294 contact centre professionals responded to our ‘What Contact Centres Are Doing Right Now’ 2022 survey report, sponsored by NICE, where we asked ‘What Initiatives Do You Currently Have in the Contact Centre?’
What Initiatives Do You Currently Have in the Contact Centre?
|Contact Centre Initiative||Have %||On Wish List %||Don’t Have %|
|Annualised Hours / Banked Hours||37.8%||10.8%||51.4%|
|Personalised Call Routing||33.2%||27.1%||39.7%|
|Self-Help Customer Videos||31%||28.1%||40.9%|
Multiskilling, Advisor Empowerment and Self-Help Customer Videos
With the return to the office, there is a notable decrease in contact centres running initiatives focused on advisor empowerment. In the last 12 months this has reduced by 14.2%, from 51.4% in 2021 to 44.1%, closer to the pre-pandemic figures of 48.8% in 2018 and 47.9% in 2019.
There is also a slight reduction in the number of contact centres offering self-help customer videos and multiskilling agents. The use of self-help customer videos has reduced by 3.4% to 31.0% and contact centres multiskilling agents has decreased by 1% to 86.7%.
This could be due to a multitude of factors. However, most likely it is because the frantic time for contact centres is coming to an end, and they are re-evaluating their priorities, with employees returning to the office and developing new strategic plans from the lessons learned in the past two years.
A Change in Focus on Work–Life Balance
Interestingly, the use of annualized hours decreased by 7.6% to 37.8%, flexible shifts reduced by 12.4% to 49.3%, and unpaid leave also crept down by 1.2% to 70.9%.
Last year, contact centres seemed to be shifting their approach to providing advisors with a better work– life balance.
This year’s results suggest that these initiatives are reducing in popularity, potentially due to employees returning to the office. Alternatively, these initiatives aimed at improving work–life balance are increasingly being catered for in their workforce management and shift strategies.
Another equally possible scenario is that contact centres are returning to the basic principles of direct rewards to combat employee resignation and improve engagement. This is supported by the 38.6% and 41.1% jump in the use of spot prizes and motivational games, respectively, as well as the slight increase in the use of sales commission.
Prizes and Games on the Rise
Last year the use of spot prizes and motivational games reached an all-time low, with only 23.6% of contact centres playing motivational games and just 32.1% awarding prizes.
This year these have swiftly come back into popularity, with 44.5% of contact centres now awarding spot prizes and 33.3% playing motivational games.
Although these aren’t quite at their 2015 figures of 52.8% and 47.1%, respectively, the significant rise from last year could suggest a shift in how contact centres are inspiring performance improvements and engaging with staff.
Alternatively, the increase in the number of contact centres offering these incentives could be a result of the return to the office, which makes providing spot prizes and playing motivational games far easier than with a remote workforce.
Buddying Down but Social Events Up
Contact centres appear to be taking advantage of the opportunity for social events, which unsurprisingly dropped during 2020 and 2021, with 56.9% of contact centres now offering social events, up 21.0% from 47.0% (its lowest point in the last seven years).
With staff engagement and motivation necessary to retain staff, making the working environment
appealing appears to be a focus point for contact centres.
Oddly, buddying advisors is at its lowest point, with just 54.9% of contact centres offering this initiative. With the return to the office, we expected to see this rise again in line with the pre-lockdown numbers; instead it has dropped by 12.7%.
It is possible that contact centres have used the lessons learned from the pandemic to improve employee training and support processes, as well as implement technological solutions to enhance the customer journey, making buddying a less appealing option.
This survey was done in partnership with NICE