Cameron Smith of Genesys discusses how supervisors and team leaders can better employee engagement in the contact centre.
The role of the supervisor is perhaps the most difficult in the contact centre. Supervisors ensure their teams provide exceptional customer service, and they empower their employees to be effective, engaged stewards of the company.
Also, supervisors need to adapt to business changes rapidly and seamlessly. It’s a big job—and you can’t tackle it with outdated management styles and ineffective tools.
Fortunately, contact centre supervisors can make changes today to become better coaches.
1. Replace Optimisation With Employee Engagement
By 2025, millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. These modern employees are less inclined to stay at a job if they don’t feel connected to what they’re doing. This lack of engagement leads to higher employee turnover, sub-par customer experience and a significant impact on your company’s bottom line.
Historically, contact centres have focused on optimisation. Businesses became experts on eking out the last ounce of productivity from employees. With mounting evidence that engagement matters, contact centre managers need to shift their focus.
The Gartner report “The Essential Shift from Workforce Optimization to Workforce Engagement Management” states: “Traditional operational management techniques will increasingly fail over the next few years. A shift of focus to employee engagement is essential to ensure employee loyalty and elevated customer experiences.”
Employee engagement starts with an effective contact centre supervisor—a coach who takes the time to nurture and guide employees.
Offering employees sporadic guidance isn’t enough. It’s time to use personalised insights, based on trends drawn from actual interactions; you need to provide one-on-one feedback to help employees grow and keep them engaged. To do this, you need the right tools.
2. Stop Whispering—Start Coaching
While it’s easy to talk about what contact centre managers should do to engage employees, determining an actionable plan seems daunting.
Old-school contact centre tools enabled supervisors to listen in on employee interactions and “whisper” guidance to them. This method is outdated and unviable; it’s a distraction to employees and it makes them feel monitored—not nurtured.
Modern contact centre technology offers quality management tools and provides real-time metrics on queues and employee performance. Adding transcription and speech analytics gives you an unparalleled view into customer and employee interactions, including filters for emotion or sentiment and specific words or phrases.
These are the types of insight that contact centre supervisors need to spot issues and opportunities to effectively coach and motivate employees.
For example, if you notice a spike in your average handle time on a high-level dashboard, you might click into a seasonal holiday queue to see what’s happening. There, you notice one of your employees has consistently long interaction times. From here, you want to learn more about those interactions.
Perhaps a knowledge gap is causing longer resolution times for technical issues. Or maybe this employee is up-selling customers on special holiday promotions, leaving them excited about their purchases and thrilled with their service experience.
When you’re able to listen in on current and past interactions, you can form a more complete picture of your employees’ performance, strengths and weaknesses. Then you can tailor your feedback to provide superior training and coaching.
3. Go from Managing to Empowering
This shift from optimisation to engagement is gaining ground, but it isn’t mainstream yet. Companies have a rare opportunity to gain a competitive edge by focusing on employee engagement and empowerment now.
The empowerment component will become increasingly important as emerging technologies change the type of interactions that employees must handle.
Soon, simple requests will be addressed more consistently through self-service or non-human methods like chatbots. This means that the interactions that will be routed to human employees will become more complex—requiring employees to be knowledgeable, nimble and confident.
To set up your contact centre for future success, engage, coach and empower your employees now. Make sure teams are equipped and motivated to resolve problems faster and create effortless customer experiences. Your employees, customers and bottom line will thank you.