We read a lot of articles about training, coaching and motivating our center agents, supervisors and leaders. One area of our center doesn’t seem to receive as much attention: our WFM (workforce management) employees.
Every member of our team has both direct and indirect effect on the customer experience every day. Our WFM team members certainly play a key role in the success of our center. They interact daily with our leadership and agents in creating the best scenarios to keep both agents and customers satisfied.
WFM members often experience the same burn out and performance issues that our agents do. Their performance is crucial to our bottom line and quality, so what are we doing to support them and make them feel a valued part of our team?
Most coaching involves the performance and quality of agent and customer interactions. We design coaching forms based on the experience we are driving and have a coaching schedule to ensure that each agent receives the individual training and guidance needed to be successful.
- How are your WFM employees coached? Do you have consistent coaching time scheduled or just talk with them when there are issues or changes?
- Do you have a plan and forms in place to fairly evaluate their performance and hold interactive one-to-one sessions with them to discuss their progress and opportunities for improvement?
- Are you asking them what they need to be more successful at their job and the career with your center and company?
It’s easy to design contests and motivational programs for our service, support and sales teams. We set expectations for performance and quality and incorporate those into our planning.
WFM employees need motivation too. If you have the ability to track individual performance, compare to goals, look at their statistics in regards to attendance, adherence to their own schedule and quality of what they do, you have the ability to plan motivation for them too.
- Plan team contests and pair WFM members with agents.
- Reward the WFM team and individuals when their goals are met.
- Stop by and just say thanks for your hard work (we forget the simple motivator…showing appreciation!)
Relationship with agents and frontline leaders
I find that most WFM teams are viewed by agents and supervisors as either their enemy or their friend, depending on the interactions and how they engage with one another.
I’ve seen centers place the WFM team on raised enclosed platforms where no agent dared to tread. Center management will justify this isolation as necessary for focus but it may also create a feeling that agents are controlled by the whim of the gods “on high”.
- Do WFM members participate in your daily, weekly, monthly meetings with agents and have opportunities to train together?
- Are they viewed as outsiders and “administrative” people or part of the customer experience team?
- Have you asked your WFM specialists to present to agents what they do or how they balance customer and employee engagement?
Understanding their role in customer experience or just schedule crunchers
Many WFM burn out because they feel that their job is tedious number crunching and staring at screens all day. They have tunnel vision about what they do and their impact on your business.
- Do you include WFM in your customer service and customer experience training classes and online education opportunities to help them expand their knowledge overall?
- Do they receive both positive and negative feedback from general customer surveys, customer complaints that relate to WFM touch points, agent feedback from internal surveys regarding scheduling?
The right tools
Smaller centers may still be using antiquated ways of scheduling and planning skill routing of calls. Some use a mix of software and manual spreadsheets.
If we don’t spend the money to provide our WFM with the tools to help them be more efficient, they will be spending their time huddled over stats instead of being able to step back and look at ways for your center to be more successful. They will be using the same techniques and methods year after year instead of suggesting creative ways to overcome challenges they encounter.
- When is the last time you took a hard look at the tools WFM is using and how clumsy or inefficient they may be?
- How much time is each WFM member spending trying to put band-aids on an old system they are using?
- Are you looking at the ROI of upgrading your WFM tools versus the time and money your old tools are costing and the effect on both customer and agent satisfaction?
Look for creative ways to coach, motivate and inspire your WFM members. They will feel engaged and truly a part of your center “team.” Engaged happy WFM members will result in success for everyone in the center and your customers, too!