Today’s contact centers are complex, with many stakeholders, many opinions, and many objectives. Read on for key insights from an interactive session conducted at the 15th Anniversary Customer Contact West: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange, where participants discussed tools and communications strategies for improving the enterprise contact center.

Moderated by Kandy White

KEY TAKE-AWAYS

  • Learn how to deploy a data driven decision model to remove bias from disparate organizational biases
  • Blueprint of strategies for leveraging data to drive change to overcome transformational adversity
  • Tips for gaining buy in more creative way – program branding

INTRODUCTION

Moderator Kandy White shared her varied contact center experience: she has worked at a Verizon contact center that moved to a mega center model with 24/7 support; she has worked for ADP which was very regionalized and geared to small business owners; and she currently works at Altisource, where there is one small center that serves everyone. Kandy asked the group a series of discussion questions, starting with this one:

Do you think of the enterprise contact center as internal? Or as unified, serving all of the enterprise?

  • Most participants said unified
  • Customer-facing was emphasized
  • One participant said external rather than internal facing

When you tried something that didn’t work, how did you improve it?

  • By coaching our customer sales reps, using peer coaching
  • Realized it was the right concept, but needed a different flavor
  • Technology was a determinant
  • Managers had a weekly escalation channel, they talked to teams
  • Recognized that the agents wanted to learn from each other, they were more open and this made escalations go down

TAKE-AWAY

Ideas for keeping the C-suite connected to the front line

One participant shared that T- Mobile’s tight pods environment was successful because of an atmosphere of direct, close work with the customers and the teams

Ideas for keeping employees motivated and dealing with employee complaints

  • Use the Career Ladder Program for employee promotions–it goes both ways, up anddown
  • Remember to show employees appreciation and bring the C suite on the floor to help bring up the energy
  • Try gamification; it helps employees to be more engaged and can also aid in the on-boarding and training process
  • Coach employees, and also employ the right technology
  • Use weekly, consistent reviews that encourage employees to discuss and fix their mistakes, and be okay with talking about it

KEY INSIGHTS

Comments on the contact center

  • It takes approximately six weeks to get an employee on the phone
  • It takes a full six months for employees to be exposed to everything – including those
  • Issues that rarely come up
  • People don’t always follow the IVR

IMPLEMENTATION GUIDELINES

Make the training more fun

  • Use role play scenarios
  • Show videos
  • Several organizations used gamification in training and found it was well received. Was viewed as non-threatening, less boring, etc.

BEST PRACTICE

How to improve the call center

  • Lots of coaching needed, address a particular customer set
  • Some people are great at chat versus phone, and usually the same person is not good at both
  • Culture is critical
  • Try a compliance-oriented approach; people drive the metrics more than the technology
  • Publish employee’s career route; one company is trying that with six different levels
  • Including guaranteed promotions at a certain level
  • If you stop performing, you start to drop in the ladder, including salary (eek!)

Show appreciation

  • At one company, since no opportunity for a raise, the manager tried an appreciation approach
  • Consider a Customer Service week that included raffles, food
  • Another call center focused on coaching, not metrics
  • Work towards getting call center employees to be solution oriented, as opposed to just complaining
  • Allow venting as long as it’s not excessive

What is success rate to become a subject matter expert and maintain it?

  • One organization required two training sessions a month. Then learnings must be shared
  • Assessments at SME level, matters at a certain level, not initially
  • Build their competency, proficiency comes over time, minimum of six months

FINAL THOUGHT

How do you keep your C-Suite connected to the front line?

  • Bring them in; when the C-Suite is in the center, it actually builds the energy there
  • Recommend having monthly listening calls, listening to a few calls, mapping out calls
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