It is hard to believe that it’s already February 2013. You are probably like me and asking, “Where did 2012 go?”
Most companies create budgets 6 to twelve months in advance so there may not be a lot that you can do about budgets. However, you can still look for opportunities to improve your teams and your contact centers.
Let’s start by breaking down the contact center into the ever-famous 3 categories: people, process and technology. In this three part blog series, we will offer ideas for each category.
We all know that people drive the contact center industry. While technology provides new ways to manage solutions, people are still the lifeblood of the organization.
A friend of mine simplifies the management of a contact center this way: “It is all about getting the right people in the seats at the right time with the right amount of training and coaching.”
So what are your plans to accomplish this in 2013? Even if you have a workforce management team, there are still some good questions to consider:
Forecasting and Resource Planning
Service leaders should already have a month-by-month forecast in place for 2013. But, here are some questions you should be asking yourself:
- Have you validated marketing and sales plans for the year to ensure adjustments have been made to cover increased business or changes in contract-rates?
- Do you understand how new channels like chat and social media will affect your center?
- Have you considered investing in a forecasting tool for your center, or how long has it been since you had a forecasting tune-up?
You should be considering whether or not you’re using your forecasting tool to its fullest potential. There are also several SaaS options out there. Just keep in mind that a forecasting tool is one investment that almost always pays for itself. For recommendations, contact us.
Hiring the right people is more important today than ever before. With the advent of web self-help and interactive voice response (IVR), many companies find that they need to hire more experienced agents to handle inbound callers that have already searched for the answer. Agents need to be able to pick-up the call at step 14—and not start the conversation over at step 1. Easy calls have been allocated to less expensive channels.
It is important to tie your forecasting to your hiring plans. And, on that note consider reviewing your interviewing process.
- Do your supervisors really understand the “model” agent for your culture and your customers?
- Are they asking the right questions to understand whether the person is the right fit?
I love to include “story” questions into the process, for example: “Tell me about a time when you helped someone in the past 90 days?” If you are seeking people to help your customers, it is vital that they have the personality and willingness to help others.
With new channels and a need to meet the customer at their point in the service cycle, training has also become more complex. We have seen many companies be successful with creating a training focus-group to understand how success (or failure) is affecting the front-line agent. Here’s my advice:
Schedule meetings with three groups in your center to analyze your current training.
- Team One is made-up of front-line supervisors. Ask them to critique the content based on what they believe is needed on the floor. Ask them to identify the gaps.
- Team Two is a group of new employees. Ask them to discuss how the training could be changed to make it better for new employees. What is missing? What needs to be added to prepare them for their first week on the job?
- Team Three contains long-term employees. Seek to understand what training is needed as follow-up. What do they need to be more successful.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this series in which I’ll discuss considerations and tips around your contact center process.
Have questions about how you can improve in the areas discussed in this blog? Talk to Bluewolf.