A strong performance management process inspires employees to own performance and align with organizational goals. If you’re unsure if your contact center has a strong a performance management process, start by asking yourself these five questions:
- Is my contact center pulling reports from multiple data bases?
- Am I or anyone in my organization experiencing delayed access to data?
- Is my contact center dealing with limited visibility into performance?
- Are the supervisors in my contact center being reactive because they do not have the technology or insights to be proactive?
- Are agents in my contact center struggling to stay motivated and productive?
If you answered “YES” to any of these questions, you may want to take a deeper look into how a deliberate performance management process can help you successfully turn those pain points into strengths.
So let’s break it down.
Having Smart, Connected Data
If you are manually pulling reports from disparate systems, processes become very inefficient and ultimately lead to a delay in visibility while the analysis and aggregation occurs.
That’s why it’s so important for contact centers to have a performance management process to automatically aggregate raw data from the plethora of different data sources the contact center pulls from. For example, most contact centers need to analyze contact-specific data from an ACD/IVR, customer purchasing information from a CRM, agent performance data from QM and WFM systems, attendance and payroll data from HR software – and the list goes on! But pulling and analyzing all this manually from each individual system is time-consuming and inefficient. Automatically aggregating all this data into a single, unified platform that can be customized and shared is a crucial step in making informed, data-driven decisions.
Data from the contact center can also be enlightening for all departments, such as marketing, sales, finance, and information technology.
Aggregated data improves your overall business by enabling you to:
- Have balanced and reliable data
- Reduce inefficiencies
- Quickly identify data correlations
- Understand your employees better
- Make data-driven decisions
- Increase revenue
Providing Real-Time Visibility
Remember when we used to need a physical map to navigate somewhere new? Or wait for our favorite television show to come on during Prime Time? Or thumbing through the Encyclopedia for information?
Now we have GPS, streaming devices, and search engines which are much more efficient.
So what about your business? Has it caught up with the times?
A business that still uses inefficient methods of reporting information will have a difficult time surviving in the on-demand world we live in. This reality is magnified for contact centers due to the data-driven nature of the industry.
Without real-time feedback, contact center agents don’t know where they stand, which leads to disengagement. And supervisors and executives need real-time information to identify bottlenecks and pain-points to ultimately prevent unhappy customers.
Afterall, “with eight in 10 customers saying they'd switch to a competitor due to poor customer service; businesses can't afford not to focus on providing consistent, positive touch points along the entire customer journey," said Paul Jarman, CEO of NICE inContact in a recent interview.
So, what metrics should you be measuring in real-time to ensure happy customers?
Lead Metrics: influence future performance
- Service Level
- Average Time in Queue
- Average Speed of Answer
- Average Handle Time
- Average Resolution Time
- First Call Resolution Rate
- Lag Metrics: analyze past performance
- Customer Satisfaction
- Net Promoter Score
- Customer Retention Rate
Aligning Roles, Responsibilities, and Performance
Alignment of roles, responsibilities, and performance with business goals is the #1 contributor to high employee engagement. If you run a contact center with hundreds or thousands of agents, driving alignment can feel like a mountainous task. Heck, even in a contact center with 10 agents, alignment can be hard! That’s why it’s critical to have a strong performance management process.
Your performance management process should give you the ability to:
- Align roles across all levels of the organization with role-based data access to dashboards and ability to share and subscribe to dashboards relevant for each stakeholder group
- Agent dashboards: Let agents see how they match up to personal, team, and company-wide performance goals.
- Supervisor dashboards: Provide the ability to monitor their team in real-time and drill down to individual agents with the click of a button.
- Executive dashboards: Arm exes with at-a-glance trends to make data-driven business decisions.
- Align individual responsibilities and strengths
- Get better understanding of individual agents’ strengths, which then enables you to ensure customer contacts are automatically routed to agents who are proficient in the skills needed.
- Track correlations among agents with certain attributes to learn what types of agents perform certain responsibilities best.
- Communicate to agents how their responsibilities align with organizational goals.
- Align performance objectives at an individual, team, and company-wide level
- Display Wallboards throughout the contact center that compare performance to objective goals in real-time.
- Set objective goals based on agent tenure or skill-level - a new agent should not be held to the same standards as a tenured agent.
- Gamify agent and team objectives.
Creating an Environment of Proactive Leadership
High agent satisfaction drives contact center employees to stick around and work hard. So, what actually drives high agent satisfaction? According to ICMI, “It turns out that the most reliable drivers of agent job satisfaction are training hours, coaching hours, and the existence of a formal career path.”
Most agents quit because they aren’t properly coached to be successful and confident. They deal with reactive managers who don’t coach and train them to be competent employees, which quickly gets demotivating.
So what characterizes a reactive vs. proactive manager?
A Reactive Manager
- Frantically tries to achieve goals at the end of the month
- Deals with problems as they come
- Will not challenge the status quo
- Doesn’t allocate time to develop employees
- Is unorganized
- Will only try to retain an employee when they are about to quit
A Proactive Manager
- Sets expectations and goals from the get-go
- Thinks long-term with a vision of how and where they hope to take their team
- Maintains consistency with expectations, communication, and discipline
- Is highly organized by tracking and managing activities on one centralized platform
- Challenges the status quo
- Is continuously focused on developing employees
- Works to retain employees from day one
- Tailors coaching to each employee
Managers don’t have to be a one-man-band when it comes to being proactive. They can use technology as their silent sidekick. Strong performance management software will help contact center leaders be proactive by:
- Notifying supervisors with alerts when metrics are close to falling out of objective goals
- Giving agents clear, visual goals through agent-level dashboards
- Tracking agent attributes to prescribe a hiring equation
- Displaying performance goals on Wallboards throughout the contact center
- Using heatmaps to identify call fluctuations before they become a problem
- Automatically generating coaching sessions triggered by performance thresholds
- Automatically incentivizing agents with rewards and recognition for good performance
A proactive leader is always thinking a step ahead of their employees. If an employee doesn’t reach their performance goals, they don’t just shake it off as a ‘bad day.’ They work with the employee to figure out the root cause of the problem and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Providing proactive coaching before agents become discouraged is a key factor in keeping employees motivated and engaged.
Driving engagement with data-driven gamification
Rewards and incentive programs are at the top of the list for driving high satisfaction among contact center agents . Therefore, a consistent gamification strategy should be a key element of your performance management process.
The three main components that every contact center gamification strategy should have are:
- Primary Objectives: Determine the key behaviors you want to improve and define the metrics to measure them.
- Visible Scoreboard: Provide a “scoreboard” for agents and leaders to track performance in real-time.
- Consistent Accountability: If a contact center has an automated way to digest performance, they can recognize success, discuss failure, course-correct, and offer fair rewards and incentives.
A strong performance management process can decrease employee attrition and increase engagement. By doing so, cost savings will increase when it comes to recruiting and training because you simply won't have as many employees to replace. Not only will you experience cost savings, but you should also see an increase revenue because happy agents equal happy customers.
To learn more about how your contact center can obtain a strong performance management process, check out the white paper “The Top 5 Roadblocks to Contact Center Excellence and how to Break through them with CXone Performance Management.”