Winning with Employee Experience in the Contact Center Industry
Challenges faced in 2020 by organizations across the globe reinforced the importance of strong core capabilities and investment in people and technology. After more than a full year of BPOs operating contact centers in a 100% virtual environment, there have been some key learnings and takeaways that will continue to impact the customer care industry for years to come.
In a recent blog post, we highlighted key engagement drivers for at-home employee models, including flexible scheduling and virtual communities. Creating a positive employee experience may sound simple, but it can be challenging to replicate the energy and culture from the contact center environment and beam it into each associate’s home.
Engagement is all about making sure employees feel their voices are heard, while creating a positive and fun environment where they are excited to work every day. By actively communicating with associates and taking their insights into consideration when making changes and decisions, they feel like a more active part of the team, improving overall productivity and morale.
Understanding what associates in various geographic markets value can help you tailor incentives and activities to these unique needs and interests. For example, some teams might want to take part in Friday afternoon virtual karaoke to cap off the week, while others might prefer public recognition for a job well done. Knowing your employees is an important step in helping them feel engaged and appreciated.
Culture is a key factor in driving employee engagement, and ultimately leads the path to employee empowerment and belonging. Leveraging virtual platforms to acknowledge, recognize, and coach associates is important in keeping your company culture alive in the remote environment.
A successful at-home culture connects associates from across the globe, and injects pieces of your brand into their homes. Associates are a true extension of their customer care program, so it’s important that they feel connected with your brand on a daily basis. Simple acts like collaborating to send a brand-specific product or swag items to each customer service associate when they complete training can have a big impact on employee satisfaction and performance.
Technology platforms like Superpunch Team Rooms can help bring your culture to life in associates’ homes, empowering team members to connect with their leaders and teams, and engage in coaching sessions, video calls, or virtual team lunches.
Creating the opportunity for recognition through virtual cards is another great way to keep teams connected. Team members can give their peers shout-outs for doing a great job, thank them for their help, or just write a quick message to say hello.
Providing opportunities for associates to improve their mental health is another important way to improve culture. Without on campus activities that boost connectedness and team building, it’s easy for associates to have feelings of isolation, causing morale and mental health to suffer. Using technology, like the Superpunch mood tracking app, you can pinpoint how associates are feeling on any given day. Brands can action that data to inject some extra fun into the work environment to help improve associates’ mood and morale.
A hybrid or blended model of work-from-home mixed with on campus provides an opportunity for customer care programs to achieve additional business continuity. It also allows for a global approach to recruiting and managing your teams.
Without the need to recruit within a specific geographic region, you gain access to a larger global talent pool. Also, the amount of time required to recruit and hire the best candidates is reduced, while the quality of the hire is significantly improved with the larger, more qualified talent pool.
A blended model also allows employees to have a say in their own work situation, helping them feel empowered and satisfied. Individuals who have not been able to commute to work in the past, such as caregivers or differently abled people, now have the opportunity to work from their homes. This introduces a more diverse and untapped talent pool that can enhance the quality of the customer care program.
In addition to accessing a wider talent pool, operating in a hybrid model can also improve efficiencies by staggering working hours to optimize demand peaks. While some associates will still work on campus in a more typical 9-5 work day, others can work from home for shorter periods of time, possibly even in split shifts, to help meet demand peaks.
Brand & Vendor Collaboration
Brand and vendor collaboration can help brands understand and define their goals and KPIs, which will drive behavior and performance improvement for associates. In the remote work environment, it’s important to realign these goals and core metrics on a regular basis to ensure priorities haven’t changed. KPIs that may have been the most important in a brick and mortar setting may not be as high priority in work-from-home operations. By establishing clear virtual communication paths with appropriate meeting cadence, it becomes much easier to continuously align objectives and drive performance.
The Evolution Continues
As contact centers continue to operate at some capacity in a work-from-home environment, these key takeaways for improving the associate and customer experience will continue to take effect as the trend towards a permanent blended approach evolves. One thing is for sure, remote working is here to stay, it’s just a matter of determining exactly what that will look like for your brand.