Business in a WFH Environment

So, it appears that Working From Home (WFH) is starting to look like the next revolution, after this Pandemic is over, even in the office-centric Contact Centre Industry. Having been a home worker for the last 20 years, I hope that a number of my friends in the industry can finally see the positive effect this can have on life. The dynamic of business is changing, and even larger organisations are seriously looking at this forced experiment in Home Working and seeing both the benefits and the opportunities for their staff working from home. While the economic benefits of clearing out sizeable city-centre office buildings and the associated leases are clear, but there may be some Health and Safety and Technology challenges that require short term investment. Companies will be looking to see if there is a marked drop in productivity and customer satisfaction from this enforced worldwide lockdown, and if not, they will force themselves to look at the reasons for objecting to it conscientiously. From the staff’s perspective, for most the flexibility of the working conditions is attractive, provided they have the correct equipment and support. That said there is a minority of staff that will find the experience isolating, and this will affect productivity. Short of running a Zoom session with everyone on it for the working day, how do you keep an eye on the team?

How do you?

  • Check Staff are not suffering in silence and having issues you are not aware of
  • Determine that staff are carrying out their duties as required
  • Customers are being satisfied with the service they are receiving.
  • Maintain that mentoring relationship with staff over diverse geography.

One solution is having a daily stand up meeting, a concept from the development world of Agile Management. These tend to be 5 to 10 minutes meeting, around the table, asking if anyone has any issues that need to be handled. Given the current situation, people who are struggling tend to keep quiet during these meetings for fear of losing their jobs. You have to push to make sure they are all feeling supported, and feel able to speak out when not feeling the best.

Another technique is the virtual coffee. Organise a regular time to have a coffee via Video Conference, with staff individually. Talk about everything other than work. That way, you can gauge how they are coping.

Buddy up staff. You cannot be spending all day checking on the team, but you can match people up. Get more senior staff to take people under their wing as such. People tend to have a least one person they talk to in a company environment, pair them up. Set them the task of having a virtual coffee on a regular basis.

There are also many technological initiatives you can bring in to help keep the contact centre running well during this lockdown, and beyond.

  • Voice Analytics
  • Gamification
  • Surveying
  • Single Pane of Glass Dashboards

Voice Analytics 

One of the growing technologies in the Contact Centre’s arsenal of tools is Voice Analytics. Once the prevue of Enterprise Contact Centres and Millions of Dollars in investment, now every Cloud Contact Centre has voice recording, and there are some analytics tools to provide the information on each interaction. Tools such as Call Journey, not only can tell you how the agent is performing, against a script but also the mood they and the customer are in, how they are feeling, what they are discussing with customers and with themselves in terms of targeted phrases or words. In this current crisis being able to see how concerned about COVID your staff are is extremely useful. Having the contact centre do all the analysis for you is invaluable. IF you think Voice Analytics is the domain of the big enterprise customers today, it’s time to take another look.

Gamification

One thing is to create an air of friendly competition in the team. Gamification has been a growing trend in the Contact industry, highlighted by the recent acquisition of nGUVU by Genesys. It allows for goals and KPIs to be set and then have a friendly competition amongst the staff to achieve them. It is aligning the game to your Centre’s Goals. Gamification doesn’t always need to use SMART goals. They can be fun competitions, coffee’s drunk during the day, buzz word bingo and the such like, but having a system to collate the information and keep your staff informed of progress, makes gamification a breeze.

Surveying

Using an automatic surveying tool to get the customers feelings is also a good step. Some of you will say Surveying is an emotive issue. If someone has not had their issue resolved, of course, they are going to give a bad score, and they might also provide an inflated score if they are in a happy mood. Many customers even ignore the request to survey. Demands on the time of people, mean that surveying should target the right people and the proper interactions. Even with that said, Survey engines, like Survey Dynamix, make surveys and the interpretation of data accessible. It also gives you a cornerstone of the Voice of the Customer, by providing information like NPS and CSAT. You can provide your customers, with various channels of access from Voice, Email to SMS, Survey Dynamix allows you to automate the process, and get the results quickly.

Single Pane of Glass Dashboards

Let’s be fair, Contact Centre Analytics is always the poor cousin to sales and marketing metrics, and most of the time interpreted in their own silo. But with modern APIs and the power of currently available BI platforms, the concept of a single pane of glass dashboards is now in the reach of all companies, even those without a dedicated BI team.

By Matching up the Voice of the Customer Data, with gamification results, along with the mood metrics derived from the Voice Analytics, tools like eMite / Power BI can present a team leader or a manager with the current state of the contact centre or team, even down to how your staff are coping with the WFH revolution we are in the middle of currently.

Not only that, but there is an increasing number of BI tools, that will do the watching for you, and alert or act when your defined thresholds are met or exceeded.

So, by using some old fashioned excellent communication, and management skill, along with the use of some of the myriad of technologies currently available to us, Contact Centres can work, even if your staff are not right in front of you.