At nGUVU, we believe that the agent is the most important member of your operations, whether you are managing an Inbound, Outbound, or Blended Contact Center.
Improving agent performance is the most efficient and direct method for switching a contact center from an expensive but necessary department, to a profitable operation.
Organizations both large and small, in-house or outsourced, with contact center agents who are motivated, engaged, and ready to help customers resolve issues, maximize sales, and generally put their best foot forward, play a significant role in customer retention and growth.
Of course, it's not always as simple as tasking your best agents with crucial customer interactions, or increasing scheduled hours and reducing after-call work. As a matter of fact, that is a sure-fire way to increase agent attrition and lose some of your most talented people.
The best way to improve agent performance while increasing business growth is to combine behavioral observation with data drawn from reports...only, that sounds like a lot of heavy lifting, and those reports are typically time-consuming and difficult to generate.
So, is there a shortcut to gathering insightful data? Does anyone remember the last time a contact center manager or director had the time to generate those invaluable reports at the end of every week?
Narrow your focus
Instead of trying to measure every type of metric possible, businesses should focus in on two to three to measure and strive to perfect. Perhaps adding others as the data starts to become easy to track on those top indicators, but as with almost any performance-tracking effort, quality trumps quantity, especially if that huge spreadsheet is challenging, if not impossible, to decipher.
For example, some of our customers are concerned with a single top-line indicator: Agent Retention. Getting a handle on that one metric, and improving on it, has saved them thousands in lost productivity in a given financial period - in fact, one customer has actually saved well over 7 figures in a single year just by tackling attrition in their contact center!
Other metrics that stand out from the crowd?
- AHT (Average Handling Time)
- Schedule Adherence
- Online/Offline Compliance
From the behavioral observation perspective, or the human aspect, the challenge is identifying areas that require attention (nGUVU leverages Machine Learning and Analytics - but that is a product-centric discussion for another post). Are any of your agents coming in progressively later prior to their shift? Do they seem less prepared? Less willing to attend ad-hoc training sessions? A lot of important information can be gleaned from behavioral patterns related to work habits.
Leverage metrics as performance incentives.
As we covered in a previous blog post, individual agents, just like everyone else, are motivated by specific environmental factors, such as team collaboration, competition, or the desire to self-improve.
Monthly incentives or weekly performance check-ins where agents can see where they stand against their peers is a great way to motivate agents! By sharing the performance indicators that matter with your team, and being transparent in your departmental objectives and goals, you empower agents to improve, and even more importantly, motivate them to go that extra mile.
Create a convivial work environment
The last thing you want to do is create an environment that pits agents against each other. Even the most single-minded sales stars understand the difference between healthy competition and a serious level of internal conflict.
By creating an environment that rewards collaboration and friendly competition - more specifically, that combined both intrinsic and extrinsic factors - you exponentially increase your chances of success.
In a nutshell...
We believe that improving your contact center results can only happen with executive backing and buy-in. The entire corporate culture needs to revolve around making the agent successful. After all, if your customer-facing folks aren't buying into the company's mission and vision for success, your customers never will!
7 Important contact center industry statistics to consider:
Companies with engaged employees outperform others by 202%. (Source: Dale Carnegie - Gallup)
An estimated $11 billion is lost each year to employee turnover. (Source: Dale Carnegie - Bureau of National Affairs)
71% of all employees are disengaged. (Source: Dale Carnegie Training)
Employee engagement program can increase profits by $2400 per employee, per year. (Source: Talent Culture)
Highly engaged employees are 38% more likely to have above average productivity. (Source: Talent Culture)
79% of engaged employees have trust and confidence in their leaders. (Source: Towers Watson)
Employees who feel valued by their employer are 60% more likely to be motivated to do their best for their employer. (Source: Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program)