Working from home, (WFH), is set to be the next big revolution, even in the office centric Contact Center industry.

While I have been lucky enough to work from home for the last 20-years and experience the overwhelmingly positive effect this has had on my life, I think it’s fair to say that Australia has generally been slower to adopt the WFH workforce concept. Without doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the WFH landscape and the dynamics of business.  Businesses have been forced to offer their employees a WFH option and while the economic benefits of relinquishing sizeable city center office buildings are clear, there are shorter term investments required to meet Health & Safety and technology challenges.

Employees are under the microscope more than ever before as companies are looking to see if there is a marked drop in productivity and customer satisfaction, if not, they will force themselves to look for reasons to object to it conscientiously.  While the flexibility of these new working conditions is attractive to the employee, there is a minority that will find the experience isolating, and this will adversely affect productivity.

Short of running Zoom meetings with everyone on it for the entire working day, how do you keep an eye on the team?

How do you: –

  • Check staff are not suffering in silence or have issues that you are not aware of?
  • Determine that staff are carrying out their responsibilities as required of them?
  • Maintain a mentoring relationship with remote employees?

You could try adopting a concept from the development world of Agile Management, whereby you have a single daily ‘Stand-up’ meeting. 5-10 minutes, around the table, asking if anyone has any issues that they need help handling. Given the current situation however, people who are struggling will tend to keep quiet during these meetings for fear of repercussions. i.e., losing their job. It’s hard work to ensure that everyone feels supported enough to speak out even when they are not feeling the best.

Another technique is the virtual coffee, a regular time to have a coffee & a chat with staff individually. Talk about anything other than work so that you can gauge how they are coping.

Or you could try buddying up your staff. Have senior staff buddy with someone more junior and set them the task of having regular virtual coffees with their buddy.

When it comes to the Contact Center, there are lots of technological initiatives that you could consider bringing to the table to keep it running well during lock down and beyond.  One of the growing technologies in the Contact Centers arsenal of tools is Voice Analytics.

Once the prevue of Enterprise Contact Centers and millions of dollars in investment, now every Cloud Contact Centre has voice recording, and there are several analytics tools that can provide you with information on each interaction. Tools such as Call Journey, can not only tell you how the agent is performing against a script, but also the mood both the agent and the customer are in, how they are feeling and what they are discussing based on targeted words or phrases. In this current crisis being able to understand how concerned your staff are about COVID is extremely useful and having the Contact Centre do all the analysis for you is invaluable.

If you still think Voice Analytics is the domain of the big enterprise customers, it’s time to take another look.

If you want to create an air of friendly competition within your remote, dispersed Contact Center team, you may want to consider Gamification. The steady growth of the Gamification trend in the Contact Center industry is highlighted by the recent acquisition of nGUVU by Genesys. It allows for goals and KPIs to be set so that a friendly competition amongst the staff to achieve them can be had. Gamification is all about aligning the game to your Centers goals. Gamification doesn’t always need to use SMART goals, they can be fun competitions, number of coffee’s drunk during the day or buzz word bingo. Having a system that collates the information and keeps your staff informed of the progress makes Gamification a breeze.

If you want to gauge how your customers are feeling, consider using an automatic Surveying tool. It would be fair to say that some of you would consider Surveying an emotive issue. If a customer has not had their issue resolved then of course you would expect a bad score, but likewise if the customer is fully satisfied and happy with the way you have dealt with their issue, then they are likely to give an inflated score. And then there are those customers that will quite simply ignore the request to survey.

Demands on people’s time means 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. Providing your customers with various channels of access from Voice, Email to SMS, Survey Dynamix allows you to automate the process and get results quickly.

Let’s be honest, Contact Center Analytics will always be the poor cousin to sales and marketing metrics, and most of the time they are interpreted in their own silo. But with modern APIs and powerful BI platforms, the concept of a single pane of glass dashboard is now within reach of all companies, even those without a dedicated BI team.
The combination of Voice of the Customer data, Gamification results and mood metrics derived from Voice Analytics tools, can present a team leader or manager with an accurate picture of the current state of the Contact Center team, right down to how your staff are coping with the WFH revolution!

Furthermore, there is an increasing number of BI tools that will do all the watching for you, and even alert or act when your defined thresholds are met or exceeded. In a nutshell…with a sprinkle of some good old-fashioned communication and management skills and a dash of new technology, your Contact Center can operate optimally, even when your staff are not right in front of you.