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Optimising contact centre workforce through incentive reward

Posted on Jan 24 2011
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 Improving performance and productivity as well as reducing staff turnover in contact centres is vital for the success of these ventures, and workforce optimisation tools have been designed with this in mind. Setting key performance indicators and measuring people's performance against these indicators, as well as optimising the scheduling of staff and organising shifts around the needs of employees, can go a long way towards ensuring contact centres are happier, more productive and more profitable working environments.

However, improving performance and productivity in contact centres is not all about driving KPIs and KPAs, because people are not robots. Having this data is helpful, but it needs to be used in innovative ways to optimise the workforce, improve performance, decrease staff turnover and increase loyalty. To really unleash the potential of the human element of the contact centre, the people need to feel valued, something which indicators and measures alone cannot achieve.
Inspiring people and making them feel valued is important in any environment, but particularly contact centres where employees are affected by unhappy callers, a stressful environment and long hours. Contact centres, as an industry, are prone to agent churn, which disrupts service and lowers customer satisfaction levels and can lead to increased costs due to the need to constantly train new agents.
The simple fact is that when people feel they are valued they are happier and more productive, they are more loyal, more likely to be at work on time and the end result is a better customer service and lower staff turnover, which means happier customers and lower costs for the contact centre in training and hiring new staff.
Incentivising performance and rewarding people for meeting their targets are some ways in which to encourage staff to want to perform better and increase their KPA and KPI scores, thereby improving overall job satisfaction.
Workforce optimisation tools incorporate the measurement of various metrics that address effectiveness and efficiency, as well as agent performance management tools, to help contact centres improve customer service levels while minimising cost to the centre itself. These tools indicate areas where performance can be improved to drive greater efficiency.
Linking an incentive programme into the Workforce Optimisation solution means that the data gained from the software can be used to really drive performance improvement and productivity by engaging staff members across the contact centre, from sales staff to call centre agents, consultants and support teams. It offers real, tangible benefits to staff for meeting their targets, engaging them to work more effectively to the benefit of the contact centre.
Incentives can be linked not only into performance management, rewarding people for performing well against individual and group targets, it can also be linked into softer areas such as length of service, attendance, training, improved overall performance. By managing individual and group performance through workforce optimisation tools, performance incentives can be accurately and precisely awarded.
Many contact centres, and other organisations for that matter, have been reluctant to introduce such incentive schemes because they are often seen as an added cost to the business, which will decrease profitability. The reality is that these offerings can in fact become self-funding initiatives, as the resulting improvements in productivity and efficiency will drive down costs by truly optimising the workforce.
Studies have shown that engaged staff are up to 20% more productive.
Engaging people means making them feel valued in their jobs and allowing them to see how they are contributing to the success of the organisation.
Incentivising and rewarding staff by intelligently managing the incentive programme using available data from workforce optimisation tools can therefore translate into a more profitable contact centre.
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