Its the first step to a long and fruitful relationship

Getting new agents up to speed on the culture, processes, and knowledge base of your company is an expensive undertaking, but there are some cost effective approaches you can use to which will also create a more social, fun environment for your agents.

When a new starter walks through the door on day one, you have two main objectives – make them feel like part of the team, and get them to a high level of efficiency as quickly as possible.

The companies who are able to consistently improve and maintain high levels of employee engagement and satisfaction are the same companies who nurture internal communication, flexible working hours and the human element. This is especially important where the people you rely on are the voice of your company with the closest relationship with your customers.

To get the most out of any onboarding process it needs to be engaging and fun. Here are some tips that will help:

  • The human brain is far more likely to retain information when it is visual and the environment is engaging
  • Create an informal area where new starters can walk around and look at press cuttings on the wall, watch TV ads or company videos.
  • Choose creative inspirational people to welcome new starters to your organisation.
  • Take the time to create engaging material
  • Use your visual communications technology, such as wallboards, to ensure there are continuous reminders of what your company and brand is all about.

In the case of call and contact centre environments there are a few things you can do to ensure your agents feel part of the team:

  • During the onboarding process ask all new starters to make a short video to introduce themselves to the rest of the company, set up a simple area with a web-cam and ask the new starter to introduce themselves, where they are from and any other information they are comfortable sharing such as pets or hobbies. Use your visual communications software to include this video as part of your contact center wallboard.
  • Try to introduce the new starter to their immediate team when these people are on a break, this will help create social bonds and hopefully start friendships.
  • Keep them informed of coming social events, so they can sign up and join in.

Efficient, well thought out onboarding, supports your recruitment processes and helps your new starters quickly become effective members of your organization. Researchers have found that a well-executed  employee induction process leads to positive outcomes such as higher job satisfaction, better job performance, and greater organizational commitment.

 

 

 

Increasing employee engagement and perceptions and allowing them to buy in to your company can be creative, fun and surprising.

Celebrate People

When employees feel valued, they’re motivated to do their jobs better and more likely to be engaged. Knowing how important it is to recognize employees for a job well done is key. However recognizing the person instead of the job is vital – acknowledging who your people are and embracing important aspects outside of work, such as birthdays, can play a pivotal role in engagement.

Jumpstart engagement

Work place perceptions start from day 1 — it’s important to start employee engagement as soon as possible.  Using a buddy system where a colleague from another department helps them settle in gives them the chance to get to know colleagues from across the business and can act as a confidant for questions a new employee may be afraid to ask.

Love Your People

Posting employee photos might seem like a small gesture, but it’s a gesture that makes employees feel included, appreciated, and valued.  Have some fun with it and schedule individual, team, or all-company photo shoots. Post the happenings on your social media and Visual Communications Software.

Be Social

Another surprising, yet effective method to increase employee engagement is socializing outside of work.  Spending time together in a relaxed setting can lead to more effective communication, better teamwork, and increased job satisfaction.

Create a Unique Office Environment

Each company is unique and each working environment depends on the nature of and culture of your company. Employees spend a long time each day in work so make the workspace as engaging as possible so they enjoy spending time at work.

Ask Employees what they think

Collecting employee feedback is an effective way to target any employee or organisational issues.  Smaller, low-key decisions, which allow employees to voice their opinions such as how to decorate the office or what information to display on your wallboards, show your employees that you respect them.

 

 

Employee Health  – win, win

Surely the health of your call center and contact centre agents is down to them? To some degree, it is, but what if you could help your employees to be happier and more satisfied in their roles? What if by taking a look at what causes high levels of employee stress you could reduce absenteeism by a few percent and improve morale?

Awkward!

Generally the best customer care agents are individuals who will often find high stress environments tough to work in. These caring, sensitive individuals perform much better when they have a little more time and answers to customer questions are easy to access.

H-A-P-P-Y

Happiness is a potent performance enhancer.  We all perform at our best when we are happy. Any organisation not investing in the improvement of employee health quickly becomes a victim of inconsistent performance, escalating recruitment costs and unhappy customers.

Take a deep breath

Most humans can survive weeks without food and days without water but just a few minutes without air. U.S. scientists have found that high levels of carbon dioxide in offices and classrooms could be affecting our concentration and decision-making abilities. Click here to read more. In addition levels of carbon dioxide created from the occupants of the room can be several times higher than a busy town.

Depending on the location of your office, encourage employees to take a 10 minute walk at least once a day.  This allows them to expose themselves to natural light and breathe cleaner air. How you breath is also important.  Studies show that when you breathe normally it is too shallow and you aren’t taking in enough oxygen.  As a result, you’re likely to have lower levels of oxygen and higher levels of carbon monoxide in your blood.  This can make you tired, in fact when you don’t get much oxygen in your blood, your heart rate and blood pressure go up.

In an industry filled with WFO and WFM software, intelligent scheduling and the constant need for employees to spend as much time working as they can, it’s the companies which promote taking a break and educate employees as to the best way to use this free time who have the lowest number of sick days and employee stress.

Hang loose

Dress down Friday may be a great way to reduce stress and let employees express who they are but the real trick is to make work fun everyday.  How you do that is up to you but here are some great tips here that should make your agents smile.

Stay hydrated

Just 1% dehydration has been found to decrease worker productivity by 12%. When it comes to our brains they really need water. Make sure agents have access to good quality drinking water.

Finally employee health is one of the key factors in making your business run effectively and efficiently – ignore it at your peril!

Introduction

Companies spend over $720 million each year on employee engagement1, and that’s projected to rise to over $1.5 billion. So why is employee engagement at a record low?

In August this year, Ofcom2 published their 2015 communications report, ‘The Communications Market 2015’ which included in its findings that the UK is now a ‘smartphone society’: record levels in the use of ‘smart devices’ has transformed the way we communicate. It is often said today that organizations need to be ‘where their customers are’ in relation to channels and devices, but what about employees in the contact center? They are your best sales team.

Today’s fast-paced society demands ever more immediate and flexible responses from their services, across a multitude of channels. To meet these needs it is essential to equip employees with the right information and resources to do their job well, whatever their preferred device – wherever they are. Communication needs to be relevant, consistent and engaging but, most of all, accessible.

This paper provides some quick tips for contact center managers on developing a multi-layered approach to internal communication with their teams and demonstrates how technology can help achieve this…..

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Enhancing Your Employee Engagement Strategy In The Contact Center. Copyright © SJS Solutions 2015, www.sjssolutions.com 

1. Deploy technology that works

Choosing technology which supports the customer experience helps create positive outcomes for both agents and customers. The easier it is for customer service agents to do a good job the more likely they are to be satisfied to stay with your organisation and the lower your training and recruitment costs will be. High quality visual communication tools are a great way to brighten up your call center environment and when used properly reduce agent stress. Agents want instant access to the information they need to answer questions the first time (FCR), after all agents want the same thing customers want; positive experiences.
Reducing agent stress has to be a priority for 2016, another great way to do this is to manage spikes in agent demand. Call-back technology such as Fonolo smooths out call volumes and soothes agent nerves thus promoting better experiences for everyone.

2. It’s OK to tell us what you think

Customer feedback has to be the single most important barometer for the success of a contact center, letting your customers know you “want” them to express themselves will already increase trust and give you more valuable feedback, but the real trick is to invest in real-time customer feedback technology. With this technology you are able to close the gap between agent and customers perceptions. For more help closing the perception gap sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of this page or contact us.
Good agents want to know how customers feel, being able to take customer feedback and feed it directly to your agents via real-time wallboards or other visual communications tools is a perfect way to empower your agents and drive loyalty.

3. Decrease call center hold-times

Call center hold-times almost always make the top 3 of most annoying things a call centre can subject customers to. The Customer Rage Study found that, “Although posting on the web about consumer problems has increased substantially, complainants still consider the telephone their primary channel for complaining by a margin of 11 to one over the internet (66% to 6%)”. Call back solutions, better communication and access to real time metrics all help reduce call hold times.

4. Reward customers for their feedback

When customers are emotional they tell us what we really need to know, how you reward customers for their feedback is really up to you but people’s time has a value and feedback from customers is worth a great deal to your organisation.

5. Empower your staff (happy agent image)

Employees are your biggest asset and they are the face of your organisation, agents moving job is all too common and as the amount of information agents need to perform their roles increases the costs associated with staff attrition is increasing. According to CCNG’s 2014 “US Contact Center Decision-Makers’ Guide (2014 – 7th edition)”, the mean average agent attrition rate remains at 27% in 2014, although the median has dropped very slightly to 19%. This masks a very wide spread of attrition rates: while 13% of respondents have attrition rates in excess of 50% per annum, and this year’s mean absence rate is a rather worrying 10.4%. With Optymyse it costs less than £100 / $150 a month to make your contact centre more engaging and dynamic.
Maintaining consistent service delivery while managing a constant flux of agents is an expensive and challenging prospect and in many cases all that’s needed is empowerment, better tools, better communication and a reason to come into work every day. White boards, flip charts and busy dashboards portray the wrong image.

6. Improve internal communications

Communication and transparency is key to employee satisfaction and performance, keeping customer feedback and other information for the eyes of supervisors and managers only is one sure way to make agents feel excluded and disempowered. Giving contact centre personnel access to the same level of information can often empower them to self-manage and in turn make them feel like they are making a real difference. Being part of your organisations long term plans is a sure way to gain agent trust and loyalty.

What is the ROI?

Three out of four (74%) consumers say they have spent more with a company because of a history of positive customer service experiences, similar to the past two years (75% in 2012; 73% in 2011)

In the past year, six-in-ten (60%) consumers intended to conduct a business transaction or make a purchase, but decided not to due to a poor service experience – a significant increase from
2012 (55%).

Source: 2014 American Express Global Customer Service Barometer

SJS Solutions are looking for a part-time Digital Marketing Assistant to work at our offices in Liscard, Merseyside.

The successful candidate must have a desire to help organisations to use SJS products to improve employee engagement, environments and internal communication through the use of dynamic visual communications solutions developed by SJS Solutions.

As well as generating an increase in interest in our Employee Engagement and Visual Communications products, the successful candidate will need experience in the following:

SEO Search Engine Optimisation

Content creation

Digital Marketing

AdWords

Google Analytics

Databases

MS Excel

MailChimp

CRM (MS Dynamics preferable)

Websites (Word Press)

Social Media

To apply send your CV plus your thoughts on how digital marketing should be used to drive increased interest in SJS products to: [email protected]

Flexible working hours.

SJS Solutions Expands Its Reach with New Data Connectors To Provide a Complete Real-Time Visual Communication Solution for Contact Centers.

Aldermaston, UK – 30 November 2015:  SJS Solutions, a global leader in visual communications products for the contact center market, has expanded it’s reach with new data connectors for Zendesk, Kayako, Cisco Unified Contact Center Express (UCCX) and Unified Contact Center Enterprise (UCCE) for the latest version of their Optymyse digital wallboard solution.

Optymyse provides a complete visual communication solution for contact centers and has the power to take any customer information and data and display it on any device in real time.  Customer data it can draw from typically includes customer feedback, ACD, CRM, agent scorecards, support ticket and call back performance and so on.

Stephen Pace, CEO of SJS Solutions Ltd, comments:  “Companies wanting to deliver a greater return on investment from their customer service teams not only need access to the right information at the right time, but, today they need to be able to view it on any device in real time. The latest version of Optymyse enables a seamless solution for companies wanting to draw any amount of customer service data from any source and display it in front of the people that need it most in the contact center.”

SJS Solutions’ Optymyse product offers a new range of data connectors plus an API that allows and unlimited amount of business intelligence, customer sentiment and customer service data to be included as part of branded screen designs capable of enhancing call centers, contact centers, helpdesk and sales environments.

SJS offers affordable pricing via SaaS or Capex pricing models, prices are available on: www.sjssolutions.com/pricing

Millennials demand more! According to Pew Research[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][i], as of Q1 2015, over one-in-three American workers are Millennials. These tech savvy individuals were born between 1980 and 2000 and are more comfortable with new technology and are more likely to embrace Unified Communications and Contact Centre technology, but only if the technology in question offers them the flexibility and collaborative qualities packaged in a visually appealing and easy to navigate manner.

Millennials have been brought up in a very visual world and their expectations are higher than the older generation, however it is often senior managers who make the purchasing decisions so could there be a mismatch between the needs of Millennials and the choices of senior managers?

As visual communications technology improves and the levels of design flexibility and feature sets previously reserved for the largest call and contact centres become available for as little as £99 per month, there are still a large percentage of IT Directors and Contact Centre Managers who only want to see simple digital screen designs containing basic call handling metrics.

Using complex, flexible software primarily for the display of the same Call Handling Metrics that were pushed to dot matrix wallboards and reader boards before some of the agents forced to use them were even born, is a missed opportunity to tap into the visual nature of Millennials.

Any visual communications solution worth investing in should be able to do more than gather data from an ACD or PBX and display call handling metrics onto a TV screen. To really engage with agents and create an environment that will attract talented individuals, TV screens should be awash with exciting information; agent anniversaries, new employee introductions, new office openings, corporate announcements and so on. They should allow customer sentiment, social media analytics or live customer feedback to be featured on screen designs which include strong branding and company values. HR and Marketing departments should be consulted to ensure brand engagement and messaging is consistent and the messages passed to agents at induction and training time is continued on a day to day basis. Good visual communication software will put the customer in control of screen designing and branding, without the need to constantly ask the manufacturer to adjust fixed templates and connect into back office systems; CRM, Helpdesk, Workforce Management and other systems should be possible with the use of simple API techniques.

According to Deloitte’s 2015 Millennial Survey[ii] The younger generation is aligned with its current leaders’ priority of “ensuring the long-term future of the organization.” Beyond this, though, Millennials would place a far greater emphasis on employee wellbeing and employee growth and development.

Giving contact centre agents a transparent view of customer sentiment, a balance of performance metrics from multiple sources and key information, will allow them to deliver great customer care, reduce stress, improve wellbeing and promote employee growth.

“When looking at their career goals, today’s Millennials are just as interested in how a business develops its people and its contribution to society as they are in its products and profits,” said Barry Salzberg, CEO of Deloitte Global.

[i] http://www.pewresearch.org/

[ii] http://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/millennialsurvey.html[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Many of today’s contact centre problems can be solved without large investments. It’s not always the big things that deliver the greatest returns, if executed incorrectly and left unsupported by many smaller ongoing activities, return on investment (ROI) on large projects is lengthy and can be disappointing.

So what are some of the common problems which exist in almost every call or contact centre today and how can low cost actions deliver high yield results?

High staff attrition – Let’s face it any attrition is going to cause disruption and cost money and with contact centre’s experiencing some of the highest attrition rates of any work environment everyone is being affected.

Disengaged employees – Your agents might not be planning to leave but unless you are able to motivate them to contribute towards the success of your organisation their contribution will fall short, and in cases where strong feelings of employee dissatisfaction exist, the few unhappy employees you have are more likely to sabotage the efforts of your committed agents.

Lack of focus – Having a common goal which your employees can believe in sounds like something every employee should have, but it takes clear communication, constant reminders, a mix of the right performance management metrics and customer feedback to keep your teams pulling in the right direction.

How many contact centre wallboards have you seen lately showing live Social Media Monitoring Analytics, Social Feedback or Real-Time Customer Sentiment data?

Lack of knowledge – Nothing stresses us out more than not knowing the answer to a question, especially when customers are showing signs of dissatisfaction. Anything that can be done to furnish agents with the information they need to answer customer questions has a positive impact on agent confidence and employee satisfaction. After all contact centre agents simply want customers to be happy.

There’s no one solution to any of these problems, and with the landscape changing all of the time it’s not always easy to see through the fog, thankfully the one thing which remains the same is human nature. Research has proven many times that customers want answers fast and from the first person they speak to. Ironically, this is exactly what agents want and the one thing that is guaranteed to make them feel motivated and satisfied. Both sides of the customer – agent relationship want the same thing and this simplifies things considerably. Think about it, every time a contact centre agent has a positive experience while working with a customer he or she feel fulfilled, valued and motivated to feel this way again and again, equally customer needs are met and the a mutual feeling of satisfaction and positivity occurs.

It’s up to customer care managers, IT directors and technology vendors to find the best tools to ensure each customer interaction has the very best chance of success, and to my mind this means ensuring agents know what is expected of them, what the brand they represent is all about and have access to the information they need to meet the needs of their customers, expensive? It doesn’t have to be.

Stephen Pace CEO

Stephen Pace (CEO)

Signup for our free trial: https://www.sjssolutions.com/free-trial/

Are you a contact centre customer experience specialist? If you or the organisation you work for promote the skills to deliver contact center solutions as opposed to communication solutions and you are involved with tenders where the contact centre environment, agents and customer experience are a high priority then you probably need to understand the role visual communications plays in creating a positive, engaging environment for agents and supervisors.

Selling telephony is one thing, providing the knowledge and advice companies need to create a successful, optimised call centre or contact centre environment is something completely different, and in many cases many organisation who promote these services fall short of customer expectations.

Are you missing a piece of the puzzle?

Knowledge of your core products is not always enough to win tenders. Tools which allow you to engage with customer care departments give you the edge and allow you to position yourselves as contact center experts.

If you would like to help your customers build highly effective contact centers and leave a lasting, visual impression of your expertise and professionalism consider introducing the subject of employee engagement, agent awareness and knowledge transfer to your tenders.

https://www.sjssolutions.com/reseller-signup/ (Become a reseller)
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