How can you better engage your team?


We hear about employee engagement all the time but do you know why it matters? Sometimes it can feel like actively engaging your team is a nice-to-do not a must-have. However, research shows employee engagement is a core driver of key business outcomes. Just take a look at some of the stats:

  • Gallup research found that companies with top quartile levels of employee engagement performed 21 percent better in terms of profitability compared to companies in the bottom quartile.
  • Organizations with engaged team members also had 17 percent higher productivity levels, 10 percent higher customer ratings and lower employee turnover rates than companies with low levels of employee engagement.
  • Another study, conducted by Aon Hewitt, found that only 63 percent of employees consider themselves highly or moderately engaged.

This has massively important implications for contact centers. When your employees aren't engaged in their work, it directly affects your bottom line. So, how can managers ensure their agents are engaged with their work? Here are just a few places to start.

1. Talk to your team about engagement

If you're going to invest in engagement, start by engaging your team in the process. Sit down and chat with them about what would actually engage them. What things are currently working? Which aren't? Your agents are a key source of information here - they know better than anyone else what would engage their peers.

2. Show your team some recognition

The Aon Hewitt study found that rewards and recognition have the most potential to improve engagement. Take a close look at what systems or processes you have in place for recognising your team and think about how you could improve them.

When your employees aren't engaged in their work, it directly affects your bottom line.

3. Develop them professionally

One study by PwC found that modern workers are more motivated by learning and development opportunities than financial rewards. Create pathways for your agents, as doing this will help them understand that you value you them as a team member and see a future for them in your organisation.

Interested in learning more?

Employee engagement is just one piece of the management puzzle. To effectively lead a contact center you need to ensure you're aligning staff to core KPIs, providing actionable feedback, implementing effective recognition structures - the list goes on.

That's why Call Design has created a one-day Manager Essentials course as a part of our Workforce Optimization Program. In this session, you'll learn a variety of better leadership techniques, through a series of actionable training modules.

To learn more about the course and what you can learn, head over to our training courses page!

How can you better promote accountability in your contact center?


When you take ownership and accountability for your actions, you're much more likely to produce higher quality service.

For managers, inspiring this level of accountability within your contact center is a key step on the path to success. Employees that feel a level of ownership over meeting company goals or achieving critical objectives are more invested and engaged in their work.

It's no surprise, then, that over 90 percent of leaders rank improving the ability to hold others accountable in an effective way as one of the top development needs of their organization, according to a report by Partners in Leadership. Despite this desire, 82 percent of respondents readily admit that they have limited to no ability to actually hold their reports accountable.

So how can you better promote accountability in your contact center?

You can't expect your agents to be accountable if they don't know what you need them to be accountable for.

1. Set clear expectations

You can't expect your agents to be accountable if they don't know what you need them to be accountable for. Taking ownership of tasks starts with setting clear expectations. Let each of your employees know what your desired outcomes are, what metrics they need to work within to reach these goals, as well as the consequences of not achieving them. Setting these expectations ensures you and your team are on the same page about what is required.

2. Give clear feedback

Honest and ongoing feedback is critical to accountability. Your agents need to know if they are meeting expectations and if they're not, feedback sessions are the perfect opportunity to realign their paths. With clear measurements and pre-determined goals, these conversations can be fact-based and simple. These meetings are also a great opportunity for your employees to give you feedback on processes to help keep you accountable as well.

3. Build clear consequences

If you have made an effort at all of the above steps, there is no reason your agents shouldn't be holding themselves accountable. At this point, you have three options: repeat, release or reward. If they are meeting outcomes and hitting metrics, reward them for their successes. If you think you haven't explained yourself well, repeat the above process. If they're continuously missing goals, it is most likely time to release them from the role. Make it clear that these are the consequences of a lack of ownership for their roles - as this failure ultimately affects the quality of your organization's services.

Interested in learning more? 

Accountability is just one aspect of a larger theme: Quality Management. When you control the quality of the service you're delivering to your customers, you can optimize the productivity of your agents, increase customer satisfaction rates, and maximize your bottom line.

Call Design offers a two-day course that covers the essentials of quality management, including taking ownership for goals and tasks. To learn more about how you can get started, download our Quality Management Essentials brochure or reach out to the Call Design team today!

How to manage millennial contact centre agents' performance


By 2020, millennials will make up 50 percent of the workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But do you have a strategy in place for their unique performance needs?

You can't ignore millennial contact center agents, nor can you treat them differently based on whatever stereotypes you may have heard. In this article, we offer three techniques on how to properly motivate and manage millennials in the contact center environment.

Technique 1: Use the best technology you can

Millennials consider "technology use" the defining characteristic of their generation, according to a Nielsen study. Having grown up in the years of major technological advancement, your younger staff members will have not only an affinity for better systems, but a preference for them.

  • Key takeaway: If you're managing a large number of millennial staff, consider updating your systems to better optimize their contact center lives. Try linking their daily workforce management platform with a mobile app like Call Design's ME Mobile so they can check in on the go, on whatever device suits them.

Technique 2: Invest time in personalized coaching and development

Millennials want to be upskilled - to develop their careers, advance in the ranks and earn a better wage. A report on millennials by PwC found that "opportunities for career progression" was the top-most attractive trait of a potential employer, followed by competitive pay and training/development programs.

  • Key takeaway: Performance management can be a highly effective tool for motivating and managing millennial employees. Set your Gen Y agents clear goals and offer them coaching to help reach these, then evaluate their performance so they can upskill, achieve promotions and earn more money.

Technique 3: Offer two-way, clear communication

Numerous call center leaders agree that millennials prefer it when communication channels are open, encouraged, and work both ways. Backing this up, Deloitte's 2017 millennial survey also found that senior millennials rank "communication" as a more important skill than analytics, sales, business knowledge and even academic skills.

  • Key takeaway: You need to talk to your Gen Y agents. If you think other managers aren't effective at this, run communications training programs, and release communication policies that help staff young and old understand when and how they can talk to each other. Note, though, that PwC also found millennials prefer electronic comms over face-to-face, so ensure your new policy allows for a variety of mediums.

With these three techniques, you'll make great strides to better engaging your millennial staff. If you'd like assistance with improving your contact center's technology or implementing performance management plans, Call Design can help. Get in touch with us today to talk to one of our expert consultants.

How to manage sudden absence in an Australian contact centre

Absenteeism costs Australian businesses approximately $578 per employee, per day of absence. This statistic comes from the Australian Industry Group's Absenteeism & Presenteeism Survey Report 2015, which highlights the fact that you absolutely cannot ignore absenteeism within your contact centre business.

However, Australian office leaders aren't stuck dealing with the costs if they know how to prevent absenteeism, and have an action plan to minimise it. So how is a contact centre manager supposed to prevent and manage sudden staff absences?

Make sure staff schedules are updated with sick or annual leave as soon as you become aware of it.

1. Update schedules immediately

Make sure staff schedules are updated with sick or annual leave as soon as you become aware of it. This will help provide everyone with a better insight into the impact that the absence is likely to have, enabling you to optimise breaks, meetings or other activities during the day so that your customers' experience is impacted as little as possible.

If the absence isn't entered until later, other activities might be approved that shouldn't be.

2. Try to understand and empathise

If sudden absence is due to a negative event like illness or bereavement, HR firm KGA recommends that office managers begin all conversations about the required time off with "I'm sorry you're going through this." Managers should then offer their assistance or, at the very least, their ear.

While this won't necessarily help on the day of a sudden absence, it could prevent absenteeism in the future. Forbes explains that a lack of staff motivation can cause absenteeism. And motivation is linked to job satisfaction, which in turn is linked to empathy. The Center for Creative Leadership found in a study that there's a positive relationship between manager empathy and staff job satisfaction levels.

3. Deploy smarter, faster tools

Intelligent workforce management solutions can make a huge difference when office managers are trying to cope with sudden staff losses. Call Center Helper - the worlds's leading contact centre magazine - says that a major cause of agent call avoidance, which often leads to staff absence and attrition, is getting routed calls at the wrong times. For example, a 30-minute troubleshooting call five minutes before the end of a shift.

However, integrating an effective scheduling system like Aspect WFM into your centre will give you greater oversight on staff workloads so you can better manage long-duration call types in the future. Additionally, schedules that can be viewed and modified in real time can help you balance the workload between agents should someone suddenly become absent.

Australian call centre leaders can prevent absenteeism with better scheduling.

4. Offer easier shift-swapping

Call Center Helper also recommends allowing shift swapping between agents to reduce absenteeism. Managers might feel like they need to intricately control shifts and schedules, but in actual fact, most agents will be more than willing - and capable - of swapping between themselves in order to meet the needs of both their personal and work lives.

This is another area where contact centre management software is important. A tool like Aspect WFM or the Call Design ME app allows agents to quickly and easily request leave or swap shifts, without the need for the often slow process of manager intervention

5. Education

Ensure you educate staff on the "The Power of One". The purpose of these sessions is to help staff understand why their attendance and adherence is important.

If you're interested in optimising your workforce with better software or training, contact Call Design today to see what our consultants can do for you.