Does your contact centre create a great service culture for your agents? This is an interesting question for Leaders to ask themselves and Colin Hay, Vice President of Intelecom examines this more closely in the following article.
There was a time when leadership styles centred entirely on principles of ‘command and control’ where staff were there to do as they were told without asking too many questions. Thankfully, management philosophy has moved on. In practice, however, letting go and giving team members the freedom to do their jobs is still a difficult thing for many managers to achieve. As a contact centre leader in charge of the company’s frontline operation how you can possibly meet your organisation’s targets and ensure customers receive a consistent and exceptional level of service without you being 100% in control?
Here is a simple three-point plan designed to tackle the brave new world of agent empowerment head on:
1) Face facts - the first step is to recognise that the best companies hire and retain successful staff and give them a fair amount of freedom along the way. According to global CRM Company Salesforce, "great service brands start with great service cultures. And while great service cultures may start from the top, they focus on the front: they explicitly give agents the power to go out of their way to delight customers."
Why not build flexibility in your contact centre? Can agents work from home to accommodate personal commitments? Getting schedules right for agents will make it right for the contact centre and ultimately customers will benefit.
Take the time to listen to your agents. As frontline staff, they are at the receiving end of both good and bad feedback and know what customers really want. Gather their views and advice to improve your organisation’s products and services and build a better customer experience.
2) Train, train, train but make it fun - according to Gartner, agent churn for first-time agents is often at its highest during the first 90 days of employment, and it usually results from being overwhelmed by the demands of the role, after being "thrown in at the deep end." Training is absolutely essential and should be viewed as a continual process rather than a one-off event when team members first join.
3) Make technology your best friend - the latest cloud-based contact centre solutions actively facilitate and even encourage agent empowerment, for example;
In the words of Salesforce "companies famous for customer service all have one thing in common: they give their customer service agents the power to solve problems, give them all the training and support they need… and then get out of their way." Now it’s your turn to let go, empower your agents and become one of those companies Salesforce.com is talking about. What do you have to lose?
About Colin Hay:
Colin Hay is an experienced senior executive with a background in software, media and mobile communications. Following a distinguished eleven year career in the British Army, Colin completed an MBA. He has worked for mobile giants Motorola, 02 and Three and is an Associate Fellow at Warwick Business School.
Puzzel (formerly Intelecom) builds on 20 years’ heritage. It was one of the first pioneers to develop a cloud-based contact centre. Puzzel also encompasses leading mobile messaging and mobile payments to deliver a flexible and customisable customer interaction platform to meet the needs of today’s omni-channel and mobile environments. Headquartered in Oslo, Norway, Puzzel employs over 130 people who are all passionate about delivering innovative customer interaction solutions for contact centres and mobile environments.
Published: Friday, February 17, 2017
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