Contact Centers. It's all about Technology. NOT!
In 2018, there is a lot of technology used to handle any number of inbound and outbound contacts. Traditional phone calls, SMS Text Messages (SMS), Instant Message Chat (IM), Social Media Channels, Web Forms, even good ol' fashion Email. In 2018, it takes software and hardware to make it all work, to all come together, so your agents know how to handle the communications, and so you customers using these channels get serviced. Right? It is all about the technology, right?.
Well, actually no, it is not!
People. It is all about your People. That is, your agents, supervisors and managers. In a previous blog post, I call this the "Agent Empowered Experience." Technology is very important, and very useful in todays contact center to meet the needs and expectations of your clients, customers, partners and end-users. However, it is still all about the employees you hire and train to staff your center (brick and mortar, or work from home) to handle all of these contacts.
Maybe it is obvious. Maybe I am "preaching to the choir." Well, if that is the case, why is there a 37% rate of attrition of call center employees in the first six (6) months on the job (DMG Consulting, September 2017)? Or, why are 76% of all call center budgets tied to resource related activities in the call center such as recruitment, hiring, training, motivation, management, attrition (DMG Consulting, September 2017)? The reasons are all about "people," not technology.
Great technology enables people to be great. So, going forward, for the balance of 2018, why not put a renewed emphasis on your people when it comes to strategic decisions about your contact center, vs. too much focus on technology. Some ideas, or ways to to this, are:
Re-allocate your budgets to fund more training. Invest in great trainers! You can never do enough training.
Reduce your Supervisor to Agent Ratios. Make them more like 1:10 or 1:12, vs. 1:15 or 1:20 which is often more traditional. Yes, this may cost a bit more, but the benefits can far outweigh the cost in the form of reduced attrition and higher customer (and employee) satisfaction.
Implement a Keep-It-Simple approach for your call center agent "call handling." For example, instead of forcing your reps to manage 8-10 key metrics on each call or contact, make it more like 3-5 key metrics. Make it simple for them, and their quality and call handling skills (and your talk time and call handling metrics) will decrease. This results in a cost-savings.
Just a few ideas to think about, test out, or fully implement.
If you wish to discuss further, or collaborate on any ideas, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call and/or text me anytime at 602-312-8900. I love to share ideas, and meet and network with new people (or people I've lost touch with).
- Steve Shefveland, Founder
Emerging Global Service, LLC
Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Emerging Global Services, LLC (EGS) (www.emergingglobal.com) is a people-centric, entrepreneurial outsourcing (Business Process Outsourcing - BPO) provider in the sales, customer service, and technical support industries. Our centers are unique because we are located in new and emerging labor markets nearshore, offshore and in the U.S., where highly educated labor is abundant, yet competition for that labor is low. This results in low employee turnover (attrition under 20% a year), and high customer satisfaction for our clients.