Out of Hours Activities

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Out of Hours Activities
Hi there Everybody,

A Quick question, a situation has arisen within our centre, when a Team Leader wanted to provide feedback of a remote call monitoring session to an advisor on a weekend.

The meeting was not accepted well by the advisor and ended in a heated discussion. Which is a different story. My question is HR blasted the TL for thinking of holding any such session on a weekend when they were not able to provide backup.

Does any other organisation have such limitations on available days for these type of events?

Chris

Business Support Manager

Local Authority

Needs
Chris,

I'd be on the side of the TL, as long as your guidelines and any ISO procedures were followed e.g making sure the agents know that monitoring can occur at any time, prior announcements etc. I say this because the weekend for many companies is not "out of hours" and why should you fail to maintain your quality assurance and performance monitoring simply because HR were not in attendance. It is critical to assess the quality of call handling at all stages of the week, morning. afternoon, evening and weekends, especially if you have part timers who only work these hours.

If your procedures dictate that you can do performance monitoring and secret caller at any time then any recording and feedback could have been done when HR were in. However I cannot see why HR would be involved unless the agent had done something wrong/was found out.

Would be interesting to hear how others would handle this.

Regards,

Gary.

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Wider picture
My guess and I hasten to add it is a guess is that HR understand the benefit of being involved themselves if a 'heated debate' goes on. If the performance development was badly handled by the team leader and performance doesnt improve or the employee files a complaint about how he was treated it could be difficult and costly to resolve. Far better to get HR involved the minute it occurs and nip the bad feelings in the bud - especially if it turns into a disciplinary type situation or indeed if it looked like being one from the outset. There may also be confidential issues that HR are aware of that the TL isnt.eg. personal issues the employee is suffering, pending disciplinary actions etc.

As regards timing performance monitoring ought to be able to occur at any time and this should be stated in the the job description or KPI's. Perhaps HR are aware of this and the TL is outside the job description. Perhaps your TL has never had any training on how to give feedback.

I agree with Gary.

Call Centre Manager

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Monitoring
I see no reason for HR to be on hand for routine monitoring and feedback, as long as it was being done in a developmental way, not disciplinary.

Surely your TLs have received training in how to do this, so they should be allowed to do their job.

Unless of course HR wish to start working a roster........ : )

Telemarketing Manager

CCT

Monitoring
Now you could say your paying the agents wages and have the right to monitor.

But

The agent hates working weekends and doesn't want to be there and certainly would not appreciate a TL visibly monitoring him/her on Sat/Sun.


HR are right the TL should be aware of the fact monitoring should really of been done in the week. The staff are more receptive and he has back-up from the management team.

I know this will be met with a barrage of you can monitor them whenever you want. The fact is you can but only if you have call recording because then you can hold the feedback session in the week with back-up. But to hold a monitoring session at the weekend where there is the distinct possibility of a situation arising which is way of of your dept to handle is plain silly.

He's also correct in saying that the TL probably hasn't had training.

Jason

MI Capability Manager

Vertex DataScience Ltd

Monitoring Calls
First, monitoring should take place at any time of the week, not doing so effectively gives the agents permission to give a lower standard of quality "out of hours".

However, whilst feedback should be timely unless there is a real need to do it straight away i.e. something which if not dealt with straight away could have serious repercussions for the company or it's customers then the feedback sessions should be scheduled where there is appropriate support.

Another issue not picked up here is, what if the agent only works out of hours. Again, if there is an expectation that the feedback wont be well received, schedule in support before running the session.

CC Operations Design Specialist

Financial Services

Who is at fault?
Feels as though the issue was either a) TL approach to giving feedback or b) Agent approach to receiving feedback, or c) HR working hours (i'm with Zoe *grin*) - both a & b suggest a lack of appropriate training & support; c is the solution if you want to avoid addressing a & b

Constructive feedback well delivered is often far more effective if provided immediately off the back of the call. As Julian stated, you cannot limit monitoring to certain times or there is room for abuse. I have never considered it necessary for HR to be involved in feedback sessions.
It is important to seperate incidents when managing them - if the call warranted feedback only then the session should be strictly limited to that. If the feedback does not go well, and the TL feels it is appropriate, then I would recommend a halt to the meeting, with an agreement to reconvene for a formal session in line with the company disciplinary process. What cannot happen is that the feedback turns into a disciplinary, as this breaches all sorts of rights - formal notifcation, right to representation, etc.
If it is necessary to stop a feedback session then it is likely that the agent returning to the phones is a risk, and therefore it may be necessary to suspend the agent on full pay & without prejudice pending the formal disciplinary process. I have experienced this both as a TL, and as senior management where a TL initiated the suspension - if well handled this is perfectly acceptable practice and often helps to difuse the situation by giving parties breathing space.
This comes down to support & training of the TL to do their job - if the company is not comfortable that they have trained their managers to an acceptable standard to be able to handle core capabilities then the company needs to do something about it! Financial & other regulated industries require proof of competence for managers. If the company is unable to develop its management team to an acceptable (for the company) level of competency then it needs to provide core services such as HR throughout the operational opening times

Obviously, every individual situation is different, but the skill of a team leader is to be able to manage their team both transparently, and in a way that acknowledges them as individuals and tempers business imperative with humanity.

...IMHO of course! ;o)

[Edited by JTC to fix hanging underline tag, 121004/1705]

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Approach with caution
There might be a slightly bigger operational problem here. In my experience it is not likely that HR are contracted to work out of hrs or provide OOH support. Any need for them to work out of hrs would need to be negotiated and presumably new contracts drawn up.
They might in all possibility refuse, the hrs of operation of the call centre are not HR's responsibility, thats a matter for ops management.(not my pesonal viewpoint but one that could be held)

Its a tricky one...we are all assuming that the TL was NOT at fault, there could be all kinds of allegations from the agent that fall completely outside the boundary of performance management.

I'd recommend keeping an open mind and investigate HR's reasons for their 'clamp down'. Certainly I do think HR have been heavy handed in 'blasting' the TL.

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Yes but...
I understand that if you beleive their may be trouble or their are already things to bear in mind ie disiplinary action they yes, HR would be an excellent asset to have in the meeting for both parties.

However for a call monitering seesions where certain things need to be corrected. I personally cant see a problem with it happening out of core/9-5 hours

Headcount Planning Analyst

PayPal

Agree with Chris
The function of monitoring is to gauge the customer service delivery at any time when the customer can contact us.

For a HR professional to criticise a T/L for delivering feedback (not the tone or delivery style or the procedures) at the weekend is very disappointing and puts the poor team leader in an unenviable position when managing this agent in the future.

Anywhere up to 30% of calls are handled "out-of-hours" does the HR department expect these calls to be un-monitored simply because they don't work those hours? I know that ours don't!

Still it looks like a good opportunity for your company to amend its approach before anything major does happen.

Good Luck

Eamon

poolboy

Dechaine Consulting Inc

I m on the TL side
It is his job to monitor and deliver appropriate feedback, it is not HRs and a good HR department/person will realize this.

I have delivered I am sure hundreds of coaching sessions and observed thousands and never encountered a need to get involved with HR IMMEDIATELY. Next day if my agent would want to discuss it thats fine.

I really try to limit the exposure that my people get to HR. I want to be their "go to" person for any issues they may encounter. The exception being if they have a problem with me direclty. In this cause I say bring it to my boss, or HR if she/he can't help.

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