SOCAP International

Leveraging Data-based Intelligence to Increase Employee Engagement

By John Ruby, CEO, GCOM Worldwide

​Employee engagement is the extent to which employees feel passionate and committed to their work. Engagement has a direct impact on organizational profitability, correlating closely with productivity, efficiency, and reduced turnover. Like many managers, call center leadership, management and supervision have direct experience grappling with these issues and are familiar with the direct impact they have on the bottom line.

Gartner Research predicts that by 2020 agent engagement will be the key difference that defines the top 20 % of contact centers.

Top performing call centers have 60% more engaged employees.

A five percent increase in employee engagement can drive a three percent increase in revenue.

McKinsey reports that hiring and training of a new agent costs a call center between $10,000 and $20,000 dollars.

Gallup reports only 31 % of U.S. and Canadian workers were engaged in their jobs.

As persuasive as the data is, solving these issues has proven elusive in every function of the enterprise.

One advantage call center’s have over most is access to a lot of data—the raw material that form the basis of analytical work. This data is used to construct information. The typical call center uses as many as 25 distinct metrics to group and analyze data: SL, CSAT, ASA, AHT, FCR, SSR, Response Time, Blocking Rate and many more. Professionals overseeing call centers combine and curate this information to form insights that aid in tactical operations, improve performance, and identify emerging trends. At this point information has been distilled into intelligence. Intelligence can be understood as the product of information that been processed and refined to provide a sufficient understanding of a situation to serve as the basis for action. The more intelligence we have, the better able we are to solve some employee engagement problems. Intelligence allows a call center manager to:

  • Identify opportunity. A good example is retail stores. Most are great at using SKUs to manage inventory and identify top sellers.
  • Improve customer sales and service. Amazon does a great job using intelligence and predictive analysis. They are one of the best at improving our buying experience and selling us more “stuff ”.
  • Provide better efficiency and production. Today we are seeing the Healthcare industry improving their patient care and scheduling with intelligence.
  • Reduces costs. Most all industries gain some savings benefits with intelligence.

There are two sources of intelligence

Business Intelligence (BI) is computer-based techniques that analyzes what has happened to date. It is a static snapshot of where you have been. All those call center metrics and many other measurements helps our employee engagement. That intelligence looks for efficiencies to improve future results.

Operational Intelligence (OI) is a form of real time information feeds. It takes live feeds and event data to deliver insight into operations.

Using call center intelligence from the two sources is like driving a truck. You have Business Intelligence which is using your rear-view mirror to see where you have been. It is helpful but doesn’t always help you see the road ahead. On the other hand, Operational Intelligence looks through the windshield. It is like using your speedometer and MapQuest/Waze to help enable our real time driving.

I have been working with an operational intelligence application that helps agents with self-improvement. The key is that with OI agents can self-govern and correct their own performance. This opportunity to manage themselves proves to greatly improves agent engagement.

The important parts of Operational Intelligence include:
  • Expectations. It allows employees to know what is expected of them. It shows them what is a good performance. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are measured and benchmarked with your company’s input.
  • Measurement. The important KPIs are collected from multiple data sources and aggregated.
  • Awareness. Employees see their performance in real time. The more often they see their performance and KPIs, the more often they can adjust and improve.
  • Transparency. The employee performance can be seen through the whole company. It creates a culture of self-government and self- improvement.

OI also means cost savings to your call center. We've seen increases in agent utilization from 10-25%. That means being able to do more with the same number of agents. Increase in team sizes. Supervisors can handle bigger teams by up to two times their former size. One study showed that 50 agents with ten supervisors saw a yearly savings of $2.8 million in agents and team size.

There will be some challenges. If you add Organizational Intelligence to your center there will be many things to consider. First, employees need to understand how it will help them. Focus on having them see how they will be able to do their job better. Show how it will make them more productive and eliminate frustration.

For leadership and management, they will have several tasks: implementing, training and managing the process. Fine tuning your KPIs will be another thing to do. Determining the costs and ROI are also to be considered.

No matter what intelligence you use, improving employee engagement empowers our teams. Employees will deliver more efficient and effective service. It also provides the ability to improve one's skills.

If you consider looking to Operational Intelligence or fine tuning your Business Intelligence good luck in improving employee engagement. It will be worth the effort. As you take your center on new paths .... have a safe ride and have fun! CRM

John Ruby is President and CEO of GCOM Worldwide. GCOM is a telecom consulting firm based out of Newton, NJ. It offers customized technology, voice and data telecommunications solutions that has provided contact centers clients with savings, value and innovative solutions for more than 30 years.