Off Center
 
By guest blogger, Matt McConnell

If doing the same thing 50-75 times a day sounds intellectually stimulating, stop reading.

Still there? Since many of you may have begun your career as contact center agents, you probably know how monotonous the job can be. As a manager, there are many things you likely already schedule to break up the agent’s day periodically. Things like training and team meetings along with activities like special projects. (Whether they actually happen or not is a different story.) But what else can agents do in between calls that don’t have to occur at a specific time?


Consider putting together a list like the one below to build variety into your agents’ days. Happy agents make happy customers, so read on for ideas to end up with both:

1.    Development. How satisfied can you be if the customer knows more than you do by the time they make it through multiple channels before reaching you with a complex problem? Ensure your agents get the communications, training and coaching they need to do their jobs well.

2.    Social Media. Certify agents to support customers or even just interact on behalf of your brand via social media to liven up their day and take your service to where your customers are.

3.    Customer Community. If you have a customer community, send your agents to mingle and help. If agents participate in your customer community via an assigned task, not only would you alleviate boredom, you could end up turning idle time into call avoidance.

4.    Back Office. The customer experience involves the whole enterprise. Help alleviate back office backlog, elevate the customer experience and provide variety by delivering back-office tasks like application processing, fax communications, and processing returns to agents during call volume lulls.

5.    Welcome Calls. Give your agents the opportunity to take a customer call without a “problem” attached to it, and start your customer relationship off with warm fuzzies.

6.    Game Time. Games can keep agents engaged, especially Generation Y agents. If you’re planning to incorporate gamification into your center, make sure you give your agents time to earn their badges, kudos and bragging rights.

7.    Peer Awards. What if agents received reminders to nominate their peers for awards? Doing something nice for someone else can improve one's mood, and on the receiving end, recognition from one's peers can mean a lot.

8.    Fitness Breaks. Give agents a chance keep their body and mind healthy by giving them a fitness break. A walk around the grounds could be just what’s needed to break up the day and get a healthy boost of energy to bring to the next call.

Most call center leaders want to make the center a better place to work for their agents, but time is tight, and service levels rule the day. High attrition and low agent engagement don’t have to be the norm, however. You do have options if you’re willing to challenge some of the accepted methods and manual processes around intraday management. Even with all the maneuvers workforce management does when staffing and call volume don’t quite match up with your forecasts, 85% occupancy equates to 17 hours of idle time a month. Automating intraday management allows your workforce management team to re-purpose that time so that your agents can take a break from calls to improve your customer experience, your center productivity and your agent retention. 



About Matt McConnell: Matt is chairman, president and CEO of Intradiem. Matt co-founded Intradiem in 1995 with a vision of helping companies increase the level of customer service they deliver by improving the performance of their agents. Today, Intradiem is a leader in intraday management technology with more than 450,000 agents and managers around the world using Intradiem every day.


3/20/2013 02:25:47 am

Very true. Maintaining a happy and healthy disposition on the production floor can help contact center representatives become more positive in assisting their customers. We cannot give what we don't have. If companies failed to listen to their representatives concerns and failed to provide a more healthy and positive working environment, will they expect customer service reps. to provide a good customer service?
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Greg.

Reply
3/20/2013 02:40:02 am

Thanks for your kind comment and great input, Cheyserr, but I just want to point out that it's not ME whom you should thank for the above blog post -- it's Matt McConnell of Intradiem. He's the guest blogger who wrote all the good stuff you just read.

Now that I've given credit where credit is due, you are absolutely right about how a positive workplace culture drives agents to provide positive customer experiences. Like I often say, agent love begets customer love!

Best,

Greg

Reply
3/20/2013 03:07:51 am

Oh I'm really sorry about it.
Thanks to Matt McConnell...
Anyhow, this is such a great article.

Reply
3/20/2013 03:11:37 am

It's especially important to break up those "bad" days where it's nothing but frustrated or angry customers. It's hard to keep a positive attitude if you're getting yelled at for 8 hours for something that isn't your fault. Everyone needs something to do for even just a few minutes to give their brains a break and chance to recharge.

Reply
8/25/2015 07:53:02 am

Pura vida.

We have invested in an employee game room at CCC. I wanted to share with all business owners and happy employees what can be done in an office environment to raise morale:



Telemarketers and customer service agents may burn out after a period of time. That is a fact. CCC has dropped the standard attrition rate dramatically. In addition, the attendance rate has remained at a relative high for industry call center standards just from the implementation of the game room.
Let off steam in a call center video game room. "All you can play" arcade machines for CCC Costa Rican call center employees.
Our rigorous bilingual telemarketing structure requires the same amount of down time focus for the agents in order to recharge the mind and body. The call center solution for a strong push on the phones is to incorporate a real retro arcade in Central America.
CCC is known in Costa Rica as offering the best employee arcade.
The international outsourcing industry has the best game room in Costa Rica.
Without question, CCC has the best gaming toys in a Latin American outsourced Telemarketing Company.
The proud owner of CCC, Richard Blank, firmly believes that the more an agent stays away from their virtual cell phone world; the more they will increase their interpersonal relationship building among other BPO employees.
Since 2007, our highly educated call center agents continue to grow as one unit by incorporating many challenging video games during scheduled breaks and lunch time.
CCC took a chance when most call centers do not utilize a common medium of arcade gaming.
The Costa Rican millennial generation that grew up playing video games at home did not share the same pleasure and stimulation as the early retro gamers that had an arcade on every corner and local mall in the United States.
CCC Human Resources Department was intent on a positive learning experience by combining fast momentum and a creative mind. Proving a solid ROI on a large internal expense for employee retro gaming recreation, the telemarketing staff has enjoyed a spike in morale, increased online labor support and a flattering local reputation in Costa Rica as a great call center environment run by generous owners.
Back in the 1980, anyone in Costa Rica who wanted to play the real video games was on a mission to find an arcade. Once you placed your 100 colones on the game marquee to hold your place, it didn't get any better when you had the chance to show your skills in front of dozen kids from San Jose. Each Tico was shooting for the high score on Asteroids or Pac Man and loved every minute of it. CCC wants to bring that excitement back into a call center environment and use it to grow past our 440 agent limit at our current location on Paseo Colon.
Today, CCC firmly stands behind having our call center employees experience the authentic arcade sounds, sights and real time retro competition.
Our new video arcade room has given CCC another strong gust of wind in our sails. Costa Rica's Call Center will continue to reward our amazing staff by a pace of 1 new arcade machine per 44 new telemarketing agents hired and hitting their monthly quota.
The employee friendly call center environment became more pleasurable immediately which can offset a demanding telemarketing career. Any BPO boss could only imagine and wish for laughter, smiles, spirited jokes and high energy at their Costa Rican office on a Monday morning before shift.
The reality today is that CCC has become the only call center to have gifted their entire staff a video arcade game room to have fun, period. All agents are given the option to arrive early to play the games or they may choose to stay inside and enjoy the machines during the evening while waiting for their ride to safely take them home.
A smart motivational technique used for CCC BPO agents is to compete on the machines in the game room.
One way in which a telemarketer's confidence could be made stronger or broken down is through an arcade experience during their work day. Costa Ricans have courage and can back up their swagger on the phone after dominating the video games during their scheduled breaks.
In the competitive offshore outsourcing call center arena, CCC has an advantage over the rest in Costa Rica by creating a strategic play environment.
High end arcade video games will reinforce a call center agent's focus, mind set to win and motor skills while off of the phones during their free time. The most important virtue is to show a solid habit of good sportsmanship regardless of the outcome of the games in the arcade.
More new friendships have blossomed in the game room at CCC call center Costa Rica.
Our entire staff has concluded that an immediate visual stimulation combined with a conditioned manual stimulation in gaming added a very special ingredient to our nuance at CCC. To date, Costa Rica's Call Center is the only BPO in Central America with a retro arcade game room, period.
The average age of our Costa

Reply



Leave a Reply.