Aiding recruitment and retention in the contact center with automation
By Kyle Antcliff, VP of Marketing, Intradiem
The perception that a contact center job is monotonous and involves performing the same tasks day after day can deter potential candidates (especially millennials) who may be a great fit for the brand or business. And it may seem that implementing automation technology in the contact center only adds to the notion of a robotic, impersonal agent. But in actuality, automation technology can make these positions more desirable and also keep existing employees satisfied by combating the repetitive nature of the work.
Discontentment seems to be the workforce norm. Just look at Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Survey, which found that 70 percent of employees are disengaged. Many forward-thinking businesses, however, are looking to turn these numbers around by investing intraday workforce automation tools that can help engage employees during the work day and help them hire and ramp-up the best possible candidates.
Intraday automation turns data and insights into actions, making it easier to allocate productive tasks and make the best use of existing skills. It works like this: During slow periods, intraday automation auto-prompts employee training, expanding their skillset while simultaneously eliminating any unproductive use of time. The employer gains value with more versatile employees, and the customer receives a more positive experience. The training prepares agents to handle multiple issues with efficiency.
From the employees’ perspective, the tool gives them the opportunity to become experts in designated areas and empowered with information. Employees who feel valued are more inclined to personalize and enrich a customer experience with the genuine desire to help and solve the issue at hand. In addition, satisfied, active employees are more likely to remain with their current employer.
Most contact center executives think employees leave for better money. As it turns out, more agents are leaving for reasons unrelated to compensation. There are issues with work environment, management style, training gaps, hiring deficiencies and workload diversity. In addition, employees who don’t feel satisfied are more likely to spread their low performance throughout the contact center by infecting otherwise happy agents with their bad attitude, which can slowly eat away at overall morale and performance. Gallup found that companies with higher employee engagement score 10% higher on key customer service metrics.
As contact center agents gain useful knowledge from training activity, they become poised to deal with unique challenges, complex customer calls and issues other employees may not be equipped to deal with. As a result, customers calling in with difficult issues don’t need to be transferred across departments. The employees trained in that field will be automatically added to the pool of available agents, and a customer is directed to someone who can handle their issue.
During a new hire’s 90-day probation period, these new employees don’t lose out on training to those with more seniority. Intraday automation technology can feed every employee training during down time. The result for the business is more skilled workers taking on customer issues, increasing customer satisfaction. A satisfied customer is more likely to be a repeat customer, and help add to a business’ bottom line.
For management, intraday automation shows who is accepting these trainings during down time and who isn’t. If an employee isn’t using their time efficiently in a way to help grow themselves and the position they are in, they may not be the best fit for the company. Those that do accept are more valuable, willing to learn and likely to remain invested in the business. The Gallup study found that engaged employees come up with more innovative ideas, create more new customers, and have the most entrepreneurial energy. Plus, greater engagement levels tend to reduce attrition, while less engagement leads to higher turnover.
Another added benefit for management is appropriate staffing. Having fewer agents than you planned for hurts the customer experience and impacts sales. Second, most contact centers are overstaffed to offset absenteeism, increasing costs. Intraday automation allows managers to be aware of exactly when slower periods occur, thereby making them able to quickly adjust scheduling.
Introducing intraday automation technology into your business is a way to not only engage your employees and keep them, but also maximize the resources at the disposal of management. Investing in the happiness and morale of your workforce directly increases customer satisfaction and your bottom line.
Kyle Antcliff is the vice president of marketing for Intradiem. He is recognized as a thought leader on how a real-time workforce delivers a better customer experience. Kyle graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems and holds an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.