Article : Call Center Best Practices: Investing In People
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It’s not new to talk about the human capital management challenges of the contact center industry. Recruiting, retention, and engagement are not only nice-to-haves; they’re strategic imperatives. Despite this, the contact center industry still has one of highest annual turnover rates.
Moreover, according to a report by Equifax Workforce Solutions, more than 40% of turnover across all industries occurs within the first month of employment, with another 10%+ of employees leaving before their first anniversary. The contact center industry is no different.
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At DialAmerica, we are always pushing ourselves to identify and implement industry best practices that work for our employees while improving business outcomes. Of all of those approaches and technologies, three best practices are making a difference to our bottom line, and helping employees in the process.
Training and development
We believe training our people is one of the most important investments that any organization can make. When corporate development teams work directly with clients, customizing training materials that will engage agents assigned to a particular program, then we can expect improved employee engagement and productivity.
These customized training and development programs for each client enable agents to absorb best practices for each customer’s business. All materials should be designed to be interactive and engaging in a way that resonates with agents and results in better information retention. The end result is a training that can be implemented with short notice in multiple locations giving clients scalability, all while not requiring their onsite presence.
We recommend training with a focus on the individual by providing a hands-on learning experience. Coupling timely feedback, along with call-center recordings to demonstrate both best practice and suboptimal outcomes, creates a strong feedback loop. But development shouldn’t stop after classroom training ends, which is why putting ongoing feedback processes in place is critical to program success.
Each week offers an opportunity to meet one-on-one with agents, new and veterans alike, to discuss challenges and wins. By listening through calls together and giving each agent a chance to critique themselves, while discussing what they could have done better, and celebrate what they did well, a company can foster an open relationship that spans the length of the employee’s tenure. This constant dialogue helps build mutual trust between the company and the employee.
Another key tenent is to give each and every agent that caliber of time and attention –letting them know they are set up for success. When agents do well, clients do well. And when clients do well, business does well. But it all starts with giving your agents the tools to succeed.
Offering flexible pay schedules
In our research, we discovered that one of the leading causes of employee turnover is financial stress. A financial wellness platform called DailyPay piqued our interest in terms of the value proposition it offers agents.
DailyPay is a technology platform that sits between a company and its payroll provider that allows employees to control when they get paid. It works like this: every day, DailyPay reads data from the company’s attendance system and then makes the equivalent amount of net earnings available for transfer for each employee. Employees can transfer earnings straight from the app directly into their own bank account or payroll card instantly with a tap of a button. Now when an employee has a bill to pay or encounters an unexpected financial event, they can simply access their accrued earnings and pay that bill on time instead of paying a late fee while waiting for payday.
DailyPay has had a major impact on attrition and, in our case, it has been especially beneficial to new hires because they can access their wages quicker than having to wait for that first paycheck. Over a third of DialAmerica employees have used DailyPay and it has resulted in meaningful improvement to our retention and engagement initiatives.
Transparent advancement opportunities
And, of course, where would a good company be without a range of career paths available to inspire agents to succeed and move up? Good companies want employees to know that they’re invested in employee career and overall development, not just their current role.
The first step is to find talent that is a good fit within your corporate culture. If an employee displays a strong work ethic, drive, and high integrity then take notice, regardless of their current experience level.
Provide consistent, ongoing feedback and development processes, allowing leaders to get to know each of their employees on a personal level. By learning what the employee’s goals are and what their strengths and weaknesses are, you’ll get an idea of where they might thrive as they move up in the ranks. Oftentimes, agents who have the drive and necessary skill set have the option to take on more responsibility within the organization.
Beyond employees simply knowing that advancement is possible, it’s helpful to be transparent about current opportunities. Post advancement opportunities in a multitude of ways including on television monitors throughout the call centers and/or through your internal email system. Employees are encouraged to apply for all opportunities within the center for which they are qualified. Besides those who are actively interested, keep an eye on our high performers as well as those who bring relevant outside education and experiences to see who else, internally, might be a fit.
To sum this all up, DialAmerica call centers strive to be environments of opportunity: opportunity to improve and develop many marketable skills, to manage one’s finances, and to take control of one’s career. What we aim for in our employment culture is to simultaneously foster community, support, and autonomy and the above-mentioned strategies are critical to reaching that balance. We believe these best practices can only benefit others in the industry as we all address issues of employee engagement and retention.
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About DialAmerica Marketing Inc:
DialAmerica, headquartered in Mahwah, New Jersey is one of the nation's privately owned telesolutions companies. We've been around since 1957. Our 5,000 employees work on behalf of our clients every day. We are passionate about what we do Many of us started out working the phones and we love being on the front line. Every customer is different - it's something we've learned, respect, and thrive on. In today's market there is no room for error.
Published: Friday, April 13, 2018
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