Top 5 Posts in September

Illustration by Eric Jackson

Contact center professionals are already gearing up for the holiday season and beyond. One of our five most-read blog posts in September provided timely advice for those ramping up for the peak season with tips for training seasonal agents to deliver customer service like your veterans. Other topics included an inside look at Valvoline’s collaborative, people-focused environment, three things to avoid when engaging with millennial customers in your contact center, ideas for cost-cutting projects that can be turned around in six to nine months, and a look at why proactive customer engagement can increase customer sales, satisfaction and retention.

Inside View: Valvoline
It has often been said that motor oil is the lifeblood of an automobile engine. While professional drivers and automobile enthusiasts know that using the right lubricant is essential for a well-performing engine, most daily drivers may not understand the technology behind the different types of motor oil or how to choose the right product. Fortunately, the award-winning customer care team at Valvoline™ is well-versed in these types of topics and much more.

The Secret to Training Seasonal Agents
“They are just temps,” said one contact center manager describing his seasonal agents. “They will be gone in a couple of months!” That condescending attitude was reflected in the seasonal team’s environment. They were crammed into an abandoned conference room filled with computers, phones and wires. This “seasonal contact center” was separate from the “normal center” where permanent, full-time agents had nice desks. Does this sound familiar? There is nothing wrong with hiring short-term staff to handle holiday call volumes. The secret is how to properly train and support them.

3 Mistakes Contact Centers Are Making That Turn Away Millennial Customers
When it comes to brands, millennials are not lacking for options. The first generation raised on digital tools, the ability to research and choose among thousands of search results is second nature. This has fundamentally changed the nature of their relationships with businesses, as they now favor experience over function. The 1:1 relationship—the interactions that millennials have with brands—are just as important, if not more so, than whatever it is the brand is selling. Your traditional levers of customer loyalty (price, quality, advertising) might be competitive, but if the customer experience you’re providing isn’t unique or engaging—there are plenty of other brands with similar offerings to choose from.

To a More Cost-Efficient 2018
Many of you reading this are likely in the throes of it right now: the annual budgeting process. You are being pressured to “do more with less,” and you will be held accountable for everything you agree to during this period (and yes, even some things that you never agreed to). It’s a hectic period, but one that requires patience and precision. Everyone has ideas for cost-cutting in a contact center, and some of them are actually viable. Typically, though, the best ones require a lot of planning, investment and time. While there is nothing wrong with these larger projects, they aren’t going to get the job done for 2018.

What Does Proactive Customer Engagement Feel Like?
Are you capturing prospective customers effectively, or simply letting fate take its course, hoping to close new business using traditional approaches and metrics? How about retaining existing customers? Are your traditional methods keeping up with customer needs and changing demographics? Proactive engagement is proven to not only improve new sales closure rates but to also increase existing customer sales, satisfaction and retention. I’ll share some personal examples to demonstrate what proactive customer engagement feels like, as well as the difference when it’s not in play.