Peacemaking and performance management: the system your contact center needs

by Business Case Studies on Monday 13th November, 2017

Believe it or not, but in a contact center there can exist a divide between management and frontline agents. Generally speaking, this can be traced back to a difference in professional motivations. Managers and other decision-makers are motivated to get the best results for their team and for the organization overall, because that is their job. Frontline agents, on the other hand, are motivated to get the best results for themselves, because that is what gets them the best pay.

But wait, you might think. If frontline agents get the best results for themselves, won’t that produce the best results for their team and organization overall? There you have it: with the right system in place, the divide between management and agents can actually be common ground.

Performance, managed

Sales and customer service these days are complex, high-pressure processes with myriad channels involved and immense amounts of data as a result. What a performance management system does is put a contact center back in control of that data by tracking, and then analyzing it in order to turn it into actionable insights, ones that improve sales and/or customer service performance for individual agents and for the organization as a whole.

A leading performance management system provides managers with automated reports centered around selected goals, metrics and key performance indicators and gives frontline agents a personalized dashboard that provides them with real-time visibility into their own performance, including comparisons with coworkers. Such a system will also include an impressive array of coaching capabilities, including coach the coach modals, and e-learning opportunities for agents. Before any organization goes barreling headlong into a performance management system, however, there are a few important tips to keep in mind when introducing one to a contact center in order to reap the biggest CSAT score improvements while keeping employees happy all at the same time.

Tip #1: choose a system that works for your contact center

If organizations regularly took the time to select the right performance management system for their contact centers, this wouldn’t be a tip, but they don’t, so it is. The first decision that likely needs to be made is between on-premise, and in the cloud. For contact centers not dealing with complex compliance regulations, a cloud-based system will probably be best. Regardless of which type of deployment is preferred, make sure your system promises easy scalability.

After that decision is made, it’s a matter of selecting a system that is usable. If managers or agents can’t be bothered with a fussy system, it will fail, and the promised measurable improvements will never materialize. Look for a system with an intuitive user interface that doesn’t require any special technical skills. You’ll also need a system that supports all major platforms and databases and integrates easily with any third-party applications your contact center is already using or may use in the future.

Tip #2: emphasize the opportunity for agents

A performance management system is a delicate thing to introduce to frontline agents. This is a system designed to analyze the minutiae of frontline agents’ performances and send regular reports to their managers, and that can feel like a nerve-wracking thing.

However, a performance management system offers an unprecedented opportunity for frontline agents to take control of their jobs, and when handled correctly this system is empowering and engaging. Keep agents informed on the system that is being put into use and offer training that demonstrates the tailored performance improvement (and salary maximizing) tools like quizzes and gamification.

Tip #3: make use of the coaching the coach capabilities

Don’t fall into the trap of only using the built-in coaching modals designed to optimize the performance of frontline agents. While these built-in automated coaching workflows and tools allow for valuable targeted coaching for groups as well as individual employees, leading performance management systems will include a coaching the coach modal designed to get the best possible performance out of coaches. Your coaches were hired for their training skills and expertise, and those skills need to be continuously refined and enhanced in order to be most effective, and embedded trainer training tools makes that as easy as possible. (Some systems will even allow for coaching feedback, which is another way to empower frontline agents.)

Tip #4: don’t get caught up in hindsight

With automated reports, scorecards and even root cause analytics, managers and supervisors can easily access all the information necessary to assess a department, team or agent’s performance over a given period. However, there’s a reason performance reviews aren’t always all that effective, and it’s because they often come too late to rectify any actual issues or inspire any measurable improvement. A performance management system arms managers with everything they need in order to provide on-the-fly feedback and spontaneous, timely coaching that can actually affect change. A leading system can also automatically alert managers to emerging situations, making it possible for customer experiences to be salvaged and for valuable real-time training or corrective feedback to take place.

A contact center united

At the end of the day, everyone in a contact center wants to be successful. Frontline agents want to go home knowing they’re meeting or exceeding goals and earning any related bonuses, and managers want to go home knowing they inspired excellent performances in their frontline agents, thereby meeting or exceeding organizational goals and keeping that all-important customer experience top-notch. All it takes is the right performance management system for everyone to realize just how much they have in common. After all, who doesn’t love it when computers make their jobs easier? No one working in a contact center where data flows like the Nile, that’s for sure.

 

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