From Boot Camp to Teamwork:       How to Create a Positive and       Profitable Call Center Culture                       ...
Agenda Introductions Positive and Profitable Call Center Culture Operationalizing Culture Improvements Questions and Answe...
Today’s Presenters           David L. Butler, Ph.D.            Director and Associate Professor, The Call Center         ...
Today’s Presenters Continued           Matt McConnell            CEO, Knowlagent            Knowlagent at a Glance       ...
Quality of the Customer Experience    The Attitude of Agents                                                            26...
By the Numbers                 6
The Nature of the Beast  Call center created to deal with customers more efficiently   Volume   Lower cost resources   ...
Response Defines Culture  Pressures remain the same  How you respond to them defines your culture  A tale of two centers
Know Thy Agents                  9
Know Thy Agents Continued         Do you find your work challenging?                              No                      ...
A Tale of Two Call Centers                    Same city                Same labor area                 500 seats each     ...
A Tale of Two Call Centers Continued            Pays $2 more an hour more             Turnover rate 3% vs. 90%            ...
Volume Can’t Change varying volume Can  Make sure agents are prepared  Break up the day with different tasks, alleviate ...
Resources Can’t Change demographics of labor pool Can  Give a career path  Change management approach  Invest in skills
Metrics  Can’t  Stop measuring  Can   Balance productivity and performance   Focus on metrics that matter most to custom...
The Payoff               Source: Metric NetCONFIDENTIAL   16
Agent Training/Coaching*       29% provide as much       training as they target:                                         ...
Wait Time: Five Weeks of Really Bad, BoringVacation Wait time = Five weeks; 2 minutes at a time.                          ...
Agents have 17 hours of Idle Time Every MonthContact centeragents spend 11%       Breakof their dayunproductively         ...
Wait Time: Five Weeks of Really Bad, BoringVacationWait time = Five weeks; 2 minutes at a time.                           ...
Find time by Converting Idle Wait Time intoActive Wait time Leverage technology to redistribute the idle time and create 1...
Time Invested for Improvements    Industry Average Composition of Secondary Loss                                          ...
Structured Activity Queues Drive the RightWork at the Right TimeOccupancy  100%  95%  90%                                 ...
Customer SatisfactionGetting First Call Resolution DoneMajor U.S. Telecommunications CompanyUsing Knowlagent to deliver mo...
Operationalizing Culture Improvements  Volume: Make idle time work for you and your agents  Resources: Find time to make t...
Q&As and Contact Information  David L. Butler, Ph.D.  601-266-4735  david.butler@usm.edu  Matt McConnell  678-365-3500  ma...
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How to Create a Positive and Profitable Call Center Culture

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A positive call center environment is critical to a company’s success or failure in the eyes of its customers and its bottom line. Knowing how to leverage call center talent to create a positive atmosphere will ultimately increase agent productivity and performance.

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  • Matt to discuss
  • Matt to introduce David.
  • Matt to introduce himself
  • Discuss how to improve the customer experience, stressing importance of agent performance and discussing details of benchmark research that indicates this.
  • Average new training cost per call center agent is $5000.Average annual turnover rate in call centers is 33%.This means that in a 100 seat center, a loss of $165,000 per year alone in people leaving.This does not include the cost of a bad reputation in terms of future hires, diminished labor pool, and the cost of keeping the existing agents.These agents that leave, many go and work for your local competition. You have just subsidized your competition with your $5000 training.Positive culture=lower turnover. Lower turnover means more experienced agents, fewer hires, more advanced training for existing agents, and less subsidy from you to your competition. In short, more profit.Turnover, has been, and continues to be, the number one problem facing the call center industry-even during the recession.Turnover is a problem because it absorbs a huge amount of resources that could otherwise go to other functions in the call center.Number one reason people leave a call center-bad management (an aspect of culture).POLL #1: MattWhat is the biggest driver for a positive culture:Customer satisfactionCost reduction
  • Culture within a call center is critical.All call centers have a culture-the question is which type? One that is positive or one that is negative?It takes effort to create a positive culture.Once a positive culture is established, it can become self-replicating over time.A strong positive culture in a call center saves money both short term and long term.
  • Poll #2: MattTrue or False: Call Center Agents have a clearly defined career path within my organization.True False
  • Both call center operations are in the same city.Both draw from the same labor area of the city.Both are national brands that attract workers.Both are larger call centers with over 500 seats each.Both have similar working hours.Both have similar benefit plansCall Center A pays $2.00 an hour more than Call Center B.Call Center A has an annual turnover rate of 90%.Call Center B has an annual turnover rate of 3%.Call Center A cannot hire enough people to keep the center going with a turnover rate of 90%. Call Center B has a waiting list of 2 years to join the company.This is the cost of a negative culture.POLL #3: MattDo you measure agent satisfaction?YesNoPlan toDon’t plan to
  • Take or make the time to make sure agents are knowledgeableBreak up the day with different tasks, alleviate boredom and burnout (note attention span and engagement) Don’t just measure volume-based metrics
  • Productivity and performance or efficiency and effectiveness. Understand the trade-offs and where the biggest benefits to the company are.Give agents visibility into the metrics and aligned goals. Use the information available to drive improvements in behavior and give the agents accountability for that.POLL #4: MattWhich metric listed below has a higher priority within your call center?FCRAHTCustomer Satisfaction
  • Matt to discuss. That same survey gave us some insight on some of the struggles call centers have with trying to increase performance around their top goals.
  • Matt to discuss
  • Matt to discussTransition slide – explain call center environment, management held to meet service levels and other key metrics, improvement initiatives not met due to lack of timeVentana Research stat: Only 29% achieve coaching and training targets, mostly (73%) because their service level agreements don’t allow for enough time
  • Matt to discuss
  • Matt to discussTransition slide – explain call center environment, management held to meet service levels and other key metrics, improvement initiatives not met due to lack of timeVentana Research stat: Only 29% achieve coaching and training targets, mostly (73%) because their service level agreements don’t allow for enough time
  • Matt to discuss
  • Matt: discuss finding time by moving shrinkage to wait time
  • Matt to discuss
  • Matt to ask questions, David to answer.
  • How to Create a Positive and Profitable Call Center Culture

    1. 1. From Boot Camp to Teamwork: How to Create a Positive and Profitable Call Center Culture 09-08-11 1
    2. 2. Agenda Introductions Positive and Profitable Call Center Culture Operationalizing Culture Improvements Questions and Answers 2
    3. 3. Today’s Presenters David L. Butler, Ph.D.  Director and Associate Professor, The Call Center Research Laboratory, The University of Southern Mississippi  Executive Director, The National Association of Call Centers - a not-for-profit membership organization  Author of Bottom-Line Call Center Management 3
    4. 4. Today’s Presenters Continued Matt McConnell  CEO, Knowlagent Knowlagent at a Glance  Call center agent productivity solution  Founded in 1995  300,000+ agents in 17 countries using Knowlagent  SaaS 4
    5. 5. Quality of the Customer Experience The Attitude of Agents 26% The Ability of Agents to Understand the Issue 23% Queue Lengths 20% The Ability of Agents to Resolve Issues at the First 20% Attempt Agent Knowledge 8% Consistency of Based on #1 choice ONLY Information 2% Agent performance is vital to the customer experience and customer satisfaction Source: Ventana Research CEM Benchmark Research 5
    6. 6. By the Numbers 6
    7. 7. The Nature of the Beast Call center created to deal with customers more efficiently  Volume  Lower cost resources  Metrics critical Easily leads to a command and control environment
    8. 8. Response Defines Culture Pressures remain the same How you respond to them defines your culture A tale of two centers
    9. 9. Know Thy Agents 9
    10. 10. Know Thy Agents Continued Do you find your work challenging? No 24% Yes 76% 10
    11. 11. A Tale of Two Call Centers Same city Same labor area 500 seats each Similar working hours Similar benefit plans 11
    12. 12. A Tale of Two Call Centers Continued Pays $2 more an hour more Turnover rate 3% vs. 90% Waiting list to join company Negative culture 12
    13. 13. Volume Can’t Change varying volume Can  Make sure agents are prepared  Break up the day with different tasks, alleviate boredom and burnout  Change measurement focus
    14. 14. Resources Can’t Change demographics of labor pool Can  Give a career path  Change management approach  Invest in skills
    15. 15. Metrics Can’t Stop measuring Can  Balance productivity and performance  Focus on metrics that matter most to customers (which empower agents and drive behavior)  Empower agents with information, not punish. Drive improvement while investing in skills
    16. 16. The Payoff Source: Metric NetCONFIDENTIAL 16
    17. 17. Agent Training/Coaching* 29% provide as much training as they target: 73% say service level agreements don’t allow enough time for training Coaching: 37% have no set target for amount of coaching timeSource: Ventana Research Call Center Agent Productivity Poll 17
    18. 18. Wait Time: Five Weeks of Really Bad, BoringVacation Wait time = Five weeks; 2 minutes at a time. Secondary Loss 24 x 2 minute breaks/ day 12% (off-phone work) Primary Loss 120 x 2 minute breaks/ week 17% (Absenteeism, vacations, etc.) 480 x 2 minute breaks/ month Wait Time 11%5,760 x 2 minute breaks/ year Call Handle time 60%Costs our industry $30 billion/year Source: 2010 Contact Center Shrinkage Survey Category 1
    19. 19. Agents have 17 hours of Idle Time Every MonthContact centeragents spend 11% Breakof their dayunproductively Lunch 50 minutes of unproductivewaiting for the next wait timecustomer Breakinteraction
    20. 20. Wait Time: Five Weeks of Really Bad, BoringVacationWait time = Five weeks; 2 minutes at a time. Secondary Loss 12% (off-phone work) Primary Loss Active Wait 17% (Absenteeism, vacations , etc.) 11% Wait Time Call Handle time 60% Source: 2010 Contact Center Shrinkage Survey Category 1
    21. 21. Find time by Converting Idle Wait Time intoActive Wait time Leverage technology to redistribute the idle time and create 15-20 minute activity 20 minutes of sessions “Active Wait” Use these dynamically Lunch time scheduled sessions to + improve 30 minutes of Break skills, communicate unproductive must reads, coach wait time agents
    22. 22. Time Invested for Improvements Industry Average Composition of Secondary Loss 21% Training 17% CoachingSecondary Loss 12% 16% Team Meetings Primary Loss 17% 11% Projects Wait time 11% 9% PaperworkCall Handle time 9% Call Research / Follow-up 60% 17% - Email, Call Back, Knowledgebase, Etc. Category 1 Source: 2010 Contact Center Shrinkage Survey
    23. 23. Structured Activity Queues Drive the RightWork at the Right TimeOccupancy 100% 95% 90% 1) Urgent Must Reads 85% 2) Social Learning 3) Coaching 80% 4) QM Review 75% 70%  Personalized based on agent need, prioritized based on business objectives 23
    24. 24. Customer SatisfactionGetting First Call Resolution DoneMajor U.S. Telecommunications CompanyUsing Knowlagent to deliver moretraining, coaching, and communications to over45,000 agentsIncreased Delivery“Delivered more training time to a site in 5 days usingRightTime than was delivered over 1 month whenmanually scheduling time”Improved Take Rate“71.7% take rate for RightTimevs. 59.4% take rate for pre-scheduled breaks”
    25. 25. Operationalizing Culture Improvements Volume: Make idle time work for you and your agents Resources: Find time to make them better Metrics: Guide your improvements, prioritize off-phone activities
    26. 26. Q&As and Contact Information David L. Butler, Ph.D. 601-266-4735 david.butler@usm.edu Matt McConnell 678-365-3500 matt.mcconnell@knowlagent.com 26

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