Top 5 Posts in October

Illustration by Eric Jackson

This month, thoughts of the graveyard were on the minds of workforce management professionals—graveyard shifts, that is. Our most popular post in October, by Human Numbers’ Tiffany LaReau, offers scheduling advice for overnight shifts in the contact center. Other top-read topics looked at how to use employee and customer communities to drive innovation; how to ease the transition to customer support chatbots; thoughts on conversational skills in the contact center by PowerHouse Consulting’s Kathleen Peterson; and tips for disaster-proofing your virtual training class against technical difficulties.

Scheduling Tip: How to Treat Night and Graveyard Shifts
There might be a sticky situation buried in the way you have to treat day, night and graveyard shifts. Night shifts might pay a little higher than day shifts, and graveyard (overnight) shifts might pay even higher than the night shifts. This extra money is a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee, and that’s fine. The gray area happens around the threshold boundaries for those type of shifts.

The Value of Communities
I always find it interesting to talk with leaders of customer-centric companies about the strategies and practices that contribute to their success. Lately, I’ve noticed that there is one thing that almost every leader has emphasized about their company mission: A keen focus on innovation. For these companies, innovation is not simply another corporate value statement; it is regarded as an integral element of the everyday culture.

Digital Colleagues: Friend or Foe?
It might be time for some of us in the customer service industry to start dusting off our resumes. There’s new, tough competition for customer service jobs and they’re on 24/7/365. They never take a break, never go on vacation, they don’t even require benefits. They’re not just after customer service jobs either, look out sales, marketing, and even HR recruitment: digital employees, often in the form of chatbots, have entered the workforce and there’s no looking back.

Mastering the “Fine Art” of Conversation in a Digital World
The idiom “fine art” (first half of the 1800s) is defined in the “American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms” as “something requiring highly developed techniques and skills.” Conversation certainly qualifies as “fine art.” Unfortunately, it appears that the fine art of conversation is at risk in today’s digital world. I have been reading the book, “Reclaiming Conversation,” by Sherry Turkle, and it makes me think that contact center leaders are facing a new threat.

Planning for Disaster: 5 Tips for a Bulletproof Virtual Training Plan
Nothing can short-circuit an online class faster than “technical difficulties.” I’ve seen so many talented facilitators prepped and ready to deliver their carefully planned content—only to lose control of the classroom due to a glitch. To be a successful virtual trainer, it’s crucial to understand the interdependence of technology and content. Your plan must include ways to prevent or manage the inevitable technology problem. You don’t need an IT degree—you just need a plan.