Manage Your Workforce Like It's 2017, Not 1995
The business of customer support is ever-changing. Over the years, customers have changed channels (migrating from land line phone to mobile app or chat, for example), changed whether they want even their simpler transactions to happen with a human agent (they don’t, usually) and changed their priorities in what they’re looking for in a customer experience (ease and convenience rather than price). The business of customer support is still changing, and as we begin a new year, it’s worthwhile taking a look to see if your organization is headed in the right direction. Chances are, it’s not moving in the direction you think it is as quickly as it should be
In a recent article for Forbes, contributor Michael Wood cited a book by Jay Baer that noted that, because most companies are still using playbooks from the 1990s, 80 percent of businesses think they deliver superior customer service, while only 8 percent of customers agree.
“Many companies see customer service as a necessary evil when it fact it needs to be a staple of their businesses,” wrote Wood.
Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that many companies are still using outdated methods of workforce management to build schedules, maintain adherence and meet unexpected events in the contact center, like spikes in call volume or illnesses. They may also be using outdated metrics such as average handle time (AHT) to measure performance instead of more quality-related metrics such as first contact resolution (FCR).
“Most people just want to be heard. When you fail to let someone finish telling you their complaint, it appears that you don’t really care about the issue,” wrote Wood. “When it comes to dealing with complaints, take the time to listen carefully to the unhappy customer.”
This means you need to be really flexible with your workforce. Rather than rebuking employees for taking “too long” on a call, be sure you’re judging performance on the right thing. Was the call a success? Could it have been a success in the two minutes or less you’re hoping all calls will take?
Choosing a flexible, cloud-based workforce management solution that works across geographic sites, satellite offices and mobile devices is critical if you’re going to help your agent pool be as flexible and helpful as you need them to be today. It’s also critical that you take into consideration self-service technologies, which may actually integrate with your human workforce and affect the frequency, duration and speed of calls (Increasingly, chat bots like Facebook (News - Alert) Messenger are handling routine inquiries and then passing calls to human agents when things get too complex for automation. (See Forbes contributor Loren Baker’s take on AI chat bots here.)
If you’re still managing your workforce like it’s 1995, there is no way you’re going to be able to please your customer base – or keep your workforce – in 2017. Ensure your workforce management is helping rather than hindering your efforts to support today’s customers.
Edited by Alicia Young