How to Coach Your Contact Center Agents

If you want to facilitate an environment for your contact center agents to succeed, you need to start coaching. Coaching is a great way to encourage, enable, and empower your agents to not only want to be better at their jobs but perform better. Coaching is also a great opportunity for your agents to learn new skills, get feedback on the work they are doing, and resolve the problems they might be having with calls.

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How Contact Centers Can Leverage Gamificaton

Contact centers are always looking for new ways to ensure employee engagement and productivity, especially now that many agents work, at least some of the time, from home. For remote agents especially, it can be more difficult to plug into the culture of the office and stay engaged with the brand without the face to face interaction they would usually have in the contact center. This is where gamification can help. Contact centers can introduce gaming elements to motivate and engage staff while helping upskill and cross skill staff. It is an invaluable approach to increasing productivity for your workforce, whether they are working from home or in a contact center.Read more


4 Ways to Reduce Agent Turnover in Your Contact Center

One of the most significant challenges that contact centers face is an incredibly high rate of agent turnover, creating a cyclical problem where the Learning and Development team is continuously training new agents for them only to stay with the company for a couple of months. This can be expensive. In this blog, we have four strategies for contact centers that are hoping to retain their agents and reduce turnover.

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Transitioning Back to the Contact Center

With the threat of COVID-19 still lingering, everyone needs to understand exactly what it means to come back to the office. Contact centers are at an especially high-risk for transmission due to the number of people on each shift and the sharing of equipment between team members throughout the day. There need to be strict safety guidelines in place for businesses that are bringing their workforce back into the office. In this blog, we go into detail on what bringing your staff back to the contact center should look like.

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The Impact of Increased Handle Times

Written by Michel Niere

In our third instalment in the WFM and New Normal series, we talk about the impacts of increased handle times. As a lot of contact centers have quickly had to adopt work from home strategies to maintain business as usual status, there have been some things to be wary of, and increased Average Handle Time (AHT) is one of them. Some of the causes of increased AHT might be due to:

  1. Technical issues like the internet not being fast enough, therefore taking longer to load information and as a result increasing talk or hold times
  2. If a secondary team is involved and the agent can’t get a hold of anyone and has to place the customer on hold for extended periods
  3. New staff coming on board and taking longer to find and resolve the issue

(These incidents can, of course, occur even when staff aren’t working from home, and there is no pandemic).

Average Handle Time

Let’s focus on Average Handle Time. Average Handle Time is the sum of talk time, time on hold, and wrap-up time divided by the total number of calls. Targets are often set for individuals to maximize performance, keep hold and wrap times low, or manage talk times but still provide excellent customer service. A business can implement a learning curve or glide path to help the employee meet personal goals and for the group to meet capacity targets. Any change to call flow or products and services offered can lead to a change in handle time duration.

How WFM Can Help

From a WFM perspective about forecasting, changes in AHT can be either permanent or temporary. With guidance from the business and an understanding of the external factors influencing the changes, a WFM practitioner would adjust their forecast as necessary. For example, if the causes of the change are permanent, this could lead to revisions in capacity plans or budget forecasts, quarterly forecasts and even intraday level forecasts. However, if the change is temporary, then perhaps a quick forecast for the next three days or week would suffice. As much as we want to be proactive in forecasting if you can’t change schedules in a short period, forecasting at short notice may not be beneficial. 

If however, you believe it is the “new norm” then it is essential to make the changes to ensure more accurate forecasting and planning.


Effective Strategies for Managing a Contact Center

Contact centers are the frontline of your customer service operation, which means that your contact center must be operating at optimum capacity at all times. The management of your contact center is an essential element to operating successfully and providing your customers with the very best customer service. The success of your contact center relies on the strength of your agents and management teams. Without the right management, even the best contact centers will suffer. Below, we have 4 effective strategies for managing a contact center.

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Making Your Contact Center Work Better

Contact center changes are never an easy venture, but it's crucial to embrace an opportunity for change. While the world is slowly returning to normal after a global pandemic, now is the time to identify how your contact center can be improved. For some organizations, there may be an influx of calls from customers asking about your services. Your team will need to be ready, so it's essential to streamline your operations to address the needs of your customers and provide the touchpoints that they are looking for in order for them to interact more effectively with you.

Providing a great customer experience

A multi-faceted and customizable customer support solution is vital during a crisis to provide a great customer experience. Customers often struggle to reach businesses at a time when they need them most. During the recent pandemic, some contact centers faced increasingly high volumes of calls, which caused longer hold times, reduced callback numbers and increased frustration for their customers. It’s important to learn from this and to make the necessary changes to provide better support in the future. With the right tools and processes in place, your contact center will be able to field the calls that are coming in better and continue to provide a great customer experience regardless of whether your staff are working from home or in the office.

How automation helps

Automation includes Interactive Voice Response, Chat Bots, and self-help applications (web browser or smartphone app-based). However, all automation needs integration to source systems to make it truly useful in providing benefit to a customer. With an IVR, customers can access business functions you choose to make available to them in order to take calls away from agents, and only send those calls to an agent when a customer needs more assistance than they can get from the IVR. Careful crafting of your customized menus and transactions gives your customers a choice to make their own decisions. Additionally, when needed, it can route your customers to specialized agents that can be ready to answer their questions without hesitation, based on the interaction that the customer has had within the IVR.

Proactive outreach for positive touchpoints

Depending on your industry, this crisis might be an excellent opportunity for your agents to proactively reach out to your customers to ensure them that your team is still available and standing by to assist them with whatever they need. Whether this is through an outbound dialer, email campaign, social media, or even a widespread text message, it's essential to establish that your company is still in operation and that your customer's needs come first.

Identify all touchpoints

Touchpoints are all the places online that your customers can interact with your brand. These touchpoints could range anywhere from adding a product to their online shopping cart, engaging with a post on one of your social media channels, opening an email, or interacting with the customer service chatbot on your website. Once you identify these touchpoints, you'll get some immediate insight into what the customer experience is. Are there too many? Maybe your company website is too complicated, requiring too many steps to get to a purchase or a download. If, on the other hand, you find that there are fewer touchpoints than you realized, it's time to create some new touchpoints on your website. It's all about balance and making sure that the right pieces are in the right place.

Improve your Workforce Planning capabilities

Making sure you have the right staff, in the right place, with the right skills, at the right time is an essential part of optimizing the customer experience.  Unfortunately, it is something that is often not done well. Investing in the success of your workforce planning team is critical to achieving success.  When looking at ways to improve your contact center, review both your Workforce Planning software functionality and the team’s skills in both best practice WFM and using the tool.

How Call Design Can Help

Call Design is the ideal solutions partner for elevating the operations and processes of your contact center. Our consulting and technology solutions empower your staff to improve the customer experience, giving your company the competitive edge you need. By improving your operations and giving your customers options, you are improving their experience with your brand. Contact Call Design today to learn how we can help you.


3 Ways to Drive Agent Engagement in a Contact Center

If you know anything about contact centers, then you know that it can be hit or miss when it comes to how interested (or engaged) an agent is with their caller, or their job for that matter.

Just a little nudge in the right direction, and your contact center could be humming, but if you are like many contact centers, that ‘nudge’ needs refining, and there’s a new way in which you can do it. What contact center managers have realized is that their investment in training and development, along with employee satisfaction and engagement, is the best investment they could ever make.

According to an Aon Hewitt study, a mere 5% increase in employee engagement can drive an increase in revenue by 3% by the following year. On the back of this ‘new’ digital age brings to the forefront major advancements in technology particularly in artificial intelligence, robotics and of course, gamification (our personal favorite).

Employees that work in contact centers may at times feel not qualified enough to perform their required tasks to the best of their capabilities and hence feel slightly unmotivated and unambitious. Engagement among contact center agents is important to ensure employee satisfaction is attained.

In come companies like Call Design’s partner Datagamz who aim to optimize and radically improve the engagement and capability of contact centers by improving communication inside and outside the organization. They focus on gamification as well as analytics to provide insights, and throw a few games into the mix – which ultimately get’s everyone a little excited (and productive).

Here are 3 of the best ways gamification is used to drive agent engagement in contact centers.

  1. Gamification
    The concept of incorporating games into work has proved successful when the game is designed to improve productivity. Gamification taps into employees’ psychological needs for challenges, rewards, feedback and fun. Through Datagamz technology, the focus is on earning points, levelling up in games, having leaderboards and game targets that encourage employees to do better and ultimately be more competitive. It prides itself as a stakeholder in the incorporation of bringing fun into work – where an employee finishes a work-task and simultaneously levels up in a game. Constructive feedback will also be shared in the game, which is beneficial to all employees.
  2. Manage Employees using Game Console
    Frankly, nobody likes being micro-managed. With Datagamz’s solution, employers are able to keep track of areas they want to target to determine employees’ individual performance. Employees have the choice to either compete against or team up with their colleagues while completing tasks. Having a point system and rewarding employees for compliance encourages repeated positive behaviors.
  3. Recognition and Rewards
    Last but certainly not least is recognizing and rewarding employees’ performance. Announcing and displaying top scorers is one way to increase engagement and encourage others to follow in this direction or use Datagamz to reward high achieving employees with the freedom to play music of their choice upon accomplishing a milestone. Employees with exceptional knowledge and skills can easily be identified to help benchmark where everyone is at. Utilizing Gamification technology provides insights on employees’ motivations and engagement patterns. Recognizing their strengths and rewarding their good behavior will urge employees to keep up the hard work, hence increasing satisfaction as well as engagement overall. What more could you ask for?

https://datagamz.com/gamification/

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Play Your Way to a Higher Performing Contact Center

The biggest threat to the productivity of a contact center is a disengaged employee. If your team is disengaged with their work, the performance of your contact center will suffer dramatically. But what if you were able to make a game out of your employee’s performance? Making a game out of the mundane tasks that come with a contact center will not only increase the likelihood that these tasks will be finished, but it will also improve the quality of the work done on the task. If this approach can strengthen the integrity of the work for the smaller tasks, just think of what it can do for some of the bigger, more complex tasks that your agents face every day. Gamification is the answer to your employee engagement problems.

How gamification can help

Gamification is the implementation and application of gaming elements to encourage engagement with a product or service. We can utilize gamification to improve employee engagement to increase the performance of your contact center. These games are able to translate behaviors that improve productivity into badges, quests and challenges for all the players involved. Whether you are training your employees on a new product or trying to encourage the completion of mundane tasks, gamification will change the way your team works.

Driving performance with friendly competition

The success of your team may very hinge on the environment of their workplace. Automation is taking up more and more of the routine tasks of a contact center, so your agents are tasked with the bigger, more complex customer questions. Gamification can help facilitate an environment that engages your employees in competition to increase their productivity and on-the-job knowledge. Whether they are competing for the top spots on a leader board or levelling up in training activities, gamification can make your team members better employees through challenges that reward and empower them on a personal level.

Celebrate your success together

With gamification software, you have the opportunity to reward the employees who are doing well and celebrate their success publicly. You can utilize the screens in your contact center to live stream player progress, leader boards and achievements for everyone to see. Public displays of success are a great way to motivate disengaged or newer employees to join in on the fun, while also celebrating the good work of your engaged employees. When you can celebrate the success of the whole team at once, everyone wins!

If you are interested in implementing gamification solutions in your contact center, get in touch with someone from our team today.


What's next? Future proofing your contact center

 

Adaptability is the key to survival for all businesses, and none more so than contact centers.

With consumer habits changing constantly, and the continuing influence of technology on customer-business interactions, looking to the future isn't an option, it's a necessity.

Here we'll do just that. This article will examine a few trends that are already occurring in the contact center industry, and some that you're likely to see in the years to come.

Call Design has solutions to help contact centres navigate the complex world of technology.Technological innovations will play a huge role in the future of contact centers.

1. Increased personalization

The likes of Spotify and Netflix long ago cottoned on to the fact that personalization is the key to customer satisfaction, and this is a trend that's branching out far beyond the entertainment industry.

There are numerous ways that contact centers can personalize the experiences their customers have. These include:

  • Omni-channel approaches: Social media has revolutionized the way people talk to each other, and to businesses. These days, customers expect to be able to reach agents through the medium that's most convenient to them, so establishing which platforms are favored by your consumer base is a great way to show you understand their habits.
  • Empathetic agents: Training your agents to understand a product or service is one thing, ensuring they get this information across in a manner that creates trust with a customer is quite another. Managing the quality of your staff's service should remain an utmost priority for workforce leaders.

2. New technologies

We've already discussed the impact of social media, but there are plenty of other tech-based innovations that have a part to play in the future of contact centers.

Artificial Intelligence: 

Many contact centers are already taking advantages of the benefits offered by artificial intelligence (AI), and its capabilities are only going to increase as the technology becomes more sophisticated.

A few examples of how AI can be used in contact centers include:

  • Helping customers find useful information: In the digital age, consumers will often turn to the internet before picking up the phone. Virtual assistants can be used to direct these users to an FAQ page based on their query, or connect them with the best qualified agent.
  • Taking the place of interactive voice response (IVR) processes: The machine learning capabilities of AI means that it can go beyond presenting a caller with a set of choices, as is seen with IVR. Instead bots can begin to understand statements and therefore provide a better level of customer experience.

Biometric security:

Customers are often asked to give out sensitive information when interacting with contact centers, so it's imperative they trust you. As a result, It's likely that simple identification questions such as full name, age and address will soon become a thing of the past.

Instead, voice biometrics will provide agents with a quick and efficient method of flagging suspicious behavior that could denote fraud. This works through speech recognition, meaning that even the most advanced fraudsters would struggle to gain access to the information they need.

Voice biometrics could have an important role to play in the future of contact centres.Voice biometrics can help contact centers protect their customers from fraudsters.

3. Changing work patterns

It's no secret that sitting at a desk all day isn't great for your body, or your productivity. Well, even that could be set to change.

Computers and headsets are so ingrained into the stereotypical contact center environment that it's difficult to imagine life without them, but as speech-text technology keeps improving these items may be consigned to the history books. Agents will be free to move around the office, creating a more dynamic workplace and fewer manual administrative tasks.

Going a step beyond this, the numbers of remote workers are also likely to increase. Flexible work arrangements featured in the top five factors that make an employer attractive, according to PwC's Millennials At Work survey. Therefore, finding techniques that enable staff to take greater control over both how and where they work is an important consideration for any contact center manager.

Call Design's ME Mobile App can help with this. Accessible from your agents' smart devices, this piece of software allows employees to keep track of their schedules, apply for leave and swap shifts with colleagues to create timetables that work for them and you. They can do all of this while on the go, which also reduces the pressure on your workforce management team.

While the day-to-day takes up the majority of your time as a contact manager, it's important to keep an eye on the horizon. Call Design has a raft of training and solutions that you can leverage to ensure your contact center is prepared for anything the future might throw at you. For more information, get in touch with our team today.