Contact centers can have very productive and unproductive work environments. Customer Satisfaction Scores, Net Promoter Scores, and Customer Effort Scores are all good measures to evaluate the success of a contact center, but when it comes to productivity and maintaining employee morale, many contact centers struggle with finding the right balance.
When it comes to productivity in the workplace, we know that employees who are in the right place at the right time are far more likely to have an impact on the organization than individuals who aren't. Emphasizing how just one individual can make a difference is when we can boost productivity without harming employee morale.
Leaders have long been discussing the "power of one" concept both inside and outside the BPO industry. Author and consultant Brad Cleveland breaks down the figures to show how adding just one agent to a team can significantly reduce wait time and frustration for customers. Cleveland says, "agents who are helping manage the workload positively affect service level far more than they may realize."
For the "power of one" to be a part of the organization's culture, agents need to understand their presence can make a significant difference for the organization. Whether it's their physical presence to reduce queue wait times or their emotional presence to empathize and connect with customers when problem-solving - it should be emphasized that his or her actions have a direct impact on the contact center's success and customer satisfaction.
Employees who have the "power of one" mindset will be more likely to follow their schedules, take ownership of tasks and be proactive about growth and development. When we empower agents, they feel more confident in their decision-making capabilities and are better able to make a difference for the customer. Fostering this type of mentality is also known to reduce employee turnover, which is a challenge many contact centers face.
If we leverage the "power of one," it can go beyond reducing customer wait time and tackling queues more efficiently - it's the difference between burning out promising talent and motivating talent to become loyal and driven employees.
It's up to us as leaders in the BPO industry to express the importance of the "power of one" onto agents, so it's not just a concept, but a core value our agents live by. How do we do this? It starts with the hiring process. Hiring managers need to look for candidates who have a passion for creating an impact in the overall community, which means there is a better chance the agents also apply this mentality to the workplace. Look for people who volunteer, are involved in local politics or take other steps to make the environment around them a better place.
Once hiring managers have selected a candidate, supervisors should begin stressing the "power of one" to agents starting from the first day. Training should encourage critical thinking and problem-solving activities to demonstrate to employees they are not just a cog in the machine. Supervisors need to spend one-on-one time with agents to discuss their personal development and how it's being measured and cultivated. Giving out awards and bonuses is another effective way to instill the importance of an individual agent's presence and performance.
Managers and supervisors should also take the lead in demonstrating personal responsibility. Speak up when an initiative or plan could have been executed better. Ask employees what they would have done differently. Encourage communication, brainstorming, and innovation. Beyond just empowering employees, use it as an opportunity to groom a new group of leaders in your company.
Neal Topf co-launched Callzilla in 2005. Since then, he's led Callzilla to become one of the world's top-ranked outsourced contact centers, earning over a dozen industry awards for top quality and performance in outsourced customer care, business process outsourcing, and customer acquisition via phone, email, live chat, automation, and social media. He has been named one of the 2017 Top 50 Thought Leaders (@nealtopf), by the International Customer Management Institute, and regularly presents at industry conference like SOCAP. One of his proudest accomplishments is Callzilla winning the prestigious ICMI 2017 Best Outsourced Service Provider award.
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