My favorite definition of productivity is “the effectiveness of effort”. In my humble opinion, volume of work doesn’t directly correlate with productivity. Instead, it should really be measured by the quality of output, the customer experience and the effectiveness of transactions.
Coincidentally, when it comes to contact centers, many of the tools used to measure performance and productivity are heavily focused on volume of activity, metrics such as the number of customer interactions, the amount of time a rep is idle, how often an agent is available, missed calls, you get the gist.
So, how do you shift the evaluation to more qualitative measures?
Well, there are several ways to do just that using contact center tools available in the industry today.
1. Call recordings
“This call is being recorded for quality assurance”. We’re all accustomed to hearing that when contacting a service provider for support. Universally, people act quite a bit differently when they are aware they’re being recorded, especially employees. Call recording provides a simple way to ensure your call center is performing at the highest level. With most cloud-based Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions, calls can be recorded automatically, and recordings can be accessed online for agents to listen to. Much like musicians that record and listen to a song multiple times before making the final cut, employees are often their own worst critics when hearing calls played back, resulting in the desire to improve their own performance.
2. Monitor, whisper, barge-in
Contact center managers now have the ability to be front and center, fine‑tuning agent‑customer interactions. Supervisors can listen in on random calls without the agent or the customer’s knowledge. An even more instrumental capability, is something called the whisper feature, which allows managers to talk directly to agents privately during calls without the customer knowing a supervisor is even on the line. If things do get heated, the barge-in feature is clutch, allowing supervisors to enter two-way audio conversations to speak directly to both parties.
When thinking about contact centers, most people think of big office buildings with open cubes and high noise levels. While this can provide a great environment to supervise and monitor physical activity, it’s not always optimal for productivity. Enabling the option for agents to work from home or other locations allows you to recruit the best talent across the globe and enable more time zones to be covered without the cost of remote offices. Many people today work more productively from home or locations where they can get into their “zone” and have a conversation with a customer without interruption.
Finally, and something that is often overlooked, is the commitment to increase your agent’s awareness of their personal impact on the reputation and success of your business. Share your business plans and results from your CSAT (customer satisfaction) surveys with them. Get them involved more deeply in business reviews with large clients so they feel more integrated into the business and understand they are a key part of it. Engagement, paired with the right underlying technologies, can go a long way to increasing productivity and your bottom line.
Scott Yelton is head of product management for OfficeSuite UC® at Windstream Enterprise, where he is responsible for management of growth and lifecycle for the company’s leading UCaaS solution. He has over 21 years of experience in the telecommunications industry. Prior to Windstream, Scott was the Director of Product Development and Strategy for both Earthlink and Deltacom, where he had also led sales Engineering. He began his career in telecom in sales and sales management roles for Sprint and BTI Communications. Scott is a graduate of Appalachian State University with a degree in marketing and management.
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