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26 April 2017

David Cousins

Measurement and monitoring of contact centre activity is just the start of the workforce optimisation story

The right way to build effective teams is with a blend of good tech and good people management.

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” so said that great management thinker, Peter Drucker. It was a philosophy enthusiastically adopted in the contact centre, where agents became one of the most measured and monitored categories of workers in the UK. But it’s worth stopping to consider the wider perspective: data collection alone achieves little.  Studies have shown time and again that it’s feeding back the learnings from that data, and using it to inform training and development that make the difference in personal performance.

Everyone who’s ever taken a management course will be familiar with the famous GE time and motion studies of the 20s and 30s, which demonstrated, amongst many other things that simply paying attention to what staff were doing resulted in improved performance and morale. While the concept of a call centre would probably have been alien to those workers, and people with clipboards have been replaced by workforce optimisation (WFO) suites, the findings still stand:  people perform better when they’re paid attention to. Who’d have thought – when staff’s efforts are noticed and they get feedback from management on their performance, their productivity and their happiness increases? It’s a win-win.

But simple as it sounds, this is often where managers – in contact centres and in lots of other areas – fall down. The temptation is to collect and analyse, to create reports and make high-level recommendations. However, the real gains are to be made by engaging in a continuous feedback loop with staff, linking learning to their performance with goals, and dove-tailing them into the wider business objectives.

Learning & development is not a one-size fits all solution

Of course, feedback is useful, but the best staff want to be able to act on that feedback, develop their skills and take the next step on whatever career path they’re pursuing. To enable them to take that step and to ensure that their progression is to the benefit of the wider business, the right kind of support needs to be in place. And the ‘right kind’ of support is again not a one-size fits all solution – prescribing the ‘right’ training to the wrong staff member is more likely to make them disengage. Training needs to be relevant and progress needs to be tangible; it needs to mean something. A good manager, empowered with the right tools should be able to identify a specific training need, or nurture a particular staff member’s ambition with the right blend of personal coaching and targeted eLearning to enable each employee to reach their potential. And with a splash of gamification, they can make it fun too!

Capita helps organisations to use the tools that make information sharing easier. Clients like Neopost trust us to provide Verint WFO solutions that enable faster decision making, increased operational efficiency and better customer experiences.

When we work with contact centre clients, we’re careful to ensure that there’s an understanding that, to get the best out of the great WFO tools provided by Verint, there must still be a recognition of the human aspect of the contact centre. It’s what WFO should really be all about.

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David Cousins

Head of solution consulting, Capita IT and Networks

David is a passionate advocate of getting the simple things right, while looking at outcomes-based transformation initiatives to improve the relationship between businesses and consumers. He has spent most of his career working for and with organisations, across a number of industries, to help drive and shape evolutionary behaviour to influence customer experience, digital transformation, engagement optimisation and voice of the customer methodologies.

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