Showing Employee Appreciation for Better Engagement and Morale

Posted on

September 15th, 2022


Effective communication is critical to ensuring a good working environment. Workplace recognition is particularly effective when it comes to employee engagement, productivity, and wellbeing. While many companies may believe they show enough acknowledgment for their staff, a recent engagement and retention report indicated over 80% of employees wish their employer recognized their work more often.

The same report found that one-third of employees also find it hard to connect with their coworkers and the company culture. While employees appreciate flexible scheduling and the ability to work from home, many still desire face-to-face interaction for at least part of the week. With the pandemic forcing many companies to shift to remote platforms, employees feel disconnected, unrecognized, and unmotivated.

Recognizing past and ongoing achievements are essential for employee motivation and productivity. The pandemic has made this more challenging to achieve, but it’s well worth the effort. A Gallup Workplace report found that companies that focus on employee engagement have 41% less absenteeism than those that don’t. The research identified workplace recognition as one of the most effective ways to improve employee engagement and absenteeism rates.

While grand gestures aren’t feasible or realistic for day-to-day interactions, company leadership can implement the following to show employee appreciation:

Regular recognition. Companies can’t afford to wait until a holiday party to recognize employees. Yearly or quarterly recognition isn’t enough to sustain employee engagement. Weekly recognition yields the greatest returns on employee engagement. Recognition efforts don’t need to be over the top, either. They can be as simple as acknowledging an employee’s role in meeting a deadline or highlighting how their work contributes to the company’s goals.

If companies take too long to recognize an employee’s efforts, it isn’t likely to yield the desired outcome. Employees perceive delayed acknowledgment as a check in the box or that their company leadership didn’t notice their efforts in the moment.

Specific acknowledgment. Personalized acknowledgments will always produce better results than sending generic, canned messages to multiple people. When recognition is specific, employees are much more likely to repeat the action in the future.

Public encouragement. Thanking employees behind closed doors doesn’t foster a company culture of appreciation. Recognizing employees in front of their peers is a much more effective means of showing appreciation.

Recognizing employee efforts is an effective motivator. It improves employee engagement and has a direct effect on absenteeism. To learn more about reducing absenteeism in the workplace, contact the experts at Actec.

4 Insights to Optimize Call Center Employee Onboarding

Posted on

September 13th, 2022


Outsource FNOLCall centers often experience high employee turnover, and insufficient onboarding processes are a driving factor. Companies that optimize the process can save time and money while improving employee retention. The following are several insights to improve the onboarding process for new call center employees:

  1. Pay attention to personality traits and soft skills. Onboarding is useless if a new hire doesn’t have the demeanor required to do the job. Soft skills like empathy, active listening, and coolness under pressure significantly effect customer satisfaction. Unhappy agents that aren’t suited to the job can ultimately damage the customer experience and the company’s reputation. Employers can train new agents on technical skills. However, changing their personality is difficult, bordering on impossible.
  2. Gamification is a strong motivator. Videogames figured out that players responded enthusiastically to unlocking achievements. Gamification in the workplace, such as friendly competition or striving to reach a milestone, can hold the same appeal. It imbues a sense of fun and excitement that ultimately improves productivity and performance.
  3. Simplify knowledge acquisition. Knowledge bases are a must-have for agents of all experience levels. While tenured agents may know how to navigate a convoluted system, it’s likely to frustrate newer employees. A robust and easy-to-use knowledge base is a powerful training tool and allows new agents to begin fielding calls much faster.
  4. Train agents on how to handle angry callers. Phone calls from frustrated customers are common for call centers, and new agents need to know how to handle them. Many of these calls require active listening, repeating information, and avoiding putting the customer on hold. Agents that understand the process can quickly access information to meet the customer’s needs while remaining calm.

Automation and self-service tools allow customers to find answers to many of their questions themselves. However, some situations require human interaction. How well a company onboards new call center agents directly effects the customer’s experience and loyalty. Contact Actec to learn more about implementing a nearshore contact center.

5 Factors that Influence Employee Retention Rates

Posted on

September 6th, 2022


Retaining employees is often a top priority for HR managers. Companies spend a considerable amount of money on recruiting the best talent to fill their vacancies, but it comes with a hefty price tag. Refilling positions is even more expensive, as it can cost up to one-third of the employee’s salary to replace them. Businesses can influence employee retention rates by understanding the following:

  1. 40% of employees leave their position due to underperforming managers. Over half of employees believe their managers promoted too quickly, while 60% believe their manager needs managerial training. Those employees are much more likely to look for new employment opportunities.
  2. Lack of recognition triggers a job hunt in 24% of employees. Employees that feel that management doesn’t appreciate their work are more likely to interview for a new job. In contrast, employees that feel company management acknowledges and appreciates their efforts are five times more likely to stay.
  3. Remote working options decrease turnover by 25%. Happier, more relaxed employees are more likely to stay with their company, and having the ability to work remotely is a significant motivator. It offers them more flexibility and can reduce stressors like traffic.
  4. Turnover skyrockets when career advancement opportunities are scarce. Employees are rarely content to remain in their job without ever growing their skillset. Many want professional development opportunities and a clear career trajectory. If employees perceive they have no other advancement opportunities, a staggering 70% will find new employment to develop their careers.
  5. Money talks. Businesses can engender employee loyalty through several means. However, wellness programs, flexible scheduling, remote work, strong company culture, and competent leadership can’t compete against a better salary. Nearly half of employees will leave their current jobs for new opportunities that offer a 20% pay raise or more.

Retaining employees is essential to maintain productivity, meet deadlines, and keep recruitment costs in check. Employees considering a job change are more likely to express their dissatisfaction with their job, arrive late, or leave early. These behaviors may escalate to outright absenteeism as the employees withdraw more from their position. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about absence management.

Giving Customers Confidence When Sharing Their Data

Posted on

August 23rd, 2022


external software solutionsPersonalization is a critical part of delivering a high-quality customer experience in the insurance industry. However, tailored experiences require customers to share their data with their insurance provider, something many may hesitate to do. Insurance providers need to understand the four primary attitudes about sharing data before they can take steps to convince customers to give out personal information.

  1. Unaware access granters. These customers don’t fully understand how companies use their data. They often click accept without reading the terms, and many don’t realize what they agreed to share. They may have apps that have access to their photos, their apps, or location without realizing how much they’re sharing. They often have strong and harsh reactions when they discover how much data they unknowingly provided.
  2. Begrudging acceptance. A significant portion of customers know how much access they’re granting when they accept terms of service, cookies, and so on, but they are not happy about it. They consider it the cost of doing business or a necessity to receive the services they require. Pushing these customers to share more can backfire quickly, as they are already on the fence about it.
  3. Cautious and wary. Customers who seem overly cautious when companies ask them to share data likely had negative experiences or had their trust betrayed in the past. They often require evidence as to why the company wants their data, how the company will use their data, and how the company will protect their private information. Making this information difficult to locate or understand will immediately set these customers on their guard or send them looking for a more transparent provider.
  4. Incognito anonymity. These individuals do not want companies to know more information about them than is absolutely necessary. Even then, that information is often misleading. They view data gathering as an unnecessary hassle. They employ several tactics to protect their data. Examples include browsing online while in incognito mode on Google Chrome, using P.O. boxes for package deliveries to maximize privacy, or setting up a second email account to capture all the spam emails they assume will follow. Convincing this group to share data requires careful trust building, pristine transparency, and a friction-free customer experience.

Identifying which group customers fall into can be challenging early in the data gathering process. Thankfully, insurance providers can avoid major missteps with all customers by following a few guidelines. To start, explicitly explain what data they collect, how they use it, and how it benefits the customer. Make the information easy to find and use easy-to-understand language. Avoid asking customers for a lot of information too quickly, acknowledge their concerns about the sensitive nature of their data, and explain the security in place to protect their privacy.

Customer service in the insurance industry is often high stakes. Many customers only contact their insurance provider following a loss and will look for a new provider after a single negative experience. Text and chat services give customs the immediate access they need during stressful times. Agents also have an opportunity to establish a rapport and build the trust many customers require before they’ll share their data. Contact Actec to learn more about implementing text and chat services.

4 Employee Recognition Ideas for Call Centers

Posted on

August 16th, 2022


fnolMotivated and engaged call center employees are more likely to deliver high-quality customer service. However, consistently providing superior service and meeting KPIs is challenging and can leave agents exhausted without adequate support. Recognizing their efforts shows customer service agents that the company appreciates their work and cares about their well-being. It also behooves companies to recognize call center agents, as customer service directly effects revenue.

The following are several ideas companies can use to show appreciation for their call center employees:

  1. Personalized incentives. Gift cards are easy to give out as rewards for top performers, but they require little thought and can come across as impersonal. For example, gift cards to restaurants can backfire if the employee has dietary restrictions that limit their options. While a plain Visa gift card is a safe option, it lacks thoughtfulness. Personalize performance incentives to show genuine appreciation, such as a gift basket from the employee’s favorite store or drinkware with their initials engraved on it.
  2. Technology accessories and gadgets. Most adults own smart devices, including smartphones, tablets, e-Readers, and more. Businesses can offer a range of high-tech accessories and gadgets for employees to choose from, allowing them to select items that best suit their needs. Companies can divide the options into tiers that employees can unlock by meeting KPIs or let employees choose from the most coveted items on their work anniversaries. Ideas include pop sockets, protective cases and screens for their devices, charging pads or docks, power banks, external hard drives, wireless earbuds, etc.
  3. Peer-to-peer recognition. A peer-to-peer recognition system encourages employees to show appreciation for each other’s hard work and fosters better teamwork. For example, all employees can enter a coworker into a monthly raffle for appealing prizes (e.g., a small bonus, taking a half day on a Friday of their choosing, and so on). With more entries, the more an employee stands a chance to win. Employees are more likely to up their teamwork skills, such as taking the extra time to help a new employee or working amicably to find creative solutions on group projects.
  4. Relax the dress code. Consider relaxing the dress code if call center agents don’t interact face-to-face with customers. Companies can show employees they care about their well-being and want them to feel as comfortable as possible while at work.

Call center employee appreciation and recognition are essential for ensuring excellent service and delivering a superior customer experience. Contact Actec to learn more about implementing a successful nearshore call center.

4 Ways Text Messaging Enhances the Customer Experience and Loyalty

Posted on

August 9th, 2022


FNOL SolutionsBusinesses are struggling more than ever to foster customer loyalty. Today’s customers are more likely to look for new vendors or providers following a poor experience with the company. Customers have a low threshold for frustration, and service issues such as long hold times, agents lacking knowledgeability, or unresolved problems are more than enough to erode their faith in the organization.

While numerous factors contribute to the customer experience, two play the most prominent roles: personalization and convenience. Customers expect a personalized experience. Personalization has become essential for businesses to thrive, as 86% of customers report that personalization influences their buying habits and 25% indicate that personalization plays a critical role in driving their purchases.

Convenience is just as crucial. Customers no longer limit their comparisons to industry competitors. Businesses must now compete against tech and ecommerce giants like Apple and Amazon. These organizations set a standard of service delivery that customers expect from all the companies they do business with.

Text message communication combines personalization with convenience. Text message communication channels can improve the customer experience in several ways:

  1. Builds trust with helpful engagement. Customers have little patience when waiting for an update on their inquiry or claim. Many businesses email their customers with regular updates, but this assumes the customer has internet access to check their inbox regularly. SMS text messaging provides updates in real-time, isn’t reliant on Wi-Fi, and removes the inconvenient necessity of constantly opening their email.
  2. Quickly resolves inquiries and problems. Customers expect rapid answers and solutions when they reach out to customer service. Texting is a convenient way to seek updates or request information, as customers can engage with their provider whenever and wherever they are. Texting also doesn’t tether the customer to their phone or computer while they wait on hold or in a queue.
  3. Improves service efficiency. Customers loathe repeating their information or inquiry. It makes the customer feel like the company doesn’t care about their problem or that they are just one file number among many. Text messages retain previous conversations so any agent can help resolve the problem, regardless of their familiarity with the situation.
  4. Builds an emotional connection. Text message communication is often more casual and informal than email or phone calls. Agents can establish a rapport during these conversations while providing rapid customer service.

Customers have a growing preference for text message communication. Businesses that meet their customers on their preferred communication channels have an excellent opportunity to foster customer loyalty and deliver superior service. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about implementing text messaging services.

How to Manage and Engage Remote Employees

Posted on

August 2nd, 2022


Working from home became an unavoidable reality during the pandemic. Many businesses have cautiously resumed in-person operations, but numerous continue to offer the option to work from home for part of the workweek. Some companies are 100% remote by choice, either due to a distributed workforce or the nature of their services.

Whatever the reason may be, managing a remote staff has unique challenges. The following are several strategies company leadership can use to manage employees outside of a traditional office setting successfully:

  1. Equip employees with the tools they need. Most employees only need a laptop with a reliable internet connection to work from home. However, many employees overestimate the speed of their home Wi-Fi. While it may be sufficient for one individual on a video conference, it may struggle if other people in the house are using streaming services. Employees may not be able to upgrade their internet speed, but many virtual meeting platforms include an option to toggle off video. Only using the voice function puts less strain on the connection.
  2. Check-in often. It’s easy for projects to go astray or fall off the radar altogether when teams can’t work in the same space. Scheduling frequent check-ins allows managers to keep projects on track and ensure employees’ work aligns with the company’s priorities. Managers can make these meetings more enjoyable by including a coffee break or using the time as an opportunity to brainstorm and share ideas.
  3. Prioritize clarity. Regular check-ins can rapidly become burdensome if managers spend the entire time addressing discrepancies or misunderstandings. It also frustrates employees, as they feel like they’ve wasted their time or need to work overtime to fix a project. Regular communication through a team chat, phone calls, and virtual meetings can eliminate confusion and discontent among the staff.
  4. Build camaraderie. Working from home can be lonely, and employees may miss breakroom small talk. Employees need to feel like they’re part of a team and understand why their work matters. Companies can establish weekly virtual coffee breaks, lunches, or workout sessions to inject some much-needed fun into the workday.

Remote employees can quickly spiral into disengagement and burnout without competent and considerate management. Attendance problems are also more likely without the proper support. It’s easy to start late, log off early, or take long lunches without regular supervision. Contact Actec to learn how our absence tracking mobile app can help you manage your remote workforce.

5 Customer Service Metrics that Define Successful Call Centers

Posted on

July 26th, 2022


Outsource FNOLCall center metrics can reveal the overall health of a call center and determine its likelihood of success. Analyzing metrics and implementing data-based changes allows a call center to continually improve its processes and the service it provides to customers. The following metrics characterize top-performing call centers:

  1. Average handle time (AHT). AHT encompasses the total time of a customer phone call and often plays a critical role in customer satisfaction. Shorter calls tend to indicate better service, as the agent is rapidly resolving customer problems. In contrast, ineffective call centers often have a high AHT due to lack of training, knowledge, or efficiency.
  2. First call resolution (FCR). Call centers that answer customer questions or find solutions to customer problems on the first call typically have a high FCR. FCR is essential for customer satisfaction, as frequent transfers or escalations frustrate customers and erode their loyalty.
  3. Average speed of answer (ASA). ASA measures how long it takes for a customer to reach an agent after connecting with the call center. Much like AHT and FCR, ASA directly affects customer satisfaction. If a customer has to navigate a convoluted phone tree or has to wait a long time to speak with a person, they’ll likely be agitated by the time they reach an agent.
  4. Average resolution time (AST). Similar to AHT, this metric focuses on how long it takes agents to resolve customers’ inquiries. Customers expect agents to be knowledgeable enough to answer their questions or find a solution without delay. If the agent has to place them on hold several times or for long durations, the customer loses faith in the agent’s ability to help them. If they have to wait for too long, they may abandon the call altogether.
  5. Customer effort score (CES). CES measures how much effort it took to contact the company and the ease or difficulty of reaching a customer service agent. Customers don’t want to hunt for contact information, and they don’t want to jump through several hoops to reach a customer service representative. CES also measures how much effort it took for the customer to receive an answer or solution to their problem.

All these metrics influence customer satisfaction and are pivotal to securing customer loyalty. Organizations that analyze their call center data can harness that information to improve processes, service capabilities, and the customer experience. Contact Actec to learn how a nearshore call center can elevate your company’s customer service.

4 Types of Motivation that Reduce Employee Turnover

Posted on

July 19th, 2022


All forms of motivation fall into two categories: intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation comes from within. It fuels employees that strive to complete tasks that make them feel good about their work. Employees gain an internal reward without expecting praise when they’re driven by intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation comes from external sources, either in the form of a reward or avoiding punishment. Examples of extrinsic motivation include employees who go above and beyond to achieve a bonus and employees that come to work on time to avoid disciplinary action.

  • Achievement motivation. Employees that are driven by achievement motivation often strive to reach their goals for personal development rather than praise. The individual may have a personal goal to attain a higher position in their organization, receive a certificate from continuing education, or be the top performer in their department.
  • Attitude motivation. Employees with attitude motivation want to better the world or help people through their work. They often look for employment with companies that espouse the same values, such as reducing their carbon footprint or championing diversity in the workplace. Employees with attitude motivation aren’t angling for a tangible reward. They prefer the good feeling they gain from helping someone or fixing a problem.
  • Reward-based motivation. Reward-based motivation is the most well-known and popular type of motivation. Incentives are powerful tools that provide a rapid increase in workplace motivation. Employees will work harder if they know they’ll receive a bonus or salary increase for achieving preset goals.
  • Power-based motivation. Power motivates employees that strive to improve their position within the company or their life situation. These employees often possess leadership qualities and inspire their coworkers. However, power-based motivation can have significant consequences when placed in the wrong hands. For example, a strong leader can improve a team’s productivity, whereas an unqualified or toxic manager can cause a spike in employee turnover.

Understanding what motivates employees is critical to reducing turnover rates. Rewards are almost always an effective means of motivating employees, but such incentives may not be enough to sustain employees motivated by attitude or power. Signs of employee discontent include a drop in productivity, lack of engagement, and attendance problems. Actec offers an absence tracking mobile app to help organizations manage employee attendance, including leave requests, complying with federal paid leave laws, and tracking attendance trends. Contact us to learn more about reducing employee absenteeism and turnover.

What’s Your Call Center’s Company Culture?

Posted on

July 12th, 2022


fnol call centerSeveral elements define a company’s culture. The company’s mission, values, and leadership style all affect how employees engage with each other and how customers view the company. A strong, positive company culture drives employee motivation, productivity, and morale. Establishing a company culture takes time, but businesses have several styles they can cultivate within their call centers.

  1. Adhocracy Culture. The term adhocracy culture comes from ad hoc and prioritizes innovation and creativity above all else. Adhocracy culture encourages employees to take risks and accepts that failure may occur. However, this style of culture eliminates barriers that restrict creativity and often produces rapid growth and impressive innovations.
  2. Clan or Collaborative Culture. Businesses that embrace a clan or collaborative culture tend to treat employees like family members. Clan culture often abolishes traditional hierarchy roles and values all employees’ input equally regardless of their management level.
  3. Customer-Focused Culture. The customer experience dominates in customer-focused companies. They aim to provide paramount service and often go the extra mile to ensure a high-quality customer experience. These companies often equip employees with the technology and freedom required to exceed customer expectations.
  4. Hierarchy Culture. Hierarchy-driven businesses are the most traditional, with rigid tiers of management and responsibilities. High-risk organizations often develop a hierarchy culture to control and minimize failure. Although a bit old-fashioned, this culture style is more efficient than most.
  5. Market-Driven or Competitive Culture. Companies with a market-driven culture focus on getting their products on the market as quickly as possible. Employees in these organizations tend to work hard, thrive on competition, and focus on results. Businesses with market-driven cultures often emphasize an employee’s performance and ability to produce results over the workplace experience.
  6. Purpose-Driven Culture. Purpose-driven culture has taken off as customers show more interest in a company’s values. Employees have a strong sense of purpose and understand the importance of their work to the organization. The workforce often unites behind a shared belief, such as improving sustainability or advocating for human rights. Purpose-driven businesses aim to give back to the community that supports them and often donate to charities that align with their mission.
  7. Innovative Culture. Similar to an adhocracy culture, companies with an innovative culture focus on inventive ideas. However, innovative cultures have several distinguishing features. Innovation-focused companies aim to improve processes and existing technology while also creating new solutions. The primary goal is to continuously produce new ideas, products, and technologies that meet existing and unforeseen customer needs.
  8. Creative Culture. Creative company culture focuses on establishing goals and bringing those aspirations to fruition. They strive to create new products and services that build a unique customer experience. Employees often work in teams to encourage innovative thinking.

Companies can make several strategic decisions to define their call center’s culture. For example, some may choose to focus on the customer by equipping agents with the best customer service technology and providing rigorous training to establish service standards. Others may unite their call center representatives behind a common purpose that speaks to their customer base. Whichever approach an organization decides to take, they need a high-quality call center to fulfill customer needs. Contact Actec to discover how a nearshore call center can improve your company’s customer service and loyalty.