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"Life is like photography. You need the negatives to develop it."
Reports from the NACC
NACC has been burning the midnight oil and typing until our fingers are
sore to bring out reports to our members. Each is listed below. If you
are interested to see what we are writing about, click on the links
below and download the executive summary of each. If you like what you
see, join the NACC so that you can view these reports and others that
will be coming out soon on our website. These reports will ensure
that you know the latest trends in the industry.
Help Us Help The Industry!
Paul Stockford, Research Director, NACC and Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research, Paul.Stockford@nationalcallcenters.org
readers and members of the NACC know that at the end of each year we
launch a survey asking customer service professionals their attitudes,
opinions, and intentions on several timely contact center industry
trends, issues and technologies. Your support of our effort is
critically important to the work we’re scheduled to do next year.
All of our research is shared with the NACC through this newsletter and
to e-mails directly to members.
The NACC is a
university-based 503(c)(6) not-for-profit organization with the sole
function of providing statistically-valid research for the benefit of
the customer service profession. We don’t have the deep pockets
of the large media companies that disguise themselves as industry
research organizations and ask for your assistance. We operate on
a shoestring budget and will cease to function without your support and
cooperation. So, please help us to help the industry.
Our survey can be accessed here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NACC2015
It shouldn’t take you more than about four minutes to complete the
survey, which is comprised entirely of closed-ended questions that you
can answer off the top-of-your-head. I know there are a bunch of
you out there that help us out with this survey each year, so please
help us again as we go into 2015. You don’t have to be an NACC
member to participate, just a contact center manager.
As always, no one will contact you as a result of your
participation. In fact, we don’t even ask for any identifying
information, only demographic information. No salesperson will
call you as a result of your survey participation. Heck, I won’t
even call you myself unless you want me to.
Please take 4 minutes right now and go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NACC2015, complete the survey and know you’ve made my Christmas wish come true!
all heard the clichés about change. “The train is leaving the station.
Get on board or be left behind.” The message is to accept change
“because I said so.” Yet today’s employees expect more from their
leadership. They want to be enrolled in the change process.
A client of ours summed it up very nicely: “The four things you need for a successful project implementation are:
- An engaged sponsor
- Collaboration between IT and business
- Established employee sponsorship
- The right amount of change management from the beginning”
Change management is a systematic approach to address the “people side”
of projects – from an organizational and individual perspective. But a
key element is “from the beginning.” Most often change management is an
afterthought, perhaps even when things start to head south. But it
should be considered a requirement and defined within the project plan
at inception, including the tasks required and the resources
Successful change management includes a team of champions that
integrate the change management goals with the technology, process
and/or organizational project. Successful projects incorporate some or
all of the following change management activities:
is important to get as creative as your culture allows to produce the
proper level of awareness and desire to support change. When done
correctly, each individual engaging in the process becomes a change
- Working with the executive sponsor to identify and recruit representatives from each site or function to be part of the team
- Being intentional about messaging and ensuring all levels of leadership are in the loop before sending to front line staff
- Developing and tracking change stages to coincide with the project stages
[Note: We use Prosci’s ADKAR model – Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement. Visit www.change-management.com for more information.]
- Developing carefully written communication that reinforces progress at each change stage
- Creating a pilot team who are change advocates
- Scheduling the executive sponsor at key events to show continued support
- Communicating frequently using a variety of media – emails, dashboards, posters, team huddles, creative team contests, etc.
One organization created a road trip theme
and took their team on a trip while a new tool was being developed for
performance management. T-shirts, messages about being in the “driver’s
seat” and a map to track the project progress all helped keep everyone
engaged. This project started seeing performance improve BEFORE the
tool was even launched due to the successful change management efforts.
And now, six months post deployment, the organization has raised one of
their goals because the agents have already raced across the finish
There will always be some people that do not like change and will avoid
supporting it or actively work against it. Prepare your front line
management to coach and encourage every agent, addressing each
individual’s perspective. By utilizing appropriate change management
techniques, the team will better understand the rationale for change
and support your efforts to deliver value to the company and its
Management Technology 2.0: Can MIT Research Results Impact Turnover?
Ron Davis, CEO, Tenacity, firstname.lastname@example.org
from Paul Stockford: I was introduced to Ron Davis by a longtime
business colleague who met Ron at the Sprint Mobile Accelerator in
Kansas City earlier this year. I am very interested in potential
solutions to the turnover problems that plague the contact center
industry and Ron’s company, Tenacity, offers a unique approach to
addressing this problem. As a result, I did something I rarely do
in that I invited Ron to submit a newsletter article about his
company’s approach to behavior changes that I believe will positively
impact employee churn in the contact center. For more information on
this unique approach visit www.gotenacity.com)
Technology will soon start chipping away at yet another of our
industry’s biggest problems. Computers have vastly expanded our
productivity. To evaluate an employee, managers don’t just listen in on
an occasional call—they can judge an employee on twenty objective KPIs
with platforms offered by companies such as NICE and Verint.
And companies like SATMAP provide advanced algorithms that can
distribute workflows to optimize cost per call and CSAT scores.
Software is augmenting managers like never before, making them smarter
and faster—able to do things unimaginable a few years ago.
This revolution is about to take its next big step, beyond productivity. Retaining
employees is a huge problem in our industry and squeezed managers just
do not have the resources to invest in squeezed employees. But
technology has an answer.
Employee churn costs a
fortune. We know the causes. Low pay, angry customers, lack of
appreciation, poor stress-management skills, bad health, and social
isolation all keep the revolving door…well, revolving. We even know
some solutions. But higher pay, and a cuddly workplace with lots of
managerial mentoring and time for teambuilding is really expensive and
the risks are extremely high if it doesn’t work.
Still, something has to be done. The cost
of employee turnover is now better understood than ten years ago and it
isn’t pretty. It isn’t just finding and training employees for a few
weeks. It is also paying them a full salary even during the six months
it takes them to actually get proficient at their jobs. Since employee
tenure is so short, an enormous portion of overall salaries go to this
“training soon-to-be-former-employees” regime. And this doesn’t even
account for the hidden costs—turnover affects employee morale, which
likely lowers productivity and causes even more turnover.
Because of this, the industry is increasingly looking to automation to
make a dent in turnover. Software is a cheap way to address a problem
when compared to all that goes into building a high retention culture
from the ground up. Evolv
uses big data to help select employees—identifying people that are
likely to thrive and stay with the company longer. That’s a brilliant
start. Gamification companies focus on the next step, more engagement
from existing employees. Though these are primarily focused
on productivity, they make the intuitively appealing claim that adding
fun to the workplace should make employees want to stay with the
We believe this is just the beginning.
Though gamification has its place, the next wave will be more
scientific. It also won’t be designed to squeeze even more productivity
out of employees. Solutions that hang KPIs out in front of employees
and try to find new ways to beckon them to work harder and faster, even
if they are fun, aren’t likely to keep people around longer. No, the
next generation of solutions will do what mangers wish they had the
time to do--build
retainable employees—make them more resilient, and more engaged with
their coworkers and managers. Companies focused on ways to automate
employee recognition were the first foray into this area. But this is
just the beginning.
The ones that will really
take hold in the market will use cutting edge science to confront more
of the root causes of turnover. It has been proven that employees that
cope well with stress, and that work with friends are much less likely
to quit. But that is very hard to make happen in the call center! That
is why we need technology to once again augment the managers who are
spread so thin. And because the stakes are high, managers will demand
technology that can create demonstrable results, not that just tells a nice sweet story.
Tenacity is building a platform to increase employee resilience and
loyalty by using a behavior change method invented at MIT and proven by
one of the top scientists in the world to actually change behavior. We
use this method to focus on some key behaviors that are clinically
proven to reduce stress and increase quality of life, and it also
builds bonds among coworkers. The research is clear—if we do that, your
employees are way more likely to stick around. And we are in the
process of rolling out pilots with some of the top players in your
industry, who will be measuring our effect on their churn rates and
KPIs very closely.
But what we are doing is just the beginning. Whether it is our company
or others, this new wave of technologies will ultimately “productize”
scientific solutions to all the addressable causes of churn. No,
software can’t give your employees a raise or make people be nice to
them on the phone. But if it takes advantage of the latest scientific
research, the software can make them a part of something good,
connected to friends, appreciated by you, and able to cope with the
pressures of the job. It is a way to invest in your people by getting
them to invest in each other and themselves. And, besides being
measureable, it’s a lot cheaper that way.
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Copyright 2014 National Association of Call Centers