A Contact Center Summer: Warm Weather, Beach Trips, and Mid-Year Reviews

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Let’s set the scene. It’s a beautiful summer day. ☀ The sun is shining; the bees are buzzing. Any given day in July has the opportunity to be fantastic.

Not only is this a great month for beach trips, great weather, and tanning (or getting sunburnt); July is an opportunity to take stock and regroup in the workplace.
 
Mid-year reviews may not sound as enticing as chowing down some ice cream sandwiches in 95-degree weather, but they are just as important.
 
So, why are mid-year reviews so significant that I’m willing to mention them in the same sentence as ice cream sandos?
 
Here are a couple of reasons:

  • Catching up with your employees is important. How do they feel about their role in the team? Do they feel like they are succeeding? Do they trust that they are being provided with the right tools to thrive?
  • Bringing up challenges and issues can be hard- periodic reviews provide a natural cadence and forum to work through these. Mid-year reviews are a great time to get to the bottom of things. Talk about what hasn’t been accomplished yet in the year. Find out how you can help. This is a great time to decide goals that were set at the beginning of the year make sense still or if you should adjust them, or maybe even set new goals.

So, what does Brightmetrics have to do with any of this?
 
Remember the M, in SMART Goals? That’s right… Measurable!
 
When you have quantifiable metrics, you can create quantifiable goals. Moreover, this allows you and your employee to come up with completely clear, actionable plans. The expectations are well-defined and both parties know they are on the same page.
 
We’ve found that these individual agent metrics are fantastic to track month over month:

  • Call Time
  • Hold Time
  • Count of All Calls
  • Average Queue Time
  • Average Treatment Time (For ECC Customers)

When you have an agent that’s struggling:

Outline the training options you’re offering for their personal improvement- maybe it’s about handling 10 more calls during their shift or lowering their call time by 15 seconds. You could have this agent sit with a top performing agent for an hour every day for a couple weeks. That way, they’ll learn strategies in a more hands-on approach.
 
For an agent that you fear is not providing extraordinary customer service, take advantage of call reporting. Have the agent review a couple calls that could have been handled better. Have them tell you where they think the call went wrong. Review what your thoughts are and talk about solutions together.
 
In Brightmetrics, you can build out a report that looks like this:

It features a 3-month look at agents’ Average Call Count, Average Queued Time, and Average Treatment Time.

Here’s what it can look like when you have agents that are consistently top-performers:

Share your praise with them and celebrate their achievements! Applaud how well their skills are developing and highlight which ones can still be improved. To explore specific development opportunities, focus on customer experience.
 
Are their call times getting shorter without negatively impacting customer satisfaction? For treatment time, are they improving their call/ hold/ and wrap times while keeping callers happy? (ECC only) Is there queue time decreasing and allowing them to answer calls more quickly?
 
In this case, it’s important to not focus on the nuisances. To get better results, emphasize that your goal is to have a happy, comfortable agent that provides an excellent customer experience to your customers.
 
This chart below demonstrates how you could break out a specific agent’s Abandon Rate Percentage by day and offset the calls by 90 days. This is helpful in comparing how they did a 3 months ago vs to how they are doing now.

In conclusion, mid-year reviews are about keeping track of how your agents are doing. Bottomline, it’s imperative that they are making progress and becoming seasoned.
 
You want their metrics to improve as much as reasonably possible. And when they are already hitting their benchmarks, focus their attention on customer experience and their own well-being in the workplace.
 
Request feedback to be sure you are doing everything to give your employee adequate chances for success with clearly defined expectations.
 
After the review, you can expect an employee that is newly engaged with a strong initiative to perform well. With Brightmetrics, you’ll have the metrics to create an actionable plan to steer your team in the right direction for the rest of the year!
 

P.S. We got some more thoughts on summer… 😏

The summer months often mean a shift in call volumes. You might be in an industry that experiences much more calls than the rest of the year, like a beach-front resort, travel agents, or ice cream distributors 🍦🚚 (Honestly, I just really like ice cream. Apparently, I can’t stop mentioning it???).
 

via GIPHY

Conversely, industries that are busy in the winter will see a drop in call volume.
 
Because of all the changes happening in seasonal contact centers, it’s important to keep an eye on all your customer service metrics. Depending on whether you are in high or low-season, you’ll want to adjust your groups accordingly.
 
You can do so by adding agents to additional groups or even stacking groups. It might take some practice from both management and agents to get the balance right, but there are plenty of benefits to adding some flexibility to your agents’ schedules during the summer months.
 
By the end of the season, you’ll have agents that learned new skills and were working efficiently the entire time.

This post was originally featured here on the Brightmetrics Blog.

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