Welcome to part two of the Success Planning blog, Optimization.
In this session we will talk about Optimization of your Care programs, this is something that can benefit you no matter the maturity of your Care programs.
If you did your homework from the Analysis blog, then you likely have a ton of answers, and probably even more questions! So let’s talk about what to do with all the data you have gathered from your analysis!
Before you consider growing your team, you should optimize your workforce & workflows first to determine where growth vs automation may be the best solution. Using answers from the analysis you performed in the initial section, start grouping observations together to determine your current state:
If you are in the top category and everything seems to be working great, then Congratulations are in order!
If you just need some work, this is where most people fall! Start by taking your analysis from above and mapping it to your KPIs, if you haven't already. Then determine where you need to improve,
If you are in the last category drowning, contact your Khoros account team!! Khoros can help you to determine the best approach. We also offer a menu of paid services, which include but are not limited to, Strategy, Optimization and in some places an augmented workforce.
Queues & Routing
I always look at the queue backlog first because it will quickly tell you if there is an issue with routing, tags, priority, or Flush times. Queue backlog is important because your agent KPIs do not really matter if they aren't answering all the questions. Once you get all the conversations going to the right places, then you’re ready for the next steps.
Once your Queues & Routing are working in the most efficient ways, then start to look at your agent performance. If you made significant adjustments in the previous step, I recommend you wait at least a month before reviewing agent related KPIs so you have enough data to make an assessment and set a baseline to compare for future analysis.
First make sure you have your agent states set up to best fit your processes. Then start by reviewing this Guide to Agent Activity Metrics, and set up your dashboards and reports so you can quickly see your statistics.
I like to use the Teams view in your Analytics tab to get a high level view, we talked about this in the Analysis blog, now here are some things to consider.
You can sort and filter on a number of different metrics. For supervisors and managers, it's a quick easy way to see how many conversations your agents are handling per hour as well as their current Agent State. Depending on your business model and volume, I like to say an agent should have the capacity to handle 6-10 conversations per hour using a monthly average. For example if you have 10 agents and on average they have 7 conversations an hour, but one person has 15, it could mean they are very good or, it could mean they are “cherry picking” conversations so they get only the easiest ones.
Look at the close rates and handle times as well. If the opposite is happening, one or two agents only have 3 conversations per hour, it could mean they are handling all the toughest questions, or that they are not managing their time well. Handled volumes will vary based on the type of questions the particular agent is handling and can give you some insights to agents that may require coaching or training. Do the same with agent states, handle times, TAR, etc: look at the averages and address the outliers.
One thing I always tell people is that fast doesn’t always equate to good. Using the data you gathered about your agents from above, determine the averages and identify outliers, and then take a look at the response-related metrics that can impact customer experience and satisfaction.
I highly recommend you add a Quality check as part of your analysis, since each business has different questions and goals, you will want to customize this to your own business. Things to consider:
When thinking about volumes, consider all the channels you are currently supporting, both individually and overall. This will give you the best view of how your workforce is performing.
The voice of your brand is directly impacted by your Care agents, often more so than your Marketing team. If you have provided brand voice training to your agents great! If not you should consider this. When your agents are responding do they sound like a cohesive team, or are the responses and attitudes all over the place? Why does this matter? If a large majority of questions are being handled by your Care agents, then by default, and sometimes sheer volume, they become the voice of your brand. Make sure you have a plan for training your agents on brand voice, and monitor it as part of your QA check. Note: this doesn’t mean that they should all be copy pasting answers or using scripts. (that can be an even worse customer experience). But they should have guidelines and consistency in how they respond. Allow your agents to let their personality shine through while still representing the brand in a positive light.
Once you determine what success for each channel looks like, you can optimize your workflows and train your agents on any new procedures.
When preparing to make some adjustments to optimize, it likely resulted in the need for changes to your current workflows or processes. You will need to consider what may require additional training for your agents. Even if you are just getting started, plan ahead to make sure you have supervisors, managers, and trainers - not just agents - in all your training sessions. Managers and supervisors experience the most change and are key to the success of people on the frontline. Don't forget to document your changes and update your training materials! If you are coming from another platform it gives you an opportunity to take a look at what is not working and make adjustments to your procedures and workflows.
Wrap up: Once you have done your analysis and optimization, you may be ready to grow your program, this may mean adding agents, channels, software or all of these! So now it’s time to talk about Growth in part three of Success Planning.
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