We caught up with Steve Pels who shared some great tips!
This point relates to communication within the contact centre, as well as communication across the wider business.
Communication within a contact centre is difficult to get right. It shouldn’t be too much or key messages are going to get ‘lost’ in the noise. It also shouldn’t be too little – staff need to know what is going on and how it affects them.
The form of the communication is important too. Often, team leads send out emails with information, product updates, promotions, break times, birthdays and all sorts of other subjects. Staff either ignore them, or read them at a suitable time (which might be too late). People also learn (and receiving information is learning) in different ways – some learn best by reading, some learn best by seeing, some learn best by hearing and some learn best by doing. Tailor your message to your staff – it may even be appropriate to use multiple formats for the same message.
Another complaint of some contact centre staff is that they never know what is going on in the rest of the business – they just come to work, do their job and go home and aren’t fully engaged in the success of the business or (worse still) don’t understand how their job benefits the business as a whole.
All Hands On Deck
We have all seen it before – the contact centre is humming along, service levels are good, NPS scores are right up there, staff morale is good, stress is down and the business is happy.
Then "something" happens.
"Something" could be anything that unexpectedly pushes up workload – an advertising campaign, a web site update, unexpected staff absences – anything that will cause service levels to drop and abandoned calls to increase. If it is short-term, management can usually ride it out with an explanation for the reason, however if it lasts longer, senior management will most likely want to see action.
The most common response is to put more people on the phones – a valid, short-term response. The temptation is for those extra people on the phones to be made up of contact centre team leaders, managers and other support staff, because they usually have the knowledge and can have an impact more quickly. Unfortunately this has unintended consequences and can actually prevent the workload from dropping again.
Firstly, team leaders are there to lead and support the team and manage process on a day-to-day basis. If they are on the phones, they are not able to adequately support the team so service levels drop and morale is impacted.
Secondly, if staff know there is nobody "watching the gauges" there is a possibility some may relax a bit and reduce their effort. It will certainly impact staff development and learning. This will also reduce customer service and puts pressure on other staff.
Thirdly, team leaders and managers are the very people that should be performing the analysis of why the impact to service occurred in the first place, and developing a strategy to return to normal levels. They cannot be doing this if they are on the phone serving customers.
The temptation for supervisors and managers to get on the phones during busy periods is strong – but it must be avoided at all costs. For the three reasons described above, it is unlikely the work volumes will decrease if team leaders and managers are on the phones – the phone becomes the priority and their "real job" doesn’t get done.
By all means increase staff numbers for short periods if necessary, but the additional staff should come from part timers working longer hours, staff in other parts of the business helping out, or temporary staff from a recruitment agency. Team leaders and managers should be left to do their "normal" jobs – they should not be on the phones.
We have other tips from Steve - check his profile on ContactCenterWorld.com for details - here is a link https://www.contactcenterworld.com/profile/steve.pels/
About Steve Pels:
Director of Operations at Contact Center Action
About Contact Centre Action:
The services provided by Contact Centre Action, and the experience we have is unique in the market today. In operation since 2003, we can provide the total solution to your contact centre consulting and recruitment needs. We have ‘hands on’ operational experience in training, operating and managing contact centres. We don’t just teach and understand the theories, we have practical experience in managing staff in this often high-pressure environment. This experience includes recruiting, customer service, metrics and measurements, staff retention, process improvement, cost reduction, contact centre relocation and centralisation. We have independent knowledge of a variety of technologies from multiple vendors, including ACD, IVR, workforce management, call recording, CTI, speech recognition, biometric verification, quality management, performance management, customer surveys, outbound diallers and speech analytics – in both on-premise and hosted environments. We are totally independent. We do not sell technical solutions, neither do we have any commercial relationships with any
Published: Wednesday, August 3, 2016
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