In most organizations the cost of the front-line agent workforce typically equates to 80% of the overall contact center budget. As a result, attracting, managing, developing and retaining front-line staff becomes a strategic priority for the business.
At the same time, there are some markets and industries where contact center agent churn rates equate to 60% due to saturated markets, and the often unchallenging, unattractive and repetitive nature of the job. Furthermore, with rising complexity in products that need to be supported, plus growing customer sophistication and demands across multiple channels, the working lives of contact center executives, managers, and agents don’t seem to be getting any easier.
Therefore, it is not uncommon for contact center operational managers to give in to pressure and resort to manual workforce management practices, including scheduling and assigning the growing number of complex skills and tasks. This in turn can initiate a vicious circle that leads to:
1. Frustrated Agents – Due to insufficient training, lack of career progression and sense of purpose, boring and unchallenging working practices, repetitive tasks, lack of knowledge and skills development.
2. Poor Customer Service – Due to agent absenteeism and attrition, lack of agent engagement, poor first call resolution rates and declining quality, proliferation of communication channels, introduction of complex products, continuous cost cutting and headcount reduction pressures, complex skills management
What is Talent Management?
As we look to overcome these challenges and issues, let me define talent management from a front-line contact center perspective: It is the systematic attraction, identification, development, engagement, retention and deployment of agents who are of operational and strategic value to an organization.
Essentially, talent management is about applying a holistic and lifecycle-based approach to the management and development of your front-line agent workforce.
Below are some tips on how a clever use of process and technology can help boost your front-line talent management strategy:
1. Develop an Agent DNA
Using skills assessment solutions it is possible for you to develop an “Agent DNA” for each of your agents that consists of a profile that contains the skills and the proficiency levels of each of those skills for the agent. This allows you to develop unique skill sets that can be further developed and deployed to execute effective one-to-one customer service differentiation strategies. Agent DNA acts as a passport for career progression in a fair and transparent approach where everyone is targeted and incentivized based on their capabilities and competencies – helping address many of the causes of attrition stated earlier.
2. Automatically Manage and Develop Talent
It is possible for you to deploy automated agent skills development strategies where agents, depending on their Agent DNA profile and career path, can be trained via online and offline training courses. Skills management solutions allows you to see the overall maturity of your front-line agent workforce. For example, you could see and analyze the percentage of your top, middle and bottom level agent groups and split them by their respective knowledge and skills level capabilities. It is a powerful tool for setting direction and planning for the future development and training of your agent workforce.
In summary, a clever and thoughtful deployment of a skills assessment solution can do wonders for your talent management strategy. It’s a valuable source of competitive advantage that is often overlooked.
If you’d like to learn more, check the Genesys Skills Assessment solution. You can also check out our white paper on 5 Steps to an Employee Effectiveness Model to discover how to improve business results with engaged employees.
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