5 Steps to Improve your Contact Center Results

Oct 29, 2012 7:35 PM  By

Even as the contact center continually evolves to handle new channels and greater complexity, improving the efficiency and productivity of your customer experience agents doesn’t have to be complicated.

Follow US!

@MCMerchant
Multichannel Merchant
Multichannel Merchant
Multichannel Merchant
O+F Operations and Fulfillment

To the contrary, one of the best things you can do right now is to keep it simple, and implementing just a handful of the following key best practices will help to keep you working smarter, not harder.

Following these five basic steps can yield impactful results without undergoing a major overhaul of your operations.

Start with culture
Everything you do will be undermined if you don’t have the right culture, so it’s important to unite your team around a common mission—one that will give meaning to the daily activities of your staff.

If your goal is to improve customer loyalty, for example, make sure that employees get this message from day one. At every touch point—recruiting, hiring, onboarding, your message should be the same so that accomplishing your goals will be unencumbered by mixed messages.

The culture of your organization is the foundation for customer service, and the culture customers will experience when interacting with that organization. In order to create a consistent and quality experience, every employee at every level should understand and be on board with the corporate philosophy.

Define what success looks like
This means determining what success actually means this week, this month, and this year. In the contact center, the temptation is to work all day long without thinking about and recognizing milestones, accomplishments, and progress. So it’s important to define up front what your team is working toward and what it will feel like when you get there.

This is critical at the agent level. Providing goals and recognizing accomplishments helps keep agents on task and encourages them to be proud of their work, boosting morale which can ultimately increase productivity in the contact center.

Set priorities
There are so many different metrics by which contact centers measure themselves. Across these metrics, what are the three most important key performance indicators (KPIs) for which your organization is held accountable? Identifying these frees you to focus on where you need to go rather than expending a lot of time and effort that won’t yield the results you need. Keep it simple and manageable.

Determine which of these metrics is most important to the customer and then clearly define them to agents. Clear and descriptive priorities help focus the contact center and provide agents with reminders on which areas to improve upon.

Know your team and manage accordingly
Just like a good coach, you should understand that each team member brings unique strengths to the organization. One agent may be extremely customer service-oriented but isn’t very technical and vice versa.

Based on respective strengths and weaknesses, you can pair these agents together to mentor one another and improve each other’s skill. This crucial peer engagement gives agents ownership and passion and empowers you to lead so that you don’t try to tackle every task on your own.

Further, agents are able to hone in on their areas of strength if you play your team strategically. While it’s important for agents to have a wide skill set, it’s also important to allow them to gain specific experience that enables them to provide a specialize skill to the contact.

Allow agents to build their profiles to reflect their areas of expertise and demonstrate specific value to the contact center, while also creating a clear picture of team capabilities for managers.

Celebrate the unexpected
Sometimes you have specific long-term goals and metrics to commemorate, and that’s a good practice, but also one that requires time and expense.

To simplify, try also celebrating accomplishments that are unexpected and happening anyway, and are behaviors you’d like to encourage—for example, that call spike that your team handled successfully with an optimal customer experience.

Another great example is to recognize an individual call where an agent turned a tough customer around through exemplary service—it could be a gift card, a snack, or anything that shows you care about the level of performance of your agents.

Look for small wins and celebrate the great work that is happening daily, and you’ll be able to simplify your life, bring positivity into the workplace and improve your contact center performance.

Mariann McDonagh is Chief Marketing Officer for inContact.