Here are 14 innovative ideas that we picked up on a visit to Sky’s contact centre in Stockport.
1. Celebrate Successes With a Contact Centre Timeline
Sky aim to keep improving their contact centre in four key areas. These include:
“Engage Our People” – Attrition Rate, Absence Rate and Employee Engagement Survey Results
“Do the Right Thing” – Compliance (through Quality Monitoring)
“Deliver Great Service” – Net Promoter Score (NPS)
“Keep Our Customers” – Save Rate and Cost Per Save
Each of these four principles is marked on a large contact centre wall, which acts as a timeline and is decorated with photographs, art and graphics. These decorations mark the success of the contact centre in the four areas throughout the year.
For example, the “Engage Our People” section of the wall has photographs from team nights out and community charity fundraisers, Employee of the Month pictures, as well as graphs to celebrate good metric scores in this area.
2. Run “Get Set Go” Sessions at the Start of Each Day
During the first 10-15 minutes of the working day, Team Leaders grab a folder from the “Get Set Go” station and run through the activity referenced within the folder with their teams.
These activities may include quizzes, team-building games or educational activities, to help focus each advisor’s mind before they start to handle customer contacts.
Activities are designed personally by the Contact Centre Manager to encourage continuous coaching and knowledge development and to strengthen the team dynamics.
3. Run Refresher Training Sessions With New Products
Whenever Sky launch a new product/service, it is brought into the contact centre for advisors to test out for themselves in refresher training sessions.
By doing this, Sky’s advisors are gaining a real understanding of how to use the products for themselves, to better help customers with any problems related to that product.
For example, one of the contact centre training rooms was set aside for coaching advisors on how to use Sky Q, as shown below.
4. Follow These Simple Tips for Live Chat
As Sky’s contact centre in Stockport is live chat and messaging only, we were able to pick up a few expert tips that are given to advisors when they are using these channels. These include:
- Don’t feel the need to jump into customer silences, as an advisor may do on the phone. Give the customer the time to assess their options and don’t force other deals down the customer’s throat in the meantime.
- Only use emojis when the customer does, to help mirror the customer’s behaviour and build rapport.
- Remember that a customer may not mean to sound angry if they are using all CAPITALS. Avoid confusing this with enthusiasm.
To find out more tips like this, read our article: 10 Best Practices to Improve Live Chat
5. Run Two Peer-to-Peer Assessments Each Month
|Sky Fact File|
|Contact volume – per year||Live Chat: 370,000|
|Call Scoring||In House|
In an attempt to build an environment of knowledge sharing, Sky ask advisors to do two peer-to-peer quality monitoring assessments each month.
While this helps advisors to understand Sky’s quality criteria for themselves, it also lets them learn from one another, as they can listen to the techniques and language that others use that elicit a positive response from customers. Advisors can then think about using these skills in their future interactions with customers.
In addition, if advisors listen to a call that is a really great example of customer service, they can nominate the advisor for an Employee of the Month Award or even a Shine Award.
The Shine Awards are a contact centre-wide annual event. There is also a Believe in Better Awards show, which involves every Sky department and is presented by VIP Sky News/Sports presenters.
6. Provide Monthly Buddy Books
In their contact centre, Sky have a calendar that highlights all the big shows/events that are going to be broadcast that month, so the team are made aware of any expected peaks in call volumes.
By doing this, the team can better prepare for the call types that are expected to come in. This preparation includes giving advisors “buddy books” at the beginning of each month.
“Buddy books” include a section on what advisors can expect that month (in terms of call types), an overview of the month’s content to come, call handling tips and much more. This is done primarily to improve rapport building, while ensuring that advisors are kept up to speed with Sky’s ever-changing content.
7. Add a “Skills Matrix” Section to Your Employee Questionnaires
Contact centre advisors at Sky are asked to complete a seven-question survey every month and a longer 20-question survey on an annual basis.
However, the annual survey also includes a “Skills Matrix” question, where advisors are asked to note some of their hobbies that might be put to use in the contact centre. This is in the hope that offering advisors the chance to handle a duty that is closely linked to their interests will boost their happiness and engagement.
For example, an advisor once said that they enjoyed art/drawing, so the Contact Centre Manager went to them for insight when redesigning the contact centre’s walls.
As well as these surveys, the company run monthly Recognition Think Tanks, in which groups of 12 advisors discuss ideas for how to improve the contact centre environment.
One idea taken from this was to allow advisors to listen to their own music, through personal headphones, which is currently in a four-week trial period.
8. Appoint LGBT and BAME Reps
Developing a strong community has been a key focus for Sky, and to create a culture of inclusivity, Sky have appointed a number of reps to build awareness of a number of causes throughout the contact centre.
Two notable appointments, among many, include a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rep and a Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) rep, who both plan and organise events to help raise awareness in the contact centre and beyond. This makes sure that everyone feels represented.
Another example of a rep who is included in the Sky Family Tree, as highlighted below, is an Employee Forum rep. It is this person’s responsibility to come to management with ideas for how the contact centre can realistically do more for their employees.
9. Hire an Occupational Therapist to Improve Recruitment
Having increased in size from 40 advisors to over 300 in just two years, Sky’s Stockport contact centre came up with an innovative recruitment plan.
The contact centre hired an Occupational Therapist to get a taste for the job and to consider which personality traits are best suited to the role.
Then, the therapist was able to inform the contact centre’s recruitment team of what should be included in their recruitment material and where the job positions should be advertised to best attract the right kinds of personalities.
The contact centre believes that this strategy was key in its improving employee engagement survey results, while also being a factor behind attrition rates dropping by 5% and absenteeism rates falling by 7%, year-on-year.
10. Tailor the Induction Packages Given to New Recruits
New recruits are given a “Welcome to the Team” pack, which is filled with an assortment of merchandise, such as stationery, a written note and a Game of Thrones thermos (which we were very excited about!).
However, the pack also included a free subscription to Now TV, which is not only a great gift, but – as Now TV is affiliated with Sky – it is also a great way to encourage job-related learning outside of the contact centre.
This is because if Sky can encourage the team to watch the programmes that they broadcast, it can help advisors build rapport with customers who mention that they are interested in similar shows to them.
For example, if a customer really liked one show, an advisor who also enjoys the show can say: “If you liked X show, you’ll love Y show”. This may lead to the customer becoming invested in another show on the network, which may boost their happiness in Sky’s offering.
11. Create Short Videos on Phones
Sky encourage their contact centre advisors to download an app called Seenit Capture, which allows the team to create short videos from their phones.
These videos can be added to an overall video montage, which is put together by one of the team who said that they have an interest in creating videos when filling out the annual employee survey.
The videos are then added to Sky’s YouTube channel, including the one highlighted below, which shows Sky employees supporting their LGBT colleagues at London Pride 2016:
The contact centre also has a private Facebook group and a chatter page to help build a community and reduce email traffic, as advisors can share advice amongst themselves, as opposed to emailing their Team Leader or Contact Centre Manager.
12. Offer Child AND Elderly Care Vouchers to the Team
To offer more support to advisors, provide a greater work–life balance and manage stress, Sky have put together a “Grow” programme to better support staff.
This programme includes six free emergency childcare vouchers every year, so team members can find last-minute emergency childcare in emergency situations. These vouchers can also be used for elderly care, in case an advisor is desperate to find support for an elderly relative.
In addition, the “Grow” programme includes a support number for advisors to call for advice and help if suffering from a mental illness or a disability.
There is also a brief created specifically for advisors, giving relevant advice for how to manage stress, receive additional support and achieve a happy work–life balance.
13. Make Your Own “Stacey’s Corner”
It is the job of Stacey Hill, the Head of Sales Operations at Sky, to ensure morale is high in the contact centre and to focus on commercial performance. Luckily, Stacey believes that the two are closely linked.
So, Stacey created “Stacey’s Corner” to broadcast commercial and performance statistics to the team, and she asks Team Leaders to regularly pay “Stacey’s Corner” a visit to look for any peaks and gaps in both areas.
By doing so, Team Leaders can think about any activities that they ran with their teams or advice that they gave them which caused an upsurge in quality, customer happiness and/or commercial performance.
Conversely, Team Leaders can also look for dips in performance and try to understand what might have caused the fall in performance, in order to try to improve customer service.
14. Get Creative in the Run-Up to Big Events
While it is not unusual for contact centres to bring festive joy into the contact centre in an effort to boost atmosphere, enthusiasm and morale, the way Sky’s contact centre celebrated last year’s Christmas was certainly different.
The Contact Centre Manager hired an actor to play the Grinch and cause chaos around the contact centre, as shown in the video below.
In addition, Sky gave its advisors a stocking, for which team members could choose items from a catalogue and add them to their stocking, which, in total, were worth up to £40.
Thank you to Sky for facilitating our visit to their Stockport contact centre.
But what about you? Do you fancy showing off your contact centre?
If so, you can contact: firstname.lastname@example.org and maybe we will see you soon!