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Executive Interview : Interview With Saul Berman From Scandinavian Tobacco Group
How often should a contact center leader be seen to visit with the front line professionals and sit/chat with them?
Visit daily. Sit and chat monthly.
What can contact centers do to help manage social interactions better?
Have a social club committee and put money towards it.
What should every contact center do when it comes to recognizing staff performance?
E-mails, bulletin board, trophies and prizes. Find out from staff what the best prizes are.
Who should be the person presenting internal awards to staff/recognizing achievements of the staff/center and why?
Definitely the Contact Center Manager, but perhaps Team Leaders can stand up to nominate their best person.
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?
I would walk them through the repercussions.
What is the best way to cut loose/let go an employee who is underperforming?
Lots of discussions, initially verbal, and then written. You must enter these talks with the frame of mind that you want to improve the individual to succeed. If you go in with the frame of mind that you want to fire them, then you won't be able to help them.
How often should an agents / front line professionals performance be measured from a quality standpoint and how should this be done?
Monthly. I do all of my evaluations in one day. It may not be best, but it's the most practical!
What is the best way to determine which are your best and worst customers and how should you change the way you service them?
Service - no difference, no change. Although you can automate as much as possible. Re: sales and marketing - more communications to the best customers, and create a rewards program.
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?
Roster based on call volumes. Plus I also roster early in the morning, if there is a back log of emails form overnight. I set shifts but allow staff to change and swap. I also roster based on training purposes and skill sets.
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?
Site visits to other call centers using that technology.
Can you share a tip or two on how to improve agent/front line productivity?
Motivation, reward and recognition. Give staff ownership and accountability to resolve problems. This streamlines complaint resolution and first call resolution.
Can you share a tip or two on how to improve agent/front line Motivation?
Give staff ownership and accountability to resolve problems. Give them KPIs, and feedback.
What are the 2 or 3 mistakes managers often make when they recruit staff and how can they avoid these mistakes?
Recruit for things that you cannot train on, such as personality and attitude. You shouldn't have to use energy in making people happy personalities. Recruit to train in a 'career' like products, service, etc.
You have a customer who complains on twitter and/or facebook - how do you deal with this?
Acknowledge, investigate and resolve and do it immediately!
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About Scandinavian Tobacco Group:
Scandinavian Tobacco Group is a global company with a Danish head office. We are dedicated to the manufacture and sale of quality cigars and smoking tobacco to smokers around the globe. Scandinavian Tobacco Group has around 9,500 employees in sales companies and production companies in 20 countries. Scandinavian Tobacco Group is the largest manufacturer of cigars in the world, the world’s largest in pipe tobacco and a strong regional player in fine-cut tobacco in Scandinavia and in USA.
Published: Friday, December 12, 2014