Tag Archives: agent performance

What’s UP with the DOWNTIME?

Linda, a contact centeAgent Timeliner supervisor for a large BPO, is at her desk on a Monday afternoon when she has an epiphany. “Something is not right”, she says to herself. “Its Monday and the phones are eerily quiet – too quiet for my center”, she thought.

Linda decides to have a look and walk down to the floor. All her agents are all at their desks, with their headsets on, and all of their stations are active and ready. Everybody is where they need to be, there just isn’t any of the usual call volume right now. Things will change soon, for sure, but Linda wonders “What are they doing with their down time?”.

In today’s fast paced high tech Contact Center, Linda is accustomed to measuring many different Key Point Indicators. She measures everything from total calls, calls in queue, wait times, hold times, average talk times, net promoter score, customer satisfaction score and everything in-between. This mountain of data proves useful for Linda when determining what is happening, when, and more importantly, how she can act on it. However, what can Linda learn when times are slow.

Linda knows her management uses the Virtual Observer Work Force Optimization Suite from CSI to record calls, chats, emails, social media and all their customer interactions. She knows Virtual Observer monitors ACD stats and agent state changes for forecasting, scheduling and adherence, but what can she do when “nothing is happening”?.

Before long, as expected, the phones are lit up like a Christmas tree again. It’s a good thing she didn’t let people start going home. Everything seems to be back to normal and the team is humming at capacity again.

Later that day Linda wonders to herself, “Has this lull happened before? Have we been wasting time in idle when we could be doing other things”?

Linda then recalls being trained on the “Agent Timeline” feature. She opens the event log to monitor agents in this view. There are recordings covering agent’s entire shifts from the time they clocked in to the time they clocked out. All their customer interactions are there, but so are “filler events” that fill in the down time with screen recordings. These screen recordings can be reviewed to determine what the agents were doing in the down time. And more importantly, everything is color coded so Linda can see what events are customer interactions and what events are down time filler events.

Linda spends a few hours reviewing her teams time line view and filler events from the previous week. She realizes she has been drastically over staffed because to many of her agents are surfing the news sites, even after fulfilling their E-Learning requirements, and wasting lots of time and resources. Linda adjusts her scheduling parameters in the Virtual Observer Workforce Management app and has saved the company a bundle.

“How did we get by before without using this feature?” she asked aloud.

“What’s up with the downtime, indeed,” she thinks, proud of her new discovery and the value she delivered to her organization.

“VO Agent Timeline” is an included feature in the Virtual Observer suite which asks the question “What’s Up With the Down Time?”. Virtual Observer is already loaded with more bundled quality monitoring and workforce optimization features than any other WFO suite on the market, and the innovation continues with the introduction of VO Agent Timeline, an essential tool for supervisors to visualize agent activity levels at a glance. Click here to find out more use cases for the Agent Timeline feature.

15 ways to supercharge your contact center agents

  1. Allow them access to your workforce optimization technologies. Let them play “supervisor” once in a while by evaluating their peers. Definitely let them replay events where they handled a call, their screen was recorded, and results were great. Follow up by asking them why they were great.

  2. Run a weekly contest for the agent who is able to convert the most disgruntled callers back into happy customers. Give a fun prize where they can shine in front of peers.

  3. Set aside daily coaching time – fifteen minutes every day where there are one-on-one training sessions happening. Schedule them within your workforce management system and make them part of everyday agent life.

  4. Introduce your agents to what you’re trying to do with your speech analytics technology – discover keyword phrases which indicate trends. They may be able to help you develop your list of phrases to look for. What a sense of pride it will give them to contribute in this manner!

  5. Use webcam recording capabilities to monitor their body language, demeanor and overall behavior they’re exhibiting when on the phone with a customer. Use these results to provide extra help to those who may simply need additional training.

  6. Allow free access to social networks and encourage agents to participate in company posts and train them in best practices for responding to social customer service. Cross-train them to handle emails, texts, tweets, etc. as everything does point to an omni-channel future.

  7. Investigate what’s available in gamification options. The incentives/rewards process always seems to yield additional motivations.

  8. Let your marketing team have some fun with the agents. They can shoot photos and videos for promotional purposes.

  9. Allow agents to develop mock calls that incorporate web cam usage and appropriate handling of customer situations.  This can inevitably be used to enhance agent performance as well as for training new hires.
  10. Provide a monthly/quarterly reward to an agent who has handled the highest amount of calls successfully or perhaps reached FCR or another KPI objective.
  11. Allow a rolling amount of agents to have 5-10 minute breaks each hour.  This can assist the call center in keeping agents alert and enhance their level of productivity.
  12. Have team pow-wow’s each week/every other week to allow agents to see metrics on how they are performing  and allow them to throw around ideas to improve talk time, handle time and other KPIs which may be important to your organization.
  13. Create an “agent survey” to gather employee feedback every six months or so. Gather and categorize responses and circulate responses to all.
  14. Pose some organizational challenges typically reserved for upper management — and share the best responses with the higher ups. Collaboration like this did wonders for Harley Davidson.
  15. Ask your agents to each create their own business and to display their logo and “company mantra” on their cubicle walls. The best “brand” wins a day off, or a night out on the town.

Are your customer initiatives also boosted by the “Voice of the Agent”?

You’ve invested in a sweet new technology platform which records all of your calls.

Great start. Now what are you doing with them?Many contact centers have deployed quality monitoring tools for evaluating and scoring calls. Sometimes this leads to live coaching of the agents and other times it leads to scheduled training based on topics where the agents did not fare too well.

Other contact centers have invested in full workforce optimization suites (typically consisting of the aforementioned call recording and quality monitoring, plus workforce management, speech analytics and surveying). These are great and extremely effective, except they lack the “Voice of the Agent“.

Empowering your agents with the ability to use a workforce optimization system will do wonders for their self-improvement and personal development. There are several key areas where they can contribute to the quality monitoring process and calibrate with your “Voice of the Customer” (VoC) intiatives:

  • Allow your agents to play back their own calls and view their recorded screens”
  • Share evaluations with them and let them respond, dispute or accept their scores
  • Provide them with targeted e-learning material based on where their scores show they need improvement
  • Allow them to collaborate with approved peers, supervisors, groups, etc.
  • Enable shift trading, bidding, etc. with integrated Workforce Management technology

Agents should buy into the whole quality-monitoring process and by giving them access to a WFO toolset, they are less likely to take on a “Big Brother” view of your technology investments and more apt to take ownership of their own developments.

Other WFO features such as CSI’s “VO Live” exist to provide management with the ability to zero in on agent behaviors which might be inefficient, counter-productive or where supervisors can intercede in real time to help an agent solve a customer issue. Agents who are introduced into the WFO process in an enthusiastic manner will also buy into the concept of pushing themselves even harder to be the best they can possibly be.

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