Published: December 21, 2020 | Comments
Best ICMI Articles of 2020 - #8
You’re sitting at your desk reviewing your contact center statistics. Some numbers are good, and you smile. A few numbers are not so good, but you already have ideas on how to improve them. Then other numbers cause you to frown slightly, sigh, and rub your forehead.
High staff turnover, poor schedule adherence, excuses for low performance, lackadaisical attitude, frequent complaints.
In Nigeria, where I live and work, the minimum educational requirement for employment in a contact center is college education, so you will find college graduates from many different fields of study working there. A difficulty arises when a Microbiology graduate finds himself working in a contact center and tries to envision a career in the contact center or customer service fields. Such employees tend to see the job as temporary, unfulfilling, and pointless to their careers or professional aspirations.
The way in which a person views or values his job is directly related to the way in which the person will carry out the responsibilities of that job. If a person does not have a sense of ownership or does not feel connected to his job, it will only naturally translate into lower productivity and effectiveness. In fact, Gallup research shows that disengaged employees can drag on productivity and profitability.
The easiest solution is to simply remove such people from the team, but staff turnover has a negative effect on our bottom line, as well. The challenge, then, is how to encourage contact center agents to start seeing the career and professional benefits of their position, and how to build a sense of ownership and connectedness to the role.
Here are some ways that I’ve found to build that sense of ownership to the position:
Show them the secret behind a personal brand
I always explain to my team that their number one bargaining chip is their personal brand. A personal brand is made up of your skills and reputation. Skills are obtained in every job, whether or not that job is directly related to your college certificate. Reputation is developed at every place of employment, irrespective of company name or role.
I further explain the concept of referrals. Referrals are one of the best ways to get great job offers and transition to new roles; that’s because they come from those who know you. They know your skills and competency level, as well as your work ethic. People tend to trust other people’s opinions about your capability above a CV/resume or job application.
Therefore, being a successful or high-performing contact center agent improves your personal brand, which in turn opens up more opportunities for you.
Show them the power behind training and development
As you advance in your career, there’s a greater emphasis on soft skills development in areas like leadership, management, and innovation. All of these can be developed while working in a contact center. Good contact centers have training programs that speak to an array of skills, and offer many avenues for on-the-job experience. For instance, working in teams helps develop leadership and management skills, and actively participating in projects and strategy sessions help develop skills in innovation and strategy.
Show them clear career and professional growth plans
The cool news is that there are many professional routes and streams within the contact center, including customer service, contact center management, quality assurance, coaching/mentoring, data analytics, human resources, and project management. For specialized contact centers in medical services or sales, further skill development in the fields are also available.
It’s easy for a contact center agent to get sucked into the monotony of completing the tasks for his or her team or group. Communicating these career streams to your team helps them understand the numerous opportunities available in the contact center world and keeps them focused on their big picture. The contact center can be a fulfilling career in itself, but it also provides career-enhancing skills and competencies that will help them excel in their future roles.
Offer amazing salary, benefits, and incentives packages
In my experience, offering an amazing salary and incentives package is critical, as you get what you pay for.
Some companies feel that because the contact center role starts as an entry level position, the remuneration can be minimal. However, statistics show that well-paid employees feel valued by their organization. A Clutch report on what employees’ value most in their job showed that employees value fair compensation and rewards (55%) more than all other workplace attributes. (Fair treatment came second at 54%.)
Not only is the employee able to reach their desired standard of living, but they will also be motivated to meet the required performance standards to maintain his or her living standard. A good benefits package includes pension, health care, transportation, and training. Well-constructed incentive and recognition programs help employee engagement. This ensures a wide range of motivation factors are covered in your contact center.
I hope these suggestions have helped to remove the frown from your brow and you have some action points to implement that will improve your employee engagement.