Good customer service starts and ends with people
Colin Hay at Puzzel shares his 7 top tips on how to combine technology and people to improve contact centre performance.
Every contact centre’s goal is to build customer relationships and improve the corporate image. However, this is difficult to achieve if the operation is full of unmotivated and dissatisfied people.
According to statistics, Britain might well lead the field when it comes to contact centres with over 50% of European call centres, but staff turnover is a major issue, costing approximately £2,244 for every person employed in the industry. This represents a billion pounds worth of brand equity lost each year in the battle to win the hearts and minds of customers.[i]
On the other hand, engaged and satisfied employees are four times more likely to stay than their unhappy colleagues and are 3.3 times more likely to feel empowered to resolve customer issues.[ii] It’s clear that there is a strong link between good agent morale, cost efficiency and productivity but how do you achieve the right balance?
The aim is to create a great place to work with robust technology, motivated staff and to watch performance grow.
7 Ways to Motivate Staff and Improve Contact Centre Performance
1. Get it right from the start – the importance of onboarding – today’s multichannel contact centres are complex beasts and if new joiners are not properly guided and nurtured from the beginning, they can quickly become overwhelmed by the demands of their role. Ensure that technology is easy to use and makes life easier even for the newest recruits.
2. Never underestimate the power of knowledge – a quick and easy to access knowledge base solution makes a powerful tool by giving agents access to accurate information they can use to answer customer enquiries confidently.
3. Use bots to remove mundane work – then blend with carefully handled human interactions. Customers receive the outcomes they want while agents are constantly challenged and motivated because they are free to concentrate on more difficult tasks or emotive customer enquiries that require a sensitive approach.
4. The value of emotional intelligence – good customer service is not just about dealing with enquiries quickly but demonstrating that agents understand the customer’s emotional state when responding to them. Agents who display ‘emotional intelligence’ are better at problem solving and keeping customers happy which in turn, spurs them on to higher levels of productivity.
5. Add Workforce Management (WFM) to the mix – using a robust cloud-based WFM is essential to taking strategic control of the contact centre from an operational and HR point of view. Balancing the demands of customers with well scheduled agents is a powerful morale booster. Enabling a work-life balance while creating time for training, group huddles and keeping boredom at bay keeps staff motivated and productive.
6. Integration all the way – linking the contact centre solution with your customer relationship management (CRM) and other enterprise applications to give agents a single view of customers is sure-fire way to productivity. Agents have the confidence to focus on interactions aiming for a first-time fix and customers don’t have to repeat themselves, often a major source of irritation.
7. Last but not least – agent empowerment – create a culture that encourages agents to go out of their way to delight customers while giving them the right tools to guarantee successful customer outcomes. Flexible working, taking the time to listen to your agents, building a supportive, collaborative learning environment and bringing a fun element into training are just some ways to bring out the best in your agents and boost contact centre performance.
Well-trained human agents blended with AI innovation and flexible cloud-based technology combine to create the perfect customer experience but it all starts and ends with people.
Keep it simple. Create a great place to work and watch performance improve.
Colin Hay is Vice President Sales UK at Puzzel.
[ii] McKinsey on Customer Care: Excellence in the Digital Age, Boosting Contact-Center Performance through employee engagement – January 2018: https://tinyurl.com/y88nao4e