How Does Your Contact Center Garden Grow?

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How Does Your Contact Center Garden Grow? Hopefully with an Employee Engagement Plan!

I have the opportunity to speak with one of my clients this week (Amas Tenumah – Teleflora, VP, Operations) at Call Center Demo & Conference is produced by ICMI. You can find more details here : Session details.

We wrote a brief article about our session and I thought I would share it with you here…

Close your eyes and think for a moment about the employees in your organization that speak to hundreds of customers each day. These frontline sales and service professionals will probably speak to more customers in a day than most executives will in a year. Are there some employees in this diverse workgroup that you hope speak to more customers than others? Maybe a few that you hope get the “easy” calls, while others you’d prefer having handle the more complex interactions? It’s been said that contact centers are like gardens, and your employees fall into three distinct categories of flowers. Roses are star employees, daisies are average performers, and weeds are hopefully improved (but sometimes removed) – and to ensure your garden grows, these employees require an employee engagement plan. Let’s take a moment to dive deeper into the characteristics of roses, daisies and weeds. Sometimes it its important to just stop and “smell” the service!

Roses are your star employees. These are the folks that when you think about implementing some sort of contest or recognition program in your center, you immediately imagine they will probably win it. We are fortunate they work for us, and they can really make the difference between success and failure. Like an actual rose, they require plenty of work and special handling.

Our second group of employees is our daisies. This is by far the largest group that we have in our organizations. We all know daisies. They are beautiful flowers, but in most gardens they don’t require a lot of upkeep or get a lot of attention. If you think about your average employees they aren’t much trouble. They show up and do their job. No hassles, no problems, they just simply do their jobs. Often the majority of employees throughout a company tend to fit into the daisy category. Our challenge as leaders is to avoid the tendency to ignore this group. In order to have an amazing garden, we must do something different with this group. Instead of ignoring them, we need to acknowledge and engage them.

That leaves us with the weeds. In most contact center gardens, only a small percentage of employees are weeds, yet often this is the group that leaders spend the most time with. You know who they are, and they know who they are. Unfortunately, this means an inordinate amount of leadership’s gardening time is spent with the people who bring the least value to your customers’ service experience. Now that we know what’s growing in our garden, we must create a strategy that allows are gardeners to let their roses bloom, empowers the daisies to transform, and encourages the weeds to diminish. Employee engagement is the key, and talented gardeners are part of the solution. The challenge is how many individual flowers are growing in your garden, and how much time a gardeners can spend with each of them.

So who are your gardeners? Team Leads? Supervisors? Managers and Trainers? Those are absolutely critical resources to improve employee engagement. How about your customers! Who better to encourage, critique, and motivate employees than the customers they interact with every day. You may have heard that award-winning gardeners admit to talking to their flowers. Our customers do that every day. A direct comment from a customer means infinitely more to an employee than direct criticism from a manager. Join our session to learn more!

Session 201: It’s a Garden! Tried and True Tips for Growing an Engaged Team

Time: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 2:15 PM – 3:30 PM

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