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Keep agents in the Christmas spirit by using the technology you have at hand to keep productivity levels and morale high and customer service at its finest.
As Christmas nears it’s tempting for agents to lose focus amid the festive atmosphere. But whilst having your workforce happy and in good spirits is a good thing, it’s important the call centre operates as normal as customers still require and expect the same level of service all-year round.
In fact, in some sectors such as retail the Christmas period can bring a surge in enquiries as flustered customers frantically seek help on how to set up or work goods they have bought as presents.
However, rather than discourage agents from getting into the Christmas spirit and damaging morale and potentially worsening focus, you should look to use everything in your power to keep productivity high – and the importance of the technology you employ and how it can help should not be overlooked.
The technology you already have at hand can present a number of constructive and inexpensive ways to keep agent enthusiasm, engagement and productivity high in the holiday season. We look at some of them below.
All workers across all kinds of jobs are appreciative of flexible working where possible over Christmas, and agents are no different. Flexible working can be implemented and worked in many ways, but the idea is it will give employees more freedom to maximise their work-life balance.
Flexible working does not necessarily mean allowing staff to work remotely or from home, despite a computer and internet access being all that is needed to use a cloud based solution making this a very easy and viable option if required.
It can also mean a more flexible attitude towards shift patterns such as letting staff trade shifts, incorporating flexible start and end times and even shift bidding. Your statistics will let you identify busier and quieter periods, and high performing staff to help you achieve this.
Light-hearted competitions are a great way all-year round as a tactic to encourage agents to give that extra 10%, resulting in a bit of friendly competition among agents and resulting in increased productivity across the team or whole call centre depending on your operation and competition size.
Consult with agents first to find out the general consensus of what sort of prize would be most sought after, such as an afternoon off or a small financial bonus such as gift vouchers. This is important because what you consider a good prize might not be what agents do, meaning the incentive for them to win it may not be there.
You can then track agent performance using your statistics and display them on your wallboard for all to see; this way agents can keep track of their and their peers’ performance so they know the competition is impartial and fair – and when they need to give themselves an extra push.
If you have agents that have perhaps not performed to the best of their abilities and are low on confidence, rather than come down tough on them use it as an opportunity to man-manage and coach them into changing theirs and your fortunes.
Agents in this position are more likely to go into their shell through the Christmas period and dread the prospect of coming back to work in the New Year, so what better way to change that than to identify their weaknesses so you can come up with some training strategies for them in January?
This will give the agent a much-needed lift and make them feel more positive about coming back after the New Year, knowing they will be supported to maximise their potential rather than shoulder the burden themselves.
At a time when staff levels may be short and call volumes could even be up depending on your sector, implementing a self-service strategy can take the strain off those agents continuing to work hard over the festive period.
Using in-queue recordings to play messages to customers when they call your number is made extremely simple with cloud based technology and messages can be uploaded, changed and removed easily and quickly online from any location.
This means you can service customers without them even having to speak to an agent. It’s extremely valuable as it means if you commonly get asked the same query, such as your opening hours, you can communicate this when customers call you using automatic messages – in the meantime freeing up agents to handle the more complex queries and reducing the more tedious ones.
Games can be a good way to motivate agents and also fit in well with the time of year as they’re seen as a fun non-work-related activity, but if done in a certain way they can pay off from a productivity perspective.
The best ways to achieve this are to incentivise them, so participating agents have an aim and a reason to want to take part and try hard.
They of course need to be carefully deployed, but if they can be related to work tasks they can improve engagement, morale and productivity. If they require agents to be away from their desks and off the phones you can utilise the enhanced agent tracking tools to monitor how long they’ve been off the phone for so it’s able to be policed.
In fact, the Call Centre Helper website published some game ideas here.
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