Peter Mburu, Client Services Manager with Conduent, writes an empassioned article that upper management and agents need to read. It's a plea to those higher up in the command chain while an empowering message to those who are the customer-facing representatives of your company.
As companies bounce back from the economic recession and aim to increase their revenue and profit base; while monitoring and decreasing spending, outsourcing of the HR business function has become the Norm. The "smart move" that changed corporate America. Leading to the rise of consulting and outsourcing companies offering a comprehensive or a segment of the HR functions. A new gold rush, every CEO running to partake and lace their pockets green with the Benjamin’s from the savory pie.
But the real question is, who is responsible at ensuring the company’s presence and standing is sustained and continues the upstream growth? Who is on the front-line, standing vigil on the wall, ensuring the continuous flow of profits to the stakeholders? Who finds themselves always pushed to the wall, underpaid and denied the opportunity to ascend through the ranks? Who is the forgotten jewel? … the call center agent.
It might be wise to dig deep to the abyss and find out the origin of the call center rep; and why he or she found himself working at the bottom level of the ladder. The high school graduate who lacked advantages in life to afford a college education. Remember the economic recession? The displaced workers, who are now over-qualified or previously highly compensated for today’s low-labor market? Remember all the millennials who after going through a 4-year college education, flooded the workforce, seeking an opportunity at working in the real world? …. Ah, you get the point.
So, what is the call center agents cry? Why is it crucial and detrimental to pay an ear, to integrate and assimilate long overdue improvements and changes now? Consider this: Being at the front-line and bearing the power to catapult the company to the apex or lay the wreath to doom, it is a no-brainer as to what every company should do to appease and appeal to the agents. Kaizen theory – First improve quality of the people, then quality of work. How do you satisfy the agents cries? Bookmark compensation structures within the industries and ensure they are highly compensated for the important and vital role they perform in the organization. Equipment and provision of the latest technology, better training and industry related tools to aid agents in the performance of their duties. Create opportunities for the agents to cross-train in other departmental roles. Disseminate the corporate glass ceiling and promote qualified agents to visible positions within the company, based on their competencies and experience; rather than based on the currently held position and compensation bracket. Surprised will you be, at the silo and quality of diverse competencies possessed. Remember, some of the staff held high level jobs before the economic depression struck.
To the CEO’s and the Bosses keen on enforcing Skinner’s theory of motivation, micro-management, top-down management practices and underpayment of the hardworking agents; a key term you need to embrace is: Survival. Ensuring rent is paid and bacon on the table, is the only reason your agents are shackled in their cubicles daily. Working to make a living, but not to make the company. Failure to act upon this desperate cry, will only lead to career withering of call center agents and productivity to the company as whole. Artificial intelligence (the so expected culprit that will end the call center workforce), Is this going to be the solution to companies that choose not to heed to the agents cry? A machine or software will never perform the work of a human efficiently, especially a job that requires empathy, quick and efficient judgement as well as human intelligence. Choose to be a leader and not a Boss. Happily employed agents ensure the company and the clients, reap the glorious harvest of their labor.
Dear Call Center Agent,
Hold fast to your calling, keep the burner of excellence and unwavering commitment burning strong. Life always has a way of restoring and empowering us all. Set forth your eyes on high and envision those who walked this road before you... 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela became the president of a Nation, Ursula Burns rose from the corporate burrows to lead a Fortune 500 company. One of these fine days, the economic tide will change in your favor.
About p g:
Progressive HR professional skilled at Employee Benefits Outsourcing, Operations and Management.
Provider of multi-channel knowledge management, care automation and analytics.
Published: Monday, July 10, 2017
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