TOP 5 Contact Center Tips for 2016
Illustration by Barbara Marsillac

Our Quick Tips posts are just that—brief posts providing advice or actionable items from industry experts. These are tried-and-true practices that have proven successful for the provider, and which can be implemented across a large variety of operations. The following were the 5 most-read Quick Tips in 2016.

Quick Tip: Promote Agents with the Right Qualities
While many top-performing contact center agents desire opportunities for growth and development, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re cut out to be supervisors or coaches. Even so, in many centers promotions are still based on performance. Putting in place a more stringent selection process for supervisors or team leads can help to identify those top performers who have the right leadership qualities.

Quick Tip: Act on Employee Feedback
Berlin Packaging has a long history of business success, which its leaders attribute largely to its focus on employee engagement and a culture of shared commitment to “Being Greater, Faster.” It’s a culture that was developed more than 20 years ago when the company adopted a set of values to govern the employer-employee relationship, says Senior Manager of Business Development and Strategy Paul Mansour.

Quick Tip: End Team Huddles on a Positive Note
Taking the time to show frontline agents how much they’re valued is a critical role for the center management team—or should be. Jill Houghland, senior operations manager at InterCall, and a finalist for ICMI’s 2015 Best Contact Center Manager Award, points out that management can’t always impact significant daily change on agents’ pay or time off, so they need to find different ways to show appreciation.

Quick Tip: How to Prevent Hiring Failures
I often ask leaders of award-winning contact centers what they think is the key strength of their operation. They almost always point to their people. Many also stress that the “secret sauce” is hiring the right type of service staff—those who are enthusiastic, positive and who demonstrate a passion for helping customers. These companies typically adhere to a rigorous hiring process and the managers never settle for less than excellent.

Quick Tip: Engage Supervisors with Targeted QM Goals
In centers that suffer from high absenteeism, you’ll typically find disengaged supervisors. Like agents, supervisors who are performing the same coaching tasks day in and day out can get into a rut. Disengaged supervisors can quickly infect a high-performing team by dispensing repetitive, mechanical feedback that makes agents feel that their efforts are not valued. Using a standardized process that requires supervisors to give feedback routinely often makes the situation worse.