Are Wallboards Good or Bad?


Wallboards are a common feature in the contact centre… But not everyone agrees they should be there.

It is the supervisor’s job to deal with the stress of the call volumes

It is really important for us that our agents focus on first contact resolution, so the last thing we want is for them to feel overshadowed and hassled by metrics.

I believe it is the supervisor’s job to deal with the stress of the call volumes and feed this information out positively to the agents. After all, they get paid enough to do so.

With thanks to Nancy

Agents are kept in the loop and can act accordingly

Wallboards are effective and are merely a tool. They keep the agents up to date with the current situations and help them to remain focused.

In a fast-paced work environment, every member is equally important and wallboards help to ensure everyone knows the current situation and can act accordingly.

With thanks to Muhammad

Why display information your agents have no control over?

Why plaster information all over your call centre that your agents have no control over?

80% of your metrics (e.g. calls waiting in queue etc.) are the product of your forecasting and planning.

So publicising it via wallboards is akin to saying, “Look, we really buggered up our planning and forecasting today, didn’t we?”

With thanks to Darren

Displaying ‘calls waiting’ encourages agents to delay ‘going ready’

Wallboards are definitely bad.

I have noticed that, when ‘calls waiting’ data is displayed, staff have a squint at the board before ‘going ready’.

In my opinion, there’s a thought process that if there is one call waiting then a longer ‘not ready’ means someone else will take it.

I would remove them altogether, but for now we have removed the ‘calls waiting’ metric from our wallboards.

With thanks to Lynda

Wallboards can be a valuable addition to the contact centre environment

I like wallboards and think they can be a valuable addition to the contact centre environment, but only if they are used to display useful information or publicly praise agents.

I think that using wallboards to display performance statistics is a bad idea, as agents can go into panic mode if they are confronted with a long queue. This can distract them from the task in hand – giving great service to customers – and have a negative impact on overall performance.

With thanks to Charmaine Vallance-Poole at Neopost

Agents with access to wallboard information show signs of stress

We have never had wallboards visible to the agents in the 14 years we have been in business, and our level of quality and effectiveness has been our key selling point as an outsourcer.

In recent years, we have given additional responsibility to a pool of agents to manage evening and weekend shifts, and as part of this they have access to the wallboards and real-time call-flow information on their desktops.

This pool of agents definitely shows signs of stress and an impact on quality during peak times as a direct result of having access to this information.

With thanks to Fiona

Wallboards motivate agents to work harder

Wallboards are good because they motivate agents to work harder.

With thanks to Daniel

The information displayed should be relevant to your agents

If you want to display real-time information for your agents, make it relevant to them and make sure it is something they have control over. For example, NPS (Net Promoter Score), Customer Satisfaction or First Contact Resolution.

In every centre I’ve run for the last 18 years, I’ve had my agents focusing on one thing – the quality and effectiveness of the conversation they’re having at that point in time.

That’s where you’re really in their hands, and where they can make the biggest impact on your business.

Engage them, train them for this, give them the tools they need to do it well, then support, coach and trust them to do well.

With thanks to Darren

Wallboards are a great way to quickly pass information to agents

Rather than focusing only on traditional call handing data, we promote the use of screens to improve knowledge transfer and make sure agents have the information they need to quickly and confidently answer questions the first time (FCR).

We all know that customers get nervous and frustrated when agent confidence is low and agents do not have access to the right information.

With stock levels, support ticket status, products and service delivery changing all of the time, wallboards are a great way to quickly pass this information to agents.

With thanks to Stephen

It depends on the staff and the particular contact centre

I think wallboards can be a good thing and help to keep agents motivated.

However, I worked somewhere once where seeing so many calls waiting used to really stress people out.

Personally, it didn’t bother me, as I was concentrating on the call. So I guess that it depends on the staff and the particular contact centre.

With thanks to David

Engaging wallboards can improve the call centre environment

Companies who deploy “real” digital wallboard solutions – products which have been developed to make the most of large-format TV screens and have the features and flexibility to allow the end user to design them – really do make a difference to agent confidence and improve the call centre environment.

This is because they are engaging, as well as in an elevated position, and so are hard to ignore.

With thanks to Stephen

Agents must be consulted about how wallboards are used

Agents must be consulted about how wallboards or visual communications solutions should be best used.

After all, wallboards are part of their toolkit and environment.

With thanks to Stephen

They work well as stand-alone communication interfaces for success stories

More recently I have seen wallboards used purely as a communication interface for company announcements, employee success stories and engagement – and these have worked really well.

However, if a call centre relies only on its technology to communicate, there is a danger of removing the face-to-face time that really bonds teams together and engages individuals.

With thanks to Gary

Wallboards should be seen only by the operations team

More often than not, real-time wallboards do more harm than good – especially when displaying SLAs and the number of calls waiting.

In short, wallboards belong in a command centre where a WFM or operations team can take timely mitigating actions to ensure SLAs are delivered.

With thanks to Irfan

Agents should be empowered to choose when to access this information

Gone are the days of using wallboards to communicate generic performance data to agents.

Agents now should be empowered to obtain this information themselves – when needed and in real time – through their own desktops.

If an agent “owns” their own performance they are more likely to be able to perform better.

With thanks to Gary

Wallboards can be great for sharing metrics between departments

Using wallboards to make cross-departmental metrics and business intelligence available to everyone can avoid agents over-promising, especially if they are used as overflow.

For example, if the front line know that the average response time for technological support is 4 hours, and they receive a call that has been overflowed from the support queue, they know exactly what to promise the customer and can avoid saying things like “ASAP”.

With thanks to Stephen

Agents should be focusing only on the call they are handling

We should not give agents any added stress while they are taking calls. They should only be expected to focus on the call they are handling.

Wallboards are for call centre managers, as it is their responsibility to monitor overall performance.

With thanks to Saad

Agents should be educated about how to use wallboard information

From a development perspective, managers should educate their team about the wallboards on display so that agents can properly understand the situation and act accordingly.

With thanks to Faraz

Wallboards are good if they aren’t being used to pressurise staff

Wallboards should be used by the management team to heighten awareness, adjust data, forecasts, trends, staffing and metrics, and to understand when to go back to the floor and help the staff – but not to reduce the call quality or create anxiety.

Too often, I have seen the latter, and staff morale is affected. It is very hard to achieve a quality call under pressure from ‘calls waiting’.

With thanks to Jacqui

Frustration is only caused by old technology no longer fit for modern needs

Negativity surrounding wallboards is almost always linked to the frustrations of trying to get visual communications technology that is no longer fit for purpose for what modern managers and centres need and want.

Just like a lot of contact centre technology, visual communications technology has come a long way in the last 5 years and – when used properly – they provide extremely quick ROI.

With thanks to Stephen

The use of wallboards can be detrimental to achieving quality

The success of wallboards depends on the environment they are used in.

It can work well in some industries; however, it could be detrimental to others where quality is paramount.

With thanks to Saf

Agents should be focusing on quality of service

In any contact centre, the top priority should be for agents to ensure quality of service.

Wallboard information should be on display predominantly for team leaders, supervisors and managers to monitor and act on.

With thanks to Faraz

They can be positive if used to transfer knowledge

Wallboards can be a positive thing if they are used to transfer knowledge.

Unfortunately, a lot of systems don’t have the technology to do this and so are not very effective.

With thanks to David

Agents only seem to like them when they are performing well

Wallboards are a tool like any other and only work if they are used well.

From what I’ve seen, agents only seem to think they are a good idea when they are performing well and are at the top of the score table.

With thanks to Alex

Inflexible solutions do more harm than good

There are a lot of very old systems out there and these inflexible solutions do more harm than good.

For example, if managing the technology is a time-consuming and technical process, many customer service managers will simply leave the content as it was when it was first deployed.

As a result of this, the screens become wallpaper rather than an engaging source of company news, employee stories, business intelligence and key metrics.

With thanks to Stephen

Calls waiting is a resource and training problem

People are beginning to understand that over-pressuring advisors is only going to impact quality of service.

Calls waiting is a resource and training problem – not something advisors should have to worry about.

With thanks to Sean

They are only useful if they display what agents need

I personally think large-screen displays are very useful, but only if used well.

Too many times, we see managers decide what they want and not what agents need.

With thanks to Richard

Do you think wallboards have a place on the contact centre floor?

Let us know in the box below.

Published On: 3rd Sep 2014 - Last modified: 22nd Mar 2017
Read more about - Call Centre Life , , , ,


3 Comments
  1. In fairness to agents, if their stats are being scrutinised each day, it’s only fair that the wallboards are available to them to use if they wish. In an ideal world, we would only focus on quality of calls, but realistically they all have AHT targets to hit.

    Kev 4 Sep at 12:29 pm
  2. There are certainly enough reasons for both camps to make a valid argument.

    Here’s my Two cents:

    Wallboards in the Call Centre help keep the staff focussed – and working towards the common goal of the Call centre, and so also, the company.

    Wallboards broadcast the current state of affairs, helping agents to make informed decisions – maybe taking that break a little later when no calls are queuing, and in doing so empowering them to have an impact on the overall performance of the Call centre.

    Supervisors, in my mind at least, should be there (mainly) for the agents development trough coaching and mentoring.

    J 5 Sep at 6:36 am
  3. I don’t think its just in an ideal world that we can mainly focus on quality. Surely AHT is a planning metric to help us understand our FTE requirements rather than an agent target. The AHT metric should be achievable but also allow agents to spend longer on calls where necessary without worrying about going over the ‘target’. It is an average after all.

    Rachel 5 Sep at 1:53 pm
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