The Stay Interview: A Powerful Retention Tool

The best contact centers continually work on the root causes of turnover. There are many common causes of turnover, such as insufficient development opportunities, pace of effort required, feeling of not being appreciated, the list goes on. What is most important in retention efforts is determining what is important to each individual employee on your team. One powerful tool in …

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Improving Performance: Two Types of Standards

The cornerstone of an effective quality observation process is documenting specific, observable behaviors and tailoring coaching accordingly. An effective way to consider performance (quality) standards is to categorize them as either “foundation” or “finesse.” Foundation standards measure whether something was done, and can be assessed with a simple yes or no. For example, the agent uses their name in the …

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Make Your Customer Access Strategy Uniquely Yours

What access channels should be opened up? What’s the nature of service you intend to provide? Beyond applying sound management principles, these decisions are yours to make. My overarching advice: Make your customer access strategy uniquely yours — do what’s best for your customers and your organization. Here are some examples of how customer access strategies are playing out: London-based …

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Empower Your Workforce to Fix Things for Customers

Real-time management is often viewed as a matter of responding to workload quantities. What’s often missed in these discussions is how to respond to the nature of the workload. If it’s heavy, there usually are underlying issues driving it. You can throw all the resources at it that you want, but if your organization isn’t prepared to handle the content …

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Controlling Contact Center Costs the Right Way 

With the current economic challenges, many organizations are likely looking for ways to control costs as they serve customers. Done right, these efforts can succeed. But the wrong approach can backfire and result in new and/or hidden costs, frustrated employees and dissatisfied customers. One thing is certain: reducing costs across the board does not work well. Insufficient staff, network or …

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Real-time Management: Level 2 and Beyond

These extraordinary times have impacted our lives in unimaginable ways. They have also impacted customer service in ways we might have never thought possible. For those struggling to manage unexpected volumes of customer contacts, the following real-time management discussion from the latest edition of Contact Center Management on Fast Forward may be helpful. Level 2 and Beyond In omnichannel environments with …

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Building a Cohesive Virtual Team

Information and communications technologies have created organizations that span geography and time. Multi-site environments, cross-functional teams, and extended-hour or 24/7 operations are common contact center examples. If you are a manager or director, you may have the responsibility of getting results from those who work in different locations, who don’t report to you, or who don’t work the same hours. …

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The Contact Center’s Role in Building Self-Service

Many organizations are learning firsthand that contact centers play a central role in encouraging and supporting low-cost access channels. For example, the contact center can provide a wealth of information about which contacts can be automated or handled in customer communities, and what can be done to improve customer acceptance of this type of handling. While it may seem paradoxical, …

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Time-Tested Tips for Handling Tough Contacts

How equipped are your agents for those situations when something is going wrong? When customers are clearly upset? Here are some time-tested tips: If your organization messed up, acknowledge it in a sincere way—and in plain language. (How often as a customer do you see or hear the scripted words, “We regret any inconvenience this may have caused”?) As writing …

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Hands-on Leadership

One of the keys to high levels of employee engagement in contact centers – and the strong performance that follows – is hands-on involvement from the top. For example: Among other endeavors, Dan Gilbert is the founder and chairman of Quicken Loans, the giant Detroit-based mortgage lender. Gilbert speaks often of Quicken’s core values, saying that they “drive every decision, …

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