Yesterday I spoke to 2 very different Contact Centres one was a low tech, high agent turnover centre which changes their entire team every 9 months at a cost of almost a million pounds a year, and the other was a medical insurance company where call lengths and skill levels were much higher than the first company.
So why were these companies speaking to SJS and what did they want to gain from improving the visual communications tools they have today? The first company, with the high staff turnover, is embarking on a change program to reduce agent attrition and part of this process is creating an environment agents will enjoy. This process will mean changes to recruitment, mindset, on boarding and the agent environment and a part of that will be how they communicate with agents in real-time.
Today they do what many contact centres do, they take call handling metrics delivered via a basic supervisor dashboard or report and simply push that information to HD TV screens – Not very high tech and certainly not best practice. So upgrading their wallboard software to something like Optymyse will make a huge difference but the interesting part is the the change in mindset. More and more contact centre managers are coming round to the fact almost all Call Handling metrics are negative, and if you dedicate your TV screens to only negative metrics you create a stressful environment and agents want to leave.
So what’s the plan? Well Company A have decided to move away from Call Handling Metrics and focus on 3 key factors which they agree will reduce attrition and save them thousands.
Brand: Making sure employees are reminded of Company Values and what your Brand stands for is a powerful way to improve employee loyalty. If like many you have TV screens in your Contact Centre and they don’t include reminders of what your company stands for plus are heavily branded and make your contact centre look cool and consistent they need reviewing.
Visual Communication: TV screens and the software used to drive images, content and metrics to them cost a fraction of what they did 5-10 years ago. I know the price of Optymyse has halved in the last 5 years, and what’s great about technology is you get more freedom and flexibility for less investment. In this case we will help the company designed engaging screens which allow important information about; stock levels, incidents, special offers and so on to agents in an instant. This is where wallboards start to support agents rather than simply reporting. Here’s a scenario:
As a manager you are involved with cross functional meetings and you will quickly find out if there is a problem with production, services, transportation and other operational issues, but do you always share this information with your agents and if you do can you be sure they are taking notice? With a product like Optymyse you can allocate space in your wallboard designs for notice boards, scrolling messages and pop-up alerts that way when you hear of a problem you can instantly transfer this information to your agents.
What does that have to do with attrition? The more information agents have about issues which will impact customer satisfaction the more equipped they are to deal with them and turn things around, the advantage of knowing that a problem exists, what is being done to solve it and what to do next means less stress for agents, higher FCR and less unhappy customers. This transparency and quick knowledge transfer not only reduces agent stress, it shows that you trust your agents with the latest information which makes them feel closer to the business, more empowered and this is what reduces disengagement and attrition.
Customer Feedback: I recently asked a group of Contact Centre professionals who attended a Wallboard Best Practice webinar; “Which of the following do you think will engage agents more?”
Knowing how many calls they have answered?
Knowing if the customers they have been speaking to are happy?
100% of the attendees choose “Knowing if the customer they have been speaking to are happy” and yet a very small percentage of contact centre wallboards include live Social Media feeds or real-time CSAT metrics. This is a huge opportunity which both of the companies I spoke with yesterday had not considered. By sharing this information what you are saying to your agents is:
1) You are an extremely important part of our business
2) We trust you with this information
3) We empower you to influence Customer Satisfaction
Any data that will help agents connect with customers and understand how satisfied or dissatisfied they are will have a greater impact on Customer Experiences than all of your Call Handling Metrics put together, and getting this data onto your Optymyse screens is easy, contact us on 0203 642 1842 or +1-866-412-5265 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
In Summary, there is a lot of work to do to reduce attrition in our contact centres and the race is on to be the best contact centre to work at, according to http://www.thetalentboard.org/ nearly 80% of job seekers who reported a positive experience said they’d refer others to the company in the future, and 62% said they’d even apply again. Here are my tips for making sure attrition is a low as it can be:
1) Even if your attrition levels are terrible, you must maintain the mindset of recruiting people for long term careers with clear development paths. The worst thing you can do its set your on boarding process up to match your high levels of attrition, break the pattern!
2) Review your environment and make sure your agents are comfortable and have instant access to the information they need to deliver positive experiences.
3) Avoid too many negative measures, these will make your agents feel it’s not worth trying to do a good job, and always celebrate even the smallest success be it some positive feedback or even a 1% improvement in CSAT.
4) Differentiate from other employers, this doesn’t have to be expensive, if you can offer free gym membership for employees who stick around for 12 months or more, or discounts on the products and services you sell you can start to give agents more reasons to stay.
5) Keep educating and teaching your agents, even if you can’t afford to send them on fancy training courses, run some internal workshops so they feel they are enhancing their skills. There are plenty of YouTube videos you can discuss.
Finally, don’t forget a few dissatisfied agents can influence your whole team so do what you can to work out why your most disruptive agents are unhappy, listen and try to turn them around.
Stephen Pace, CEO