Illustration by Eric Jackson

March definitely came in like a lion in many parts of the country. But when the weather is lousy, it’s a good time to catch up on your reading. Many of our Pipeline readers did just that over the past few weeks. Scheduling was a hot topic this month, as was culture, how to handle the customer experience moment of truth, and insights on building trust with contact center agents.

10 Tips to Improve Agent Scheduling
Work in a contact center for any length of time and it soon becomes apparent that the largest capital expenditure is in staff. Agents are both the center’s greatest asset and greatest expense. Agents are lost through the natural attrition process, call patterns change and leave holes in the work day, or it’s a beautiful day to head to the beach and unplanned absences skyrocket.

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Scheduling with WFM
Workforce management (WFM) technology has developed alongside the contact center, coming a long way from the single-channel scheduling tool it once was. WFM helps people-intensive organizations plan and efficiently schedule their workforce to improve customer service as well as better meet the needs of employees.

Leaders: Managing the Culture Is Your Job
Over the past few years, there has been a growing awareness among top-level executives about the impact of culture on business success. Yet the responsibility for managing the culture is still a murky area—especially when leaders’ job descriptions and incentives are focused primarily on productivity and results, and not on building workplace trust and respect. Thus, in the day-to-day workplace, leaders tend to consider culture issues as irrelevant and not a part of their jobs.

The Moment of Truth
My flight just got canceled, and I have to make it home tonight to attend my daughter’s holiday dance recital. Or maybe, after 17 years of paying premiums, I have to file my first claim. Or, maybe my PC is all locked up, and I’ve got a key client deliverable due in two hours. I need to call. I won’t text, or email, or post or tweet this one. I won’t even check your app or website to see if I can self-serve. This time, I need to call.

A Culture of Trust
Few doubt the importance of trust in the success of a contact center. It is one of those foundational elements that may be difficult to isolate, but it has an impact on nearly every measured result. Agents need to trust in their leaders, to believe they are not only competent but will take agent perspectives into account when making key decisions. And leaders need to show trust in the staff they hired to perform the critical job of serving the customer.