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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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/

https://insights.humancapital.aon.com/

https://www.calldesignNA.com


Call Design - Increasing Agent Satisfaction with Better WFM Tools

Increasing Agent Satisfaction with Better WFM Tools

Aspect Software’s most recent Contact Center agent survey listed agents’ top factors that drive their sense of engagement: Work/life balance came in 3rd, two spots above competitive wage with flexible work schedule not far behind.

 

A skilled scheduling team can do great work with spreadsheets, but when you add a best-fit Workforce Management tool, you open up new possibilities for truly transformational improvements in agent satisfaction. Adding more flexibility to the scheduling process can help agents find that work/life balance they want, but contact centers still need to maintain the right staffing levels to achieve their service goals. The right WFM tool can help you find the right balance.

 

More options in the scheduling process - Agents can feel more engaged when they feel more control over and connection with their work lives. You’ve forecasted the staffing levels to meet your service goals, and you can control the methods you use to fill those staffing levels. The right tools can add new options that might not have been feasible in the past.

  • Preference-Based Scheduling – Allowing agents some input into the scheduling process can be a very effective way to make agents feel more involved and invested. You can reward experienced senior employees with schedules build on their preferences for days worked and start times, or add another layer by adding performance scores to the mix as an incentive for above-average work. You can take a subset of agent and create preference-based schedules as a base, then building rules-based schedules on top to make sure all your requirements are covered.
  • Dynamic Scheduling – For flex agents or work-at-home agents, could you increase your options for schedule flexibility? If your work-at-home agents would like to work some hours in the morning, some in the afternoon or some in the evening, it could be a win-win for them and you. Giving them a schedule that better fits their lives while allowing you to have them working at the busiest times of your day without having to keep them on the clock at slower times when they aren’t needed. With manual scheduling, the logistics are daunting; but the right WFM tool can help you break down your staffing requirements into configurable blocks and then present the available blocks to agents so they can effectively build their own schedules.  
  • Shift Bids – Many contact centers use shift bidding to fill schedules and give agents a method to move from less-favored schedules to ones they like better when those schedules become available. But creating and executing a shift bid can be extremely time-consuming when done manually, limiting the frequency you can offer new bids, which limits the chances your agents have to move to a schedule they like. Having a WFM tool that helps automate this process means that you can offer shift bids more often, not only assisting agents to feel more involved, but also giving you the chance to use fresher schedules that are a more optimal fit for your current business requirements.

 

More options for intra-day changes – Agents want flexibility when it comes to meeting their need for planned time off as well as accommodating things that come up at the last minute.

  • Automated Vacation – Rather than going through a cumbersome process of contacting a manager to find out if vacation time is available, sending emails to the scheduling team, then waiting for those extremely busy people to have a chance to respond, an agent using an automated WFM request process can see available vacation hours and use self-service tools to enter vacation requests that are processed in a fraction of the time. Agents feel more control over their vacation strategy, team supervisors don’t need to stop what they’re doing to deal with vacation requests, and the scheduling team knows that staffing levels are protected against any accidental overpromising of vacation or feelings that favoritism is used in the process.
  • Ease of VTO and VOT – Some agents look for any opportunity for overtime, and others might need to leave early to deal with family emergencies; either way, it’s another opportunity to satisfy your requirements and satisfy agents at the same time. When you’re busier than expected and need additional agents, the right WFM tool can help you identify the agents who want overtime, while still tracking who is working OT and setting any limits to avoid giving too much OT to the same people. Similarly, you can make voluntary time off available to agents who need it, alleviating unexpected overstaffing by allowing those agents to request VTO though an automated process that gets them off the clock sooner and saving the contact center unnecessary staffing costs.  
  • Automated Trades – Opening the shift swap process to larger groups of agents, even agents at different sites means more opportunities for trades for your agents; but it also brings more complexity. An automated tool can keep tight control over the trade process, allowing agents to have more possible trade partners while automatically checking skill compatibility, staffing levels, protecting against overtime, controlling the number of times agents are trading, and other configurable rules that you would otherwise have to check manually. As with automated vacation request, agents get a response faster, and all users can be alerted so they can keep an eye on the trade process.

 

Mobile Access

Many agents would love 24/7 mobile access to their schedules, vacation requests, and trades; the newest generation of agents may even expect that they will be able to interact with their work schedules anytime from their phones. A Mobile WFM app can add another level of agent satisfaction to your scheduling process by making all of your schedule optimization efforts accessible even when agents aren’t online at work. This can be extremely helpful in streamlining and automating your callout process when agents can’t make it to work, as well as allowing you to communicate things like overtime availability to agents who might be willing to start work early if you need them. Shift bidding can be facilitated if you give agents the ability to meet their bid window even if they aren’t at work.

 

Added options for schedule flexibility is just one way that a best-fit Workforce Management tool can make a real difference to your agents’ satisfaction with their jobs, helping you keep your top performers and attract new talent. Contact us or email the Call Design team today to find out how we can help make it happen for you!

 


Why and how to adopt a culture of knowledge sharing

What are your business's key resources? We’re willing to bet that your most precious one is in-house knowledge.

It’s simple really, all your employees need to be experts in their fields, be that engineering, sales or accounting, plus they need to know everything about your business and its products or services. The success of your company literally depends on keeping this knowledge in-house.

One way to facilitate this is to look into your knowledge sharing strategies. So what exactly is knowledge sharing, why do you need it and how can it be implemented?

What is knowledge sharing in a business?

Knowledge sharing can be defined as a designed process where employees exchange both their implicit and explicit knowledge in order to create mutual understanding, resulting in new understanding. This can sound a bit complicated but basically it’s any process that allows employees to share their expertise efficiently with each other in order to generate new ideas and retain important skill sets within a company.

True knowledge sharing consists of:

  • Knowledge donation – i.e. communicating an individual’s intellectual capital to others.
  • Knowledge collection – i.e receiving and computing another person’s intellectual capital.

Knowledge sharing is important for organizations. Knowledge sharing requires both donation and collection of information.

Businesses with an effective knowledge sharing structure often support these processes with carefully selected technology. This means that information can be accurately stored and distributed digitally to other employees in the case of someone leaving the company. It can also make processes like training and onboarding more time efficient, as employees can work through information at their own speed rather than attending classes.

Why should you adopt knowledge sharing?

As the old adage goes, knowledge is power. Without exception, groups are better at achieving goals when everyone involved has all the skills and knowledge required to do so. This means giving them key information about the process, teaching them the required skill set, and communicating effectively within the group so that everyone can perform a useful function.

Here are some further reasons why knowledge sharing is important:

Eases growing pains: Growing a company is always a difficult process, particularly when it comes to deciding who needs to know what. Who will train new staff and what are the clear chains of command? Having a clear knowledge sharing process can help to alleviate these problems at the source. Creating solid infrastructure that guides the onboarding process and ensures that everyone is getting the right information when they need it most.
Prevents knowledge hoarding: Knowledge hoarding is damaging for businesses. It means that when employees leave your company they take all of their expertise with them, leaving their team flailing. This is particularly important for organizations where specific client knowledge is essential for the working relationship. Knowledge sharing means that this expertise can be retained and built upon rather than dependent on certain individuals.
Retains your top talent: Providing people with all the information they need to succeed lets your best and brightest shine and prevents dissatisfaction from chronic communication problems. After all, no one likes being left in the dark, particularly when it makes their jobs ten times harder.

3 ways to create a knowledge sharing culture

Knowledge sharing can be a tricky culture to implement, largely because so much depends on how your specific company currently works. However there are some necessary basics that you can put in place.

1. Consider all the ways that knowledge is shared and encourage these activities

Ideas are exchanged in all sorts of ways depending on the situation and the characters involved. All the varied forms of knowledge sharing should be encouraged to ensure that you are getting the most from everybody. For example:

Face to face meetings and collaboration: Sometimes the best way to get to the core of a situation is to get some one-on-one time and bounce ideas around. It’s also a fantastic way to get the more shy older members of your team to contribute valuable insights. Setting regular time aside to communicate in this setup is often an important grounding for your knowledge sharing plan.
Offsite events or meetings: From company social outings to training events and conferences, changing up the scene is a great way to set collaboration in motion.
Presentations: Presenting ideas to a certain team or even the company at large means that everyone can keep up to date with developments and also take the opportunity to learn about things outside their roles.
Team sharing times: Whether its an hour every week to go through client updates or a quarterly break down, scheduling a regular opportunity to update everyone on progress keeps the team in the loop.
Outings are a good way to share knowledge. Knowledge can be communicated in a variety of settings.

2. Redesign your office to include more sharing space

Don’t underestimate the impact the physical space has on collaboration. There is nothing like planning a meeting only to find there are no rooms available. Building an office environment that encourages and enables easy collaboration makes knowledge sharing much more possible.

There are two effective ways to do this. One is to provide enough meeting rooms so that those who prefer private and quiet communication have space to carry this out. Secondly setting up common spaces so that employees can sit and work together. This allows casual get togethers and collaborative work to take place with ease.

3. Consider a knowledge sharing platform

A lot of knowledge sharing can be supported by new technology and associated platforms. This takes away many of the manual processes involved with storing information and giving staff access to relevant files and folders. Researching and finding a knowledge sharing software solution could help your company to more efficiently manage information and remove the heavy lifting aspects of processes.

If you’re interested in finding out more about knowledge sharing and streamlining your workforce solutions, get in contact with the experts at Call Design today.


The importance of operational planning for your business

 

Think of your business as a ship. You need to make sure everything is running correctly to ensure you stay afloat - however, there's no use sailing if you have no clear idea of where you're headed, or how you're getting there. Your operational plan will be the lighthouse that reminds you which way to go, and highlights any potential dangers that could arise in the near future.

What is an operational plan?

An operational plan details the actions your different teams or departments must carry out to achieve short-term targets and objectives of the company, and is essential in effective workforce management. This plan is updated depending on your needs.

This should comprehensively cover:

  • What targets need to be met in order to achieve short-term goals.
  • The sustainability of any projects undertaken.
  • What the time constraints are.
  • Who the teams are, and what's expected of the individual team members, including personal targets.
  • Whether there's any risk of not meeting goals, and how these risks can be avoided.
  • The financial and time cost involved in meeting the short-term goal.
A man and a woman working in the office.Depending on the size of your business, you may need multiple plans for different departments.

Operational plans tend to be updated fairly frequently, while strategic plans remain largely unchanged.

An operational plan ensures that a benchmark is in place for the meeting of these short-term objectives, and that you can refer to it in case of risks or to confirm that the day-to-day output of the company is on track with your targets. Depending on the size of a contact center, sometimes multiple plans are executed for different departments to ensure everyone is on the same page.

What are the differences between strategic and operational plans?

While an operational plan focuses on short-term goals, a strategic plan embodies a long-term outlook for your contact center, projecting from 12 months to around five years ahead. As a general blanket overview for your entire company, a strategic plan considers what projects or opportunities you'll need to take on to meet your long-term goal, and what changes need to be implemented throughout to support this. Operational plans tend to be updated fairly frequently, while strategic plans remain largely unchanged unless there's a major review.

Why do I need an operational plan for my business?

Having an operational plan is crucial. It's an all-star playbook for your business - reviewing the performance of key staff members through quality management, and recognizing how the overall team can work together to meet targets. Without an operational plan, you're out of the league.

Being able to update and refer to a plan enables comprehensive understanding of goals.

An operational plan ensures you can identify areas that aren't generating as much revenue as they should, or are causing losses, and can help you establish what needs to change. Being able to continually update and refer to a short-term plan enables a comprehensive understanding of what the goals are and provides a guide for every step of the process. As a result, your agents should be well aware of what's expected of them and with the right tools self-manage meeting these targets.

Operational plans bring accountability into daily tasks. By having a comprehensive plan of expectations for the performance of your business, if discrepancies occur, you should be able to analyze your plan and identify where these have taken place and how they can be resolved. These plans are a great way of managing other performance indicators too: shrinkage, the number of calls or average handling time, or which of your employees are achieving higher than their targets.

A group of workers plan at a table.Being able to refer to a short-term plan enables comprehensive understanding of goals and a guide for every step of the process.

How can I create a plan?

The planning process is dynamic - you need to be able to adapt your plan to a range of changes, which can be a daunting task. If you're new to operational planning, it's best to seek professional consultation or learning tools to help you step into the critical thinking role of an operational planner. There are many resources and guides from which you can draw your operational plan. Attending a workforce management course can open new doors for your management techniques, allow you to explore new avenues for staff optimization and can help you derive the right targets to implement into your planning.

Call Design's Workforce Management Essentials course is designed to educate workforce management admins and analysts with some of the best industry knowledge and practices. This course breaks down essential workforce management operations to ensure all facets of your business are running as they should be. Examining team efficiency, staff placements and forecasting in the short- and long-term are all theories explored in the course. This way, workforce planners can optimize their staff arrangements to prevent mistakes and make sure they are meeting business requirements.

Call Design has been delivering tailored workforce optimization solutions to contact centers for almost 20 years, and pride ourselves on our service and industry expertise. To find out how our training courses can help you implement effective operational planning into your organization, get in touch with our team.


Business growth and high staff turnover: what to do about it

 

Losing trusted personnel is always a concern, especially when you're trying to grow your business.

A high staff turnover rate can disrupt processes, affect staff morale, and drain time, money and resources away from a company's overarching goals.

Here, we'll take a look at why you should care about resignations, the reasons they happen, and what you can do to prevent them, keeping in mind at all times the objective of business growth.

Call Design has training and solutions that will aid your staff retention rates. High staff turnover can seriously limit business growth.

How does staff turnover affect business growth?

If you type "How do I grow my business" into Google, you'll likely return a lot of results about what makes a 'foolproof' strategy, how to identify new opportunities, and different ways to get your brand out there. While there's no doubt that all of these things, and more, are important ingredients for business growth, one subject area that's conspicuous by its absence is looking after your staff.

In 2017, the average cost of rehiring mid-range positions was 20% of the position's salary.

The impacts of staff leaving your company are often felt much more widely than you may first think. When it comes to hindering business growth frequent departures can affect the following:

  • Costs: As anyone with any experience of hiring and training a new employee will know, it doesn't come cheaply. One 2017 study found that on average, the costs to replace an employee are 20% of that position's salary.  In an organization with a high turnover, these costs can quickly start to add up and affect growth.
  • Productivity: With a depleted team, you can't expect to get the same amount of work done. This will, with time, start to seriously impact the productivity of your business, which will, in turn, be detrimental to your ability to grow.
  • Staff morale: The byproducts of this increased workload for those left behind can include higher levels of stress, and an overall drop in morale. This could create a vicious cycle of resignations if these new stresses become too great.
  • Leadership prioritizing: Instead of focusing on growth strategies, lengthy recruitment and hiring cycles will serve as unnecessary distractions for you and the rest of the leadership team.
Good engagement with staff can help prevent resignations.Leaders need to recognize the importance of staff retention if their company is to grow successfully.

What are the causes of high staff turnover?

A 2017 report from the Institute of Managers and Leaders showed that 10 percent of employees leave their positions voluntarily because they aren't offered sufficient opportunities to develop themselves professionally.

The top three reasons for resigning in this survey were as follows:

  • Seeking new challenges - 79 percent.
  • Limited career advancement/progression - 58 percent.
  • Insufficient remuneration - 45 percent.

What you can do to prevent high staff turnover?

What should strike you first as you digest this information is that all of the above are largely within your control. In this section, we'll discuss some of the specific steps you can take to reduce the rates of attrition in your business.

1. Regularly engage with your staff:

As a people manager you're setting yourself up for failure if you don't frequently take the time to talk to your staff. This is especially true in growing businesses where changes in strategy or increasing demands mean that personnel are consistently having to adapt to new ways of working. Having your finger on the pulse of your employees gives you a better chance of catching problems when they're in their infancy, rather than letting them develop.

2. Conduct exit interviews:

Whether it's the latest in a spate of resignations, or the first departure in a while, it's vital to engage the outgoing staff member in an exit interview. These forums offer the perfect opportunity to discover exactly why this person no longer wants to work in your organization. Free from the pressure of talking to a professional superior, you'll likely find former employees are a lot more honest in this setting, providing you with valuable insights as to how you can improve staff experience for those who remain, therefore reducing future turnover.

3.  Provide professional upskilling programs

The millennial workforce is only going to grow in the coming years, so knowing how to appeal to this group is particularly important for managers who want to hold onto their staff. A staggering 87 percent of millennials rank professional or career growth and development opportunities as important to them in a role, according to a Gallup report - so establishing training programs should be high on your list of priorities.

The other benefit of this solution is that better-trained staff have more to offer your business. A great place to learn how to instigate such initiatives is with Call Design's Managers Essentials Course. Designed for team leaders and managers, this program will tell you how to set measurable goals with your employees, identify roadblocks that could prevent them achieving their objectives, and provide actionable feedback.

The existence of these initiatives not only makes your company a more attractive place to work, but also lays the foundations for a more productive and engaged workforce.

Call Design's Manager Essentials course can help managers learn how to provide useful feedback to staff.Training programs are a great way of engaging staff with your business, and improving productivity.

4. Implement incentive programs

Another crucial way of increasing loyalty is to recognize and reward strong performances.

As we saw above, 45 percent of voluntary resignations come as a result of insufficient remuneration. While simply upping the salaries of all staff is financially unviable in the majority of businesses, an important step is to provide employees with a progression roadmap. By showing workers what they need to do in order to be considered for promotion you make it clear that increased wages are a tangible reality.

However, there are plenty of incentives you can offer instead of/alongside augmented earnings:

  • Flexible work arrangements: Millennial employees are more likely to be loyal to companies that offer flexible work arrangements, according to the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey. Software such as Call Design's workforce management solution ME offers staff the opportunity to take ownership of their personal schedules on-the-go.
  • Gift cards: Gift cards are a great incentive as you can personalize them to show an awareness of an employee's interests or hobbies.
  • EventsCompany funded events or excursions are perfect for showing staff that their efforts are appreciated, and to bring the team closer together.

These are just a few ideas on how you can help to prevent staff from leaving your business. For more solutions, and information on our training courses, get in touch with Call Design today.


How to measure good customer service

 

Customer service is a very measurable activity. There is an almost endless supply of data that can be measured to assess overall performance and quality: call volumes, chat times, resolution rates for a start.

But while it may be tempting to simply measure everything, sifting through mountains of data is unlikely to be an effective way to determine how good your service really is and highlight areas for improvement. So what exactly should you be measuring to get the most enlightened view of your customer service performance?

Let's have a look at how you can choose the best metrics for your business and some examples of the metrics for success.

Choose your own metrics

Quantifying your customer service efforts is a fantastic way to maximize your potential to improve the way that you communicate with customers and ultimately your brand image. However, not all metrics will be useful for everyone.

Don't chose generic metrics.Metrics should be chosen to be specifically useful to your business.

Every company is different and while there are some general rules, simply copying another business's metrics is unlikely to give you the best results. Instead you should carefully consider which metrics will be most useful for your own goals and deliver useful insights into your own processes.

When deciding which metrics you should be measuring within your business first consider:

  • Why are you reporting? It seems like a basic question but it really gets to the heart of your ultimate goals. Understanding 'why' will give you a solid foundation to pave the way for later detailed decisions.
  • What are the desired outcomes? Everything you're measuring should have a direct link back to your overall objectives. If a number isn't helping you to achieve the insights and actions you want to see, it is effectively useless. Be ruthless with your metrics - fluff numbers waste everyone's time.
  • Who will be looking at these reports? Understanding who your audience is can help you to better leverage your insights. If it's a C-level who has little on the ground experience, broader data points will be more useful than specifics. However, someone with a deeper insight into customer service may benefit from an overview of the nitty gritty. Also consider how often these reports will be communicated and in what format.

An important point to remember is that there is no single magic metric that will be able to show you the whole picture. Your metrics are most useful in relation to each other. Choose them based on the combined insights they give you, rather than their perceived unique value.

What makes a good metric?

There are several key attributes that good metrics have. They should be:

  • Actionable: It is not only pointless but frustrating for your team to be measured on things that they can't impact. Make sure your metrics reflect your customer service performance and highlight avenues for improvement.
  • Authentic: All of your metrics must tell the true story. Fabricating results to create a more pleasing picture is not useful for improvement.
  • Meaningful: We have mentioned this before, but it's worth doing so again. Everything you are measuring should have a direct link back to your overall objectives. If it's not then it's a poor metric for your business.
  • Consistent: Trends over quarters or even years often give a more useful insight into your processes than specific daily or even hourly data. Metrics that can be measured consistently over prolonged periods will be much more use to you in the long run.
  • Contextualized: Raw data presented in isolation isn't desperately useful when looking at a complex process like customer service. Make sure that your metrics can be contextualized at every stage to give them more value.
Customer service metrics should give you the best insight into your processes. The best customer service metrics give you a clear insight into how to improve further.

Metrics you can measure for success - some suggestions

For those actively looking for some tried and tested metric ideas to monitor your customer services, here are some suggestions:

1. Resolution rate

This metric represents the overall percentage of issues that your customer service staff resolve. A higher percentage indicates efficiency and expertise from your staff and lower percentages could indicate a number of issues preventing a resolution.

When tackling this result you should consider whether you need to hire more staff, or whether there are systemic issues that take up time or hold up processes.

2. Reply time

This simply refers to the time taken for customers' queries or complaints to be followed up. This metric is often a great indicator of customer satisfaction and your businesses' success at effectively communicating with customers.

If it's taking a long time to reply, you may wish to consider whether you need to increase your number of staff or whether there are broader issues that are preventing reps getting back in touch with people sooner.

3. Customer satisfaction

This can be a complex metric to measure as it has some subjective aspects. It also relies on a lot of external factors such as how the measurement is designed and even how people are feeling on the day of the survey.

This metric is most often measured by a quick, simple survey after a significant interaction with a member of your team. The results of these surveys are most useful when aggregated over a substantial period of time.

However, it is important to think seriously about how you can most effectively measure customer service in relation to your own specific business structure and customer base. For example a younger, digitally-savvy customer base may prefer an online survey, while an older demographic may like to give their feedback on the phone. Also take time to think about your questions and how ranked levels could be interpreted by the audience. For example,four out of five may be very good for some people and only OK for others.

With this measurement, you should consider whether your staff may need further training to improve their customer facing skills. It may also indicate more systemic issues with your user interface.

To learn more about improving and measuring the quality of your customer service get in touch with Call Design today. Our training and solutions in areas such as performance and quality management can help you identify measurable weaknesses in your delivery, and work to improve them.