September 15, 2015
With the ongoing rise of social media in the contact center, new challenges are popping up daily for the agents on the front lines. Which ones are stepping up to the plate, and which are falling behind?
It takes a savvy manager to spot and groom the superstars, and know which people need a little more help so that they don’t quit in frustration.
That was the gist of the thought behind a recent blog post by Annette Miesbach, Product Marketing Manager at cloud contact center leader inContact.
“Even with the most intuitive interface on earth, and the best-skilled and motivated agents in existence, your agents will need training when deploying new channels,” Miesbach noted. “All channels are not created equal – just because your agent is a champion handling phone calls does not necessarily mean they are equally stellar when sending an email, handling a chat, responding to a text or interacting via social media.”
With years on the front lines, Miesbach knows what she’s talking about and offered up some suggestions for managers looking to best capitalize on these new technologies while at the same time, helping their employees stay motive and up to speed. Her suggestions are worth sharing:
Know Which New Channels ‘Make Sense’: “If your customers are mainly baby boomers, then 60 percent of them still use the phone for contact center interactions,” she notes. “On the other hand, if the majority of your clientele is Gen Y, understand that more than one-third of them use the social media channel.” Prepare accordingly.
Even ‘Proficient’ Agents Need Updating: The fact that they personally use SMS does not mean that they should adorn business texts copiously with smiley faces and emoticons, Miesbach says. “Train your agents how to properly represent your brand. Templates for email interactions or chat can expedite handling and keep the tone appropriate and consistent.”
Start Slowly: By starting with just one or two chat contacts at a time, for example, Miesbach says you’ll allow the agent to familiarize themselves with the new channel and interface. They can learn how to deliver quality interactions first, then ‘up’ the quantity by handling more concurrent contacts.
But Plan for a Ramp-Up: With experience comes confidence. As your agents get used to new technologies, they’ll naturally become more proficient and comfortable.
Create ‘Classes’: Those agents who catch on quickly will become your “Specialists.” Those who need more time will become “Generalists”, with the opportunity to move up the ladder as their skills increase.
The new technology is here to stay. How well your people adapt to it can mean the difference between growth and decline. Plan accordingly.