Published: April 22, 2014 | Comments
Regardless of the type of business, you are always looking for ways to drive performance. It’s like trying to find the shiny object to keep everyone’s attention, while behind the scenes making a positive impact on your business. How do you engage your workforce? According to Gartner (Use Workforce Optimization to Improve Customer Experience With More-Engaged Customer Service Agents , 2013), “Many contact centers adopt a stick rather than carrot approach to optimizing agent performance. Empowering agents to make their own decisions and to self-improve requires a step outside of the existing comfort zone for many contact center managers.”
Focus Services, a BPO operating eight call centers throughout the world, struggled immensely with engaging their agents. This lack of engagement existed in each and every call center they operated and posed the same negative impacts to both their top and bottom lines: lack of agent efficiency, low sales performance and high attrition rates. Once quantifying the impact to their operation, they set out to address the issue head on.
The first objective for Focus was to determine the root cause of their constant struggle to engage their agents. After months of agent surveys and exit interviews completed, three main issues leading to a lack of engagement continually arose:
- Agents felt like they had no insight into any information regarding performance (felt like they were working in a “black box”)
- Hostile relationships between agent and team leads (them versus us mentality)
- A massive gap in the agent’s perception of what went into determining positive performance (KPIs) and more importantly, the gap in the agent’s perception of how they were performing versus their actual performance.
Once Focus Services was able to identify the root cause of their agents being disengaged, they quickly set out to find a solution to their problem. They determined that a performance measurement system could provide visibility for both agents and team leads. The Gartner report also states, “Providing centralized and holistic access to all data associated with the agent's role through a personalized dashboard is a key starting point.”
Focus Services selected inContact inView, a performance dashboard solution that aggregates KPIs in real-time at with consolidated views at the site, project, team, and agent levels. Implementing a system like inView gave Focus the ability to solve the “black box” feeling by giving frontline agents the same real-time visibility into their performance that their supervisors were viewing to assess their performance. It also provided a new structure to clearly communicate what KPIs were important for each specific agent. Finally, the new system gave Focus the ability to create incentives around performance and gamify the experience, ultimately allowing the company to alter and drive positive behavior while recognizing and rewarding agent performance.
Empowering agents with the necessary insight and information to manage themselves and their “small businesses” completely transformed the relationship between agent and team lead. Former tension and stress resolved into collaborative relationships, yielding a much healthier call floor environment and ultimately better performing agents.
Now with better tools to measure and engage agents, the results were astounding. Since implementing inView, Focus has successfully reduced their attrition rates by 36% annually, delivering a direct 35% reduction to their bottom line in trainings costs alone. In addition to substantially reducing turnover, Focus has also enjoyed positive results from engaged agents staying with the company longer. Greater retention and greater engagement led to an annual improvement in company-wide AHT (Average Handle Time) of 80% while at the same time improving sales by an impressive 16%.
Agent level engagement is a consistent problem in today’s contact centers. What data matters? What should agents be looking at? How often do I coach? A real-time performance dashboard gives agents the ability to monitor their own performance and to independently improve so that they feel empowered and motivated to achieve their goals.
Source: Gartner, Use Workforce Optimization to Improve Customer Experience With More-Engaged Customer Service Agents, Jim Davies, 23 August 2013.