Collaboration-1

“Demonstrating effort and kindness to a person with a problem can earn you a loyal customer” Richard Branson

According to Fast Company, the average turnover at contact centers is at 33 percent. It can be as high as 70 percent for companies with over 1000 agents. If agents remain unhappy, it’s your customers who are likely to be suffering as a result. There is evidence that collaboration brings a fulfilled workforce and therefore happier customers. Here are four ways to increase collaboration at your contact center.

1. Build an internal culture of collaboration

In order to challenge attitudes and a siloed mentality in the workplace, it is not simply about breaking physical barriers and moving furniture in a communal office layout. It is the leadership who is responsible for fostering an ethos of collaboration.

Instead of rewarding individual performance, consider rewarding employees for collective problem solving.

“Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work.” Seth Godin

Also, it is important to hire team players. People who naturally enjoy team environments will thrive in a collaborative working environment. They will likely find greater satisfaction at work and also make the experience more enjoyable for the group.

  1. Focus on the Metrics that Matter

People respond to incentives. Entire industries are built on this notion. However, your employees may be incentivized and measured on KPIs that are not the most effective for your organization. What gets measured, gets done. With the myriad metrics in the customer service world, determine the KPIs that can be tied back to your specific business.

  1. Empower Your Agents

In the recent HBR report on customer service reps, HBR ranked the persona type “The Hard Worker” (described as someone who follows rules and procedures) as number 6 out of 7. The rank was so low because of the lack of individual empowerment and ability to take initiative. By empowering agents to take initiative and to work together to find the best solution beyond the rule book, agents become more efficient.

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  1. Gamify the Experience Through the Helpshift Platform

By creating an environment that feels more like play — and by competing with one another in order to reach specific goals, Helpshift’s platform is able to break through silos and checklists.

  • Using Tags to Collaborate

Create a tag called “upvote” or “kudos” as a way to flag and encourage agents who dealt with issues that were particularly challenging. Issues may include a difficult billing escalation, a complex technical problem, or a unique issue that may have never been handled before. At a certain interval (perhaps weekly), have supervisors create an advanced search and comb through issues to pick out the most outstanding ones. Then, share those stories so others are able to learn and be inspired.

  • Private Notes

The use of private notes is a handy way to message co-workers in order to work together on a single issue. A customer will have a single point at which they can communicate with an agent so the conversation remains fluid. Meanwhile, a team can troubleshoot together.

  • Set Your Status

Set the away feature for when you need to walk away for a minute in order to get assistance on an issue from a coworker.

  • Build an Internal Wiki

Unpublished FAQs can not only be used to store product knowledge, but can also be used to store best practice information on matters such as how to best handle specific types of problems or scenarios.

  • Supervisor Assignments

By using the “Supervisor” function, supervisors can act as a support role to agents, allowing for collaboration across an organization.

In any organization, team members bring a diverse set of interests and skills— and also different problem-solving abilities. By connecting with internal experts, tapping into internal knowledge and by problem solving collectively, employees are able to provide better support for customers. Collaboration shouldn’t be a drain on resources, but if the benefit does not obviously outweigh the cost, consider introducing new workforce management tools and revamping FAQs to adequately address the most common issues. This will allow your team greater capacity to focus on collaborating on the more challenging issues at hand.

Published June 15, 2017
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