In my previous post on finding the perfect employee engagement solution, I wrote about what you should be looking for when buying an employee engagement application for your contact center.
It’s important to remember why you are considering investing in your employee engagement solution: Performance and efficiency are the top reasons, and those benefits must be quantifiable.
Requirements for an effective employee engagement solution
Make sure you and your organization are ready to deploy when the time comes. Gaining user acceptance, ensuring that there is someone in charge of the roll-out project. I like to follow the “one name” rule. While there are certainly several stakeholders involved in the overall project, a single resource should oversee all the moving parts, and be able to address any issues through a collaborative process with their supporting team members.
Having been on both the provider and consumer side of the transaction, I can attest to the fact that in either case, the most unfortunate situation is when an application becomes “shelfware” after purchase. Have your team in place, and be ready to deploy aggressively, without skipping any of the important steps of the process. Be focused and thorough in your testing and implementation phases; you will reach your production deadlines much more rapidly this way.
#1 Mapping business objectives
Think of your employee engagement app as your direct line into evaluating, increasing, and measuring performance with your contact center agents.
There should be a clear way for you to map your KPI scores to the engagement solution you are considering, and the vendor should be able to guide you in this process. You probably spend a lot of time collecting surveys, benchmarking KPIs, dealing with the complexity of scheduling and deploying your resources, and reducing AHT and Customer Effort.
Will you be able to orchestrate all of these metrics to improve the level of satisfaction of your agents in the workplace, while making it easy and pleasant for customers to do business with your contact center?
#2 Subscription or license?
Many organizations are looking to maintain a lean balance sheet to preserve cash flow. As a result, they may be paring back or freezing new capital expenditure investments, opting instead wherever possible to fund projects from operating expense budgets.
Today’s more flexible SaaS model and the resulting flexibility in how an organization can account for these is one of the many advantages that the cloud has brought to many organizations. Using your OpEx budget is a great way to spread your expenses, and risk, out over a monthly period. You should definitely look to a Cloud vendor that can not only integrated with your current On-Premise or Cloud Contact Center Infrastructure, but also offer a way to pay monthly, with or without a contract, especially if you are a new customer.
Look to the solution vendors to be upfront about the costing structure of their offering, and if they don’t bring up pricing after you have provided them with your demographics and related statistics, such as number of agents, locations, KPI tracking strategy, etc., then ask point-blank. There should be no hesitation from them in answering in a clear and concise fashion.
#3 Vendor profile
Often times, the focus on the technologies and feature stack, while important, will preclude a closer assessment of the company representing the solution.
Are the people behind the product well-versed and experienced in your business model? Start with their website, especially if they publish a blog or provide thought-leadership on contact center topics that relate to your business. Are the principal leaders contact center experts? There is no better way to ensure they will understand your objectives, and can support you in the long-term implementation of your chosen solution.
#4 Integration with Contact Center Platform
Regardless of how, or who, you choose to support the various communication channels within your technology stack, be sure that any solution to improve employee engagement can integrate with your contact center, either through a standard format.
One of the fundamental principles of employee engagement is continuous feedback – agents need to know where they stand of they are to feel included, and possess a reference point for performance improvement initiatives. That means leveraging voice, surveys, messaging, you name it, and all of the metrics produced by those applications. Examples include AHT, CSAT, NPS, quality scores, resolution metrics, schedule compliance… the list goes on.
What’s important is that you can provide timely updates on the performance metrics you are tracking back to the agents. They should always be in tune with how they are being evaluated on the job and where they stand.
#5 Benefits and Features
These top benefits should be documented and well-explained, at a minimum. It’s great if your top vendor list is proposing more functionality than the basics listed here, but if there is no mention of reducing attrition or labor costs, I would advise you look elsewhere for engagement expertise.
Enhanced collaboration between members of your team
Attributes of a system that leads to agent collaboration include inter-agent communication channels, shared status updates, published recognition, a rewards structure (points, KPI milestones, contests with associated prizes), and a newsfeed for continuous feedback.
Engaged agents are motivated to work harder, more efficiently, and continuously strive to improve. As we mentioned above, these KPIs have a direct impact on your operational efficiency.
Reduced employee turnover/attrition
With increased recognition and reward, there is a propensity for agents to develop a more appreciative and loyal relationship with their employer. There are well-documented approaches to mitigating attrition in the contact center industry, and you should be able to implement them via your engagement application.
Top 10 Solution Checklist
Here is a handy checklist to assist with narrowing down your choice. The answer should be “yes” to all.. But I would personally not consider a solution that scores below 8/10.
- Is the application available as a Cloud/SaaS based solution?
- Does the vendor a subscription model?
- Is the solution designed for contact center operations?
- Does the solution provide controls for adjusting how you measure performance?
- Will it work with your KPI-driven objectives, tracking metrics that matter to you?
- Is the vendor leveraging the latest technologies in predictive analytics?
- Is the solution provider committed to a long-term roadmap focused on the contact center industry?
- Is there an after-sales customer support team in place to assist with your roll-out?
- Will it integrate with your existing contact center infrastructure and channels?
- Are they partnered with leaders in the contact center industry?
This blog post has been co-authored with Jean-Marc Robillard. Jean-Marc Robillard is a technologist with over 15 years of experience in data analytics, workforce management, unified communications, and database security. He has held positions in product management and marketing at Oracle corp. and Kronos Systems, among others. He is currently the Director of Marketing at nGUVU, a Genesys partner and AppFoundry member providing gamification and machine learning solutions dedicated to employee engagement.