Promoting Adherence in the Contact Center and Doing It Fairly

Real Time Alerts Promote Adherence Fairly

Last week, the SWPP Tip of the Week admonished readers to “close down the exception factory” and to establish a fair way to handle adherence, noting that what constitutes “fairness” often becomes a controversial topic in the contact center industry. The Tip’s author Kevin Zimmerman from NICE laid out a suggested process. You can read over the Tip, on the SWPP Web site (you may have to sign in to see it in the archive). Here at WorkFlex, we read it with interest, because one of the things we do best is to monitor and encourage real-time adherence. WorkFlex Manager Suite can be configured to send real-time alerts to your agents for whatever activity you’re trying to change and improve.

Sample Scenario I
Here’s a typical scenario. Agent Jack is on a call and the call is taking longer than it should. WorkFlex sends a message to Keith’s desktop that alerts him to his overly long handle time. The message also gets sent to Jack’s supervisor, because the company chose to have the WorkFlex system configured to send both messages. That way, supervisors are informed about their team members’ potential performance issues and can coach them right away. On this occasion, Jack sees the message and works to wrap up the call quickly. His supervisor stops by his station to chat about the long call. Jack explains that the customer was very talkative and took forever to get to the point, which gives his supervisor the perfect opportunity to coach him on handling chatty customers.

Sample Scenario II
Here’s another typical scenario. Agent Zoe has a tendency to hang out in the break room a little too long during allotted 15-minute breaks. That means service levels can suffer because she isn’t available to answer the phone when she should be. The company Zoe works for has deployed WorkFlex and configured the system rules to send notification to agents when they are three minutes late returning from break. While she’s chatting away with a co-worker and sipping her coffee, a notice pops up on her cell phone (yes, she can have it on while on break) letting her know that she’s three minutes late and needs to get back to her desk. She jumps up with a short exclamation and runs back to her desk. Her supervisor also received the message. He doesn’t say anything and waits to see if the alerts have an impact on Zoe’s behavior. (Previous admonishments and serious tête-à-têtes about employee responsibility haven’t worked, so he’s eager to see what happens.) The next day, the same thing happens. That’s the last time, though. On the third day, Zoe anticipates the alert and makes it back to her desk before it can pop up on her phone. Within a week, her adherence stats are a lovely thing to behold.

Real-time alerts can be triggered by whatever the contact center deems important. They can also be set to escalate. This means that ever higher-up management can be notified if the adherence problem continues over time. For example, if Zoe were to come back from break late even after receiving alerts for a week and perhaps after a talking-to by her supervisor, the supervisor’s supervisor could be included on the alerts. The escalation can go as high as management wishes.

The SWPP Tip of the Week pinpoints fairness as critical in the pursuit of agent adherence. The WorkFlex approach is fair because it is applied based on objective criteria and across the board. Everyone out of adherence gets the same response. No one but the agent in question and management knows about the adherence issues an agent is having, so no agent feels publicly shamed and agents have the opportunity to address the problem themselves (as in the case of Zoe) without any supervisor input. If coaching is required, as in Jack’s case, supervisors can schedule individual coaching sessions with agents thereby sparing them any chagrin.

Firstsource, a WorkFlex client where real-time alerts are used to address adherence issues, has seen substantial improvement. Learn about their experience in our Firstsource case study. It shows distinctly that promoting adherence in the contact center and doing it fairly is very doable with WorkFlex real-time alerting.

-Maya Callahan

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