumer’s specific needs. But that kind of personalization is easier to achieve in a one-to-one conversation.
With a workforce management solution, agents can pull up past purchases, the caller’s location and previous contacts. With speech analytics, agents will be in a better position to tailor each call to a customer’s preferences. And by using analytics, raw call data such as recordings can be fashioned into actionable insight.
By providing experienced agents with the right technology solutions, your call center can serve as one of your most effective marketing outreach efforts.
Publish Date: January 24, 2017 5:00 AM
The short answer to the question posed in the title of this blog is yes.
Perhaps there are still some regional businesses with a homogeneous customer base that can be effectively served in one language, but that type of company is clearly a vanishing breed.
Today, especially in this era of online retail, even smaller businesses may attract customers from anywhere in the U.S. or around the world. Obviously it would be impractical to have agents that speak every global language, but hiring bilingual agents should be a priority when possible.
This will be more essential in some industries than others. In these types of call centers it should be a priority:
Your order history will tell you where your customers live. If you only get one order a year from Germany it’s not necessary to have a German-speaking agent available. But if you receive a thousand orders from Mexico or China, you should have someone there to serve those customers.
Here you may not be dealing with clients from 20 different countries, but if your health care facility is located in a large city near various ethnic and immigrant populations, you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for them to make appointments, get answers to billing questions and order prescriptions.
This one is so obvious that we probably don’t need to include it. Companies focused on international tourism know how important it is to be able to provide information on hotels, sights, and other travel arrangements in the language of the caller.
Publish Date: January 19, 2017 5:00 AM
What makes workforce optimization such an effective call center solution is how all-encompassing it can be.
There are so many moving parts that must be harnessed to deliver a favorable customer experience, but according to several industry analysts there are three that emerge as the most significant – the actual work that needs to be done at the call center, the people charged with that responsibility, and the processes put in place to help them achieve the goals of the business.
Workforce optimization (WFO) helps with all three.
Calls are received. In multi-channel environments so are emails and webchat requests and social media posts. Orders have to be filled, returns have to be processed, questions have to be answered. With the workforce management capabilities of WFO, accurate forecasts and schedules are generated so there are always enough agents ready to handle customer demand.
They make be working in the call center or from home. They all go through the same training but gradually develop specific skills that should be leveraged. They have different needs and preferences when it comes to shifts and schedules. And unfortunately, too many of them leave too soon, necessitating another round of recruiting, hiring and training. With WFO calls and other communications can be automatically routed to the personnel best suited to handle them. It provides flexibility to scheduling, making it easier to accommodate agent requests. And it provides the data agents need to make the job easier – which might induce them to stick around longer.
What WFO provides here is visibility. No manager can be everywhere, particularly in a call center with 50 or more agents. Workforce optimization provides quality monitoring of customer interactions, and the ability to track and analyze how well processes are working through real-time alerts. It also provides more insight into every customer interaction through speech analytics.
Monet's workforce optimization solution is cloud-based and delivered as a service, making it easy, fast and affordable to get started without the usual risk of software implementations. Find out more
Publish Date: December 8, 2016 5:00 AM
Want to be a great baseball player? Study Kris Bryant’s swing.
Want to run a great call center? Study how the best ones are getting things done.
Maybe you don’t have time to travel the country visiting these successful businesses in person. That’s why we’ve collected some of their best advice and tips for better results. Hopefully they will work for you as well.
Start with this: Make things as easy on the customer as possible. Some customers may appreciate exceptionally friendly service, but for most the top priority is getting an answer, placing an order (or whatever prompted the call), and then moving on with their lives. So emphasize speed of answer, technology that rapidly delivers the customer’s information to the agent, and allowing agents to provide what is needed without putting someone on hold or transferring the call.
Are your communication channels fully integrated? That means knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each channel (ordering, conflict resolution etc.) and making sure well-trained and cross-trained agents are handling each interaction.
Next, make sure your agents are engaged. That starts with measuring attrition and absenteeism to weed out those that aren’t cutting it, and perhaps using speech analytics to track performance. But if you demand great performance from agents, you need to give them something in return besides a paycheck – flexible working hours, extra help when they need it, and a path to advancement for those seeking something better.
Is Net Promoter Score one of the KPIs you measure? It is at many top call centers. This gauges the likelihood of an average customer recommending or criticizing a business’s service. And it’s not enough to collect the data – you have to act on it.
Finally, don’t look for answers outside the business when they might be available from your own teams. Companies routinely hire outside consultants to tell them what their customers are thinking, what they want, which products should be introduced and which should be discontinued. Before paying someone else a fee to deliver this data, investigate whether your agents and managers already have this information, and put them in charge of putting it together.
By doing so, the company saves money while getting better answers, and offers an opportunity for agents to take on some executive-level business analysis, which may provide them with a path to career advancement.
Publish Date: December 6, 2016 5:00 AM
Call centers expect agents to be alert, engaged, up to date on company policy, and ready to give 110% every day.
That’s fair – but is your call center helping them to achieve such consistent performance?
Here are two areas where actions can be taken that will boost productivity, and make your business more efficient.
1. Information: Where they want it, when they need it
Technology and data drive successful call centers. Usually that refers to the KPIs measured to gauge customer service, but it also applies to the optimized knowledge base that makes it easier for agents to deliver great service by being able to quickly access each customer’s information.
Training materials should also be easily retrievable, so agents can review proper procedure on their own if a question arises. This encourages the healthy habit of self-monitoring of performance.
And since call centers are typically part of much larger organizations, agents and managers benefit from online collaboration platforms where documents can be shared, and everyone can be kept up to date on new projects. This also encourages consistency and cooperation between departments.
2. Stress relief
Breaks are necessary in the agent workday, but can and should consist of more than leaving one’s desk, stretching one’s legs, and perusing the leftover pastries in the break room. This is the time to de-stress. Since different agents achieve that goal in different ways, why not cater to both of them?
For those who prefer to burn off tension while burning off calories, a small workplace gym would be greatly appreciated. Those who prefer a quiet, peaceful respite would enjoy a relaxation room that might even offer sleeping quarters for a quick nap.
Bonus benefit: These steps will make your call center the type of place where agents feel valued, and that means they’ll stay with you longer.
Publish Date: November 29, 2016 5:00 AM
What do you look for most when you hire call center agents? Experience is obviously important, along with a clear speaking voice (and/or writing and spelling skills for communication channels like video chat). It’s also beneficial to have someone who takes guidance well, is punctual and gets along well in a team environment.
But there are some skills that are equally important but not always evaluated during the interview process. Pay attention for signs of them in your next recruitment drive:
An Even Temperament
It’s not easy being yelled at by strangers several times a day. Hopefully that is not a regular occurrence at your call center, but when hostile customers need to vent it’s important to have an agent who is cool under pressure. It might mean the difference between keeping and losing those customers.
Winning isn’t Everything – It’s the Only Thing
I know we live in an era where everyone gets a trophy for just showing up, but you want agents that don’t take such consolation prizes seriously. They want to be the best – especially if there are real rewards attached to that status. You don’t want to encourage cutthroat competition, but friendly rivalries between ambitious agents can be healthy.
Yes, the script is important, but you can hire anyone to read words off a computer screen. It’s what happens between and around those scripted directions that make the difference between good agents and great ones. Find someone who will listen – who can project empathy in a difficult situation, and who can get creative to solve a problem, even if it adds a few minutes to average handle time.
One more idea: When you find these outstanding agents, give them the technology they need to really succeed – such as Monet WFM Live. When you make it easier for them to do their jobs, they are likely to keep doing them longer.
Publish Date: November 22, 2016 5:00 AM
For all the beautiful photos you’ll see of leaves changing color in Vermont and harvest festivals and pumpkin pies, the fact remains that autumn can be a depressing time. The summer is over, the days are shorter, and in some parts of the country the temperatures are already dipping below freezing.
Coping with such changes can cast a pall over your call center, and affect agent performance – but only if you let it. Here are some ideas that can result in a more productive fall.
Daylight Savings Time
The one part of autumn that no one likes is setting the clocks back, which throws everyone’s internal clock off for a while, and offers one more hour of darkness at the end of the day. If the transition was rough on your agents this year, next year try to make it more gradual, by adjusting shifts incrementally – say, 15 minutes a day for the four days preceding the change. Lighting adjustments in the call center – especially those that mimic natural light – can help as well, and even prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Breaks are part of every call center shift, but can be more beneficial if agents are encouraged to spend at least part of that time outside. The crisp fall air is stimulating and will boost alertness for when they return to work, especially in the afternoon when attention to detail often begins to slip.
Emphasizing the fun parts of fall can make the season less depressing. Have a costume contest in the days leading up to Halloween. Offer free turkeys or pumpkin pies to agents who perform the best in November.
Autumn holiday decorations can make a call center more festive. Some new furniture, a fresh coat of paint and some plants (real ones, not the plastic variety) also contribute to a more pleasant work environment.
Plan Ahead for Cold and Flu Season
This tip benefits your agents and your customers as well. More of your employees will get sick this time of year. Recognize that it’s coming, give them the time off, and call upon your holiday file of backup and temporary agents to fill in before the Christmas season starts.
Publish Date: November 17, 2016 5:00 AM