City Furniture Optimizes Schedules and Onboards New Hires

Workforce Manager: Optimizing Schedules and Onboarding New Hires

Onboarding a new employee is a rite of passage. We all go through it several times throughout our career.  Personally, I’ve experienced pretty much every onboarding experience across the spectrum.  From, “here’s your desk, good luck,” to a very thorough multi-day training.  There’s a balance of course, onboarding from the point of view of the new hire is incredibly overwhelming.  You’re dropped into a foreign environment and tasked with learning people, process, systems and culture as fast as humanly possible.  From the point of view of your organization, there is an incredible opportunity when you’re onboarding a new employee.  It’s a time when they are not yet incumbered by the day to day operation of your team.

Megan Davis, a contact center leader for City Furniture, a retail furniture chain, believes strongly in ensuring agents have a stake in the game as soon as possible.

“When you have your new hires and you welcome them to the team and are in a training atmosphere, have a manager or supervisor, or someone in your organization, even the trainer, sit down with your new hires and have them build out their own personal performance dashboard,”  says Davis. “When they build out that dashboard themselves, they understand the system so much more.”

The contact center is one of the functions in the organization where a well thought out strategy on onboarding your employee can pay dividends down the road.  Functionally, they are the front line of engagement with customers and play a critical role in customer satisfaction.  A poorly planned onboarding can result in significant and visible issues across your company if members of the contact center team learn bad habits or don’t have a broader understanding and commitment to the team’s KPI’s and goals. 

Consider that for a moment – onboarding - a seemingly, innocuous task for any contact center, can really have a considerable impact on your customer satisfaction which can be felt across the entire business.  Analyst reports, social media, references and your ability to conduct case studies or other third-party validation can be significantly compromised if agents aren’t onboarded thoughtfully.

So, what are some other best practices for agent onboarding?

  • Ensure your new agents embrace in the mission and vision of your contact center.
  • Assign a mentor in your organization that will help speed up their transition.This will allow new agents to shadow and learn best practices from the agents as they are responding to customer inquiries.
  • Ramp up is key. Don’t expect a new agent to perform like a veteran agent.Set milestones that are achievable for the new agent. This provides a sense of accomplishment and a confidence that they can be successful in your organization.
  • Ensure your supervisors are monitoring new agents closely and with more frequency than veteran agents. Don’t overdo that and give them a ‘big brother” is watching you’ sense but be mindful of the fact that your new agents will need more direction.
  • Keep it fun. Hold new hire competitions where the new hires are competing with each other to achieve a certain target.

Onboarding is a significant variable to a well-run contact center.  It presents the leaders of your contact center with a real opportunity to up-level your contact center performance. 

Hear more from Megan on best practices for new hires as well as best practices for scheduling using Workforce Management and learn how City Furniture is driving exceptional experiences for its agents and customers in its contact center