Executive Interview : Interview With Damian Holznagel From Bank of the West
2015 is right around the corner and many in the contact center industry are planning to make it a big year, whether it be in sales, technology or staff practices. ContactCenterWorld.com spent some time with Damian Holznagel from Bank of the West and asked about ten great ideas for contact centers.
How often should a contact center leader be seen to visit with the front line professionals and sit/chat with them?
Weekly, at least. Employees all too often feel contact center managers are too far removed from the front line and therefore do not feel the impact of decisions made or of external factors driving volumes or call types. Walking the floor, focus groups and even sitting side by side with representatives shows employees this is not the case and truly does allow a contact center leader to have a truer pulse on the business.
What is the best way to engage staff who work from home?
Frequent communication using various media (I.M., email, phone, etc.) as well as trying to incorporate them into as many contact center functions as possible (contests, communications, etc.)
What should every contact center do when it comes to recognizing staff performance?
More of it. There is no such thing as "too much". Even recognizing what some would consider normal job functions adds incentives for others to walk down that path.
Who should be the person presenting internal awards to staff/recognizing achievements of the staff/center and why?
I think presentations should come from those two positions above or greater but with clear emphasis on comments, nominations, testimonials, etc. from those who closely interact with the employee. Doing this gives a balance of upper management recognition but also reaffirms those closest to that person recognize their great work too.
What tip or piece of advice would you give to a contact center leader who is under pressure from the board to cut costs when you know it will affect customer service?
Take a stand. Sell the impact of impacting customer service and translate that to dollars. A dollar saved today but that ends up costing you a dollar tomorrow is not a dollar saved at all.
What is the best way to cut loose/let go an employee who is underperforming?
Frequent communication leading up to the precipitating event. No employee should be shocked they are let go for under-performing. There should be various interactions leading up to that point where different coaching methods are used. You want to only let someone go knowing you truly did all that you could on your end first.
How often should an agents/front line professionals performance be measured from a quality standpoint and how should this be done?
Daily statistics. The more infrequently metrics are measured and shared with representatives, the fewer chances one has to change course and make the necessary corrections or to feed off of the positive changes, if that is the case.
What is the best way to determine which are your best and worst customers and how should you change the way you service them?
All customers can be advocates, so solely basing customer rating on that customer alone is flawed. Granted, there can and should be some segmentation, but do not underestimate word of mouth advertising.
What in your opinion is the best way to schedule staff for a contact center? and how should you allow them to select shifts or should they be set by you?
Provide enough schedule options so that you don't restrict potential employees, but also create a shift preference process, where as more desirable shifts open up, people can move into them based on performance, attendance, etc.
What advice would you give to a contact center leader who is looking at new technology for the center and how best to evaluate its effectiveness and claims made by the seller of the technology?
Skip hearing what the seller has to say and demand to speak with companies utilizing the product themselves.
Can you share a tip or two on how to improve agent/front line productivity?
Measure and hold accountable. Metrics, and especially public metrics, drive improved results. Add incentives that focus on desired productivity
What are the 2 or 3 mistakes managers often make when they recruit staff and how can they avoid these mistakes?
Too often people try to hire someone that will be a good fit day one. I want someone that will be a good fit long term. Sometimes that means just identifying attitude and aptitude. Experience will come and can be taught, other qualities cannot.
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About Bank of the West:
At Bank of The West, they take pride in contributing to nonprofits and volunteering in their communities to making a point to get to know our customers by name. Bank of The West aims to stand apart. While many things have changed over their bank’’s long history, one thing has remained the same: commitment to customers and community.
Published: Tuesday, December 16, 2014