Give Contact Centre Agents The Tools To Do the Job

Give contact centre agents the tools to do the Job and reap the rewards because motivation makes businesses successful
It’s long been acknowledged that motivated and engaged employees are the key to business success. Start by giving them the tools to do their job to the best of their ability, and make time for line managers to build rapport with their staff, so that they can support and nurture them. Andrew Tucker, Success Manager at Cirrus explains.

According to Gallup there are several factors in driving positive employee engagement. Those organisations that practice ‘high-development cultures’ have strong employee engagement. In order to achieve this, organisations must ensure that their employees are able to work to the best of their ability.

What do employees want?

Motivating employees comes down to these two simple things, tools and time. For staff to develop they need the systems to enable them to do their job well, and they need a good relationship with their line manager, who needs time to support and nurture them. This is especially true in current times where most contact centre people are working remotely and may be missing that all important contact with their team.

In the Gallup Q12 Employee engagement questionnaire, the first two questions are:

– Do you know what is expected of you at work?

– Do you have the materials and equipment to do your work right?

For contact centre agents this means fast, easy access to comprehensive customer information, with everything they need in one place.  For supervisors and managers this means visibility of what is happening in the contact centre, such as call wait times, call abandon rates, first time resolution rates, agent adherence and notifications of when any of these are about to breach KPIs, or an agent needs help and support.

Many of the mechanisms previously in place now don’t work. Managers and team leaders that could once see what was happening in the contact centre, and could simply walk across to their team members that maybe needed help and support are now working from home themselves, without any visibility of their team.

Legacy infrastructure doesn’t deliver

Contact centres using legacy infrastructure typically have 6 to 8 different siloed systems. These can be shared drives, phone/PBX, webchat, email, CRM systems, SMS/messaging and social media management tools, as well as a plethora of other internal messaging systems. With a lack of joined up systems, supervisors are spending up to an hour a day compiling reports. A medium sized contact centre with 150 agents might have 8 to 10 supervisors, all writing reports – that adds up to a week per month. Precious time when supervisors are not looking after their agents.

This is just one example where not having the correct tools for the job significantly impacts ability to operate effectively.

£££ The stakes are High £££

Gallup states that the most engaged teams compared to the least engaged teams see 41% lower absence rates, 24% lower turnover, 17% high productivity and 21% high profitability.

Add to this that disengaged employees can suffer mental health issues, which results in more absence, higher attrition rates, and can affect the reputation of the business, making it harder to attract top talent.

Recruiting new agents is expensive – according to the often-cited Cornell University report; The Global Call Center Report: International Perspectives on Management and Employment, it costs 16% of gross earnings to replacement an employee. With agent attrition rates anything between 17% and 44%, depending on the size of the contact centre, it’s certainly commercially worthwhile trying to retain staff.

Providing Visibility – Omni Channel comes of Age

In the past few months, from when the first national lockdown hit businesses everywhere, we’ve had many interesting conversations with our customers.  Most of these conversations were about visibility and being able to access the right information at the right time.

Supervisors and line managers need real time reporting on what is happening in the contact centre. They need to be able to see traffic across all channels, despite that fact that most of their agents will be working from home. They need to be able to monitor a single inbox, with the ability to assign work to the appropriately qualified agents and to be able to produce reports, on sales, on call volumes, and on customer sentiment at the click of a button. Most importantly, they need to be able to spend time on supporting their team members and nurturing them so that they can deal with any problems before they become serious issues.

Agents need a system that provides them with all the information about the customer they are currently talking to. They need to see every part of the conversation, regardless of channel the customer used, voice, email, webchat, message and even social media. Without this information at their fingertips, agents are unable to provide the high value support customers need.

The pressure on voice as a channel means that customers are moving to digital channels, which legacy infrastructure struggles to support.  Using a cloud contact centre overlay, businesses are able to open up digital channels, almost immediately, giving agents the information they need, and customers the service they want.

According to NeosWave Research, legacy contact centres and outdated ways of working are costing UK businesses £2bn annually. Put simply, businesses cannot afford not to ensure that their employees are happy and supported by their line managers with the correct systems to allow them to flourish in their roles.

 

 

Andrew Tucker is Partner Success Manager at Cirrus

 As contact centre specialists selling exclusively through the channel, Cirrus partners with ambitious companies to help them achieve the dream of flawless customer experience.

Cirrus solutions combine best in class voice, email, chat and social media. With a cloud infrastructure, Cirrus operates on a real-time basis with unlimited scalability and the highest level of resilience and security. Cirrus implementations typically range from 5 – 1,000’s of users and customers benefit from the ability to unify resources across separate geographic locations (including homeworkers), leverage omni-channel capability and move to a single view of the customer.

Cirrus provides a range of automation and managed solutions including on-the-fly translation for voice calls, and managed Conversational AI (CAI) that support 24/7 operations while keeping costs low.

Cirrus has a broad range of experience across both the public and the private sector.

High profile clients include Avanti West Coast, NHS, Clarks, FCA, CAA, Cafcass, and InsureTheBox.

For additional information on Cirrus visit their Website