Transitioning Back to the Center from Work from Home

By Craig Montgomery, Answeron

There will be many adjustments for agents as they transition back to working on the floor after remote work. Commuting, working with coworkers directly again, following professional dress requirements, adjusting back to the old routine – just to name a few. For some, this transition will be overwhelming and lead them to consider leaving their current role. 

Outside of the general safety and cleaning protocols of recalling your agents to the call center, here are some considerations to make so your agents feel successful during this next transition.

Team-Building Event

Within appropriate safety and health constraints, host a team event to boost morale! If constraints keep you from having the event in person, host a virtual game hour on Fridays via video call and screen sharing. A budget for a delivered meal before or after the event could be a great touch!

Regular Check-ins

Remind agents they can come to you with issues and maintain regular check-ins with agents.  Key questions to ask: How is the transition back to the floor going—highs and lows? What organizational gains and struggles are you facing? Are you experiencing any home/work friction within the new transition?

Flexible Schedule?

If your call center has gone to a more flexible schedule system during the remote time period, plan for how the transition back to a stricter schedule and loss of autonomy will be difficult for agents.

Consolidate Digital

As agents return to your brick and mortar call center, consolidate digital channels and outline which communication methods will be the preferred method going forward. Restate to all agents how information will be delivered and how team meetings will take place.

Daily Victories!

Focus on achievements and daily victories! Highlight successes on a team and individual level.

Address the Anxiety

Returning to shared spaces will cause anxiety for many people. Help address this anxiety by having resources ready for those agents needing mental health support. Also, be transparent with policies and safety precautions being taken at the call center BEFORE agents return to the space. n

Craig Montgomery may be reached at craig.montgomery@answeron.com.  For more information about AnswerOn, go to www.answeron.com.

The Advantages of Analytics-Enabled Quality Management

By Donna Fluss, DMG Consulting, LLC

For most of the past 40 years, contact centers have performed quality management (QM) the same way. Calls are identified for evaluation from recordings, and then a QM specialist listens, assesses, and completes a monitoring form for each of them. While traditional QM applications have been enhanced over the years, the QM process remains highly manual, even in the best of cases.

QM Challenges

A major challenge facing contact centers is that there is an increasing variety of interaction types, and they are coming from a growing number of channels, including calls, emails, tweets, SMS, chat, social media, and more. While many companies perform QM on their calls, too few apply this practice to other channels. This means that companies receive an incomplete view of why people are contacting their organization, how well agents are performing their job, and whether customers/prospects are satisfied with their experience. Companies need to perform QM on interactions in all channels and to evaluate many of them; otherwise, they won’t know what is happening with their customers and they may be out of compliance with regulations, without knowing it.

The Future of QM

Analytics-enabled QM (AQM) is the future for QM, and can solve many of these issues. DMG defines AQM as “an application that leverages interaction analytics, business rules, and automation to identify, classify, and score as much as 100% of voice and text-based interactions based on defined quality criteria.” At the same time, AQA measures critical interaction components to evaluate agent performance and to assess their impact on the customer experience and customer effort. An important feature of AQM is that it “understands” what customers are saying; it identifies customer needs and wants, automatically surfaces trends and operational opportunities, and spots problematic interactions where agents do not comply with an established script, policies, procedures and/or other requirements. In the future, artificial intelligence (AI) will be used to automatically evaluate interactions and to identify new and emerging trends and opportunities.

Why AQM is better than Traditional QM

There are many reasons why AQM is substantially better than the traditional method of performing QM:

  • It can automatically review up to 100% of calls and text-based communications.
  • It can provide feedback on a timely basis.
  • It can identify and assess the importance of each issue, regardless of the channel in which it is received.
  • It can surface emerging issues and opportunities not previously known.
  • It can identify coaching opportunities at an employee and group level.
  • It can automatically schedule and deliver individualized coaching.
  • It realizes all of the benefits of traditional QM, including improving the effectiveness of the contact center, reducing operating expenses, and improving the customer experience.

Why AQM Adoption is Slow

The adoption of AQM applications is very slow, despite its many benefits. The reason for the market’s reticence to purchase this solution is that it is expensive. AQM is an application provided by speech analytics vendors. To acquire AQM, end users have to buy a complete speech analytics solution and then spend more to purchase the AQM package. The sad story is that a high percentage of end-user organizations that purchase a full speech analytics solution do not have budget to add on AQM.

How to Get Enterprises to Invest in AQM

If vendors want to open up the large addressable market for AQM, they need to reduce the price for this add-on module, include it as a standard component of a speech/text analytics application, or improve its business case and return on investment. The vast majority of prospects for AQM, including the thousands of companies who have already invested in speech/text analytics, have made it clear that they are not going to pay more for an AQM add-on module. This has all but frozen the opportunity until something changes, and it’s up to the vendors to make the right moves.

DMG Consulting LLC is a leading independent research, advisory and consulting firm specializing in unified communications, contact centers, back-office and real-time analytics. Learn more at www.dmgconsult.com.