@jamiemccardle a couple of ideas here, depending on your end goals, if.you want to create a way to have a calendar of events on your community check out Khoros Events. Or for a quick and easy way you can just post a Microsoft Outlook calendar invite link.
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Managing Change in your Care Programs
Making a change to your Care program can happen proactively or organically. Proactive changes such as adding a new channel, increasing staff, or a new promotion may be planned but can have significant impacts. If the change is organic, often driven by unplanned events or crises, the impacts require a bit of reverse engineering; even so, you can learn to plan for these types of changes as well.
In this blog, we will talk about some Change Management best practices that can be applied to both expected and unexpected changes.
For this topic I have asked our Change Management Director, Ramona Maher, to join me. Ramona’s career in change management has focused on leading change management efforts on a large scale as part of cross-functional strategic initiatives. She is well-versed in a variety of tools and techniques to help organizations realize the people-dependent benefits of new ways of doing business.
Today we’ll talk about a few fundamental change management concepts and tools that you as a Care Leader can apply.
Things to think about when you’re undertaking a change
Change can be a complex and difficult process—yet we often invest more in the technical side of change than in leading impacted people through times of change. In contact centers, the people who are using a new technology or process are truly where the rubber meets the road in terms of cost and efficiency gains, yet it’s easy to underestimate that dependency. Investing in change management activities for a project will positively influence the three “people side” factors that impact the return it delivers: speed of adoption, proficiency, and ultimate utilization . Answers to a few key questions will start you down the path of planning change management activities.
What is the reason for the change? What’s the business going to get out of it?
This is important to know because the Big Why will help drive desire. Generally speaking, people want to know they’re part of something bigger than themselves, and this Big Why is that thing. Articulating the Big Why at the beginning of a change also helps keep senior leaders and strategic thinkers aligned on the vision. It will help you define what success looks like so everyone will know if they are on track and when they have achieved it. This activity is the foundation for all subsequent activity and you will not gain the benefits you’re after without it.
Who has to do something different in their jobs in order to make this change successful?
Any change will create some kind of impact; that impact can be good or bad. Even if a new process or software is more efficient, and an agent is happy about the new UI, it’s still a change and will take some getting used to. It’s important to know who needs to do something differently so they can be properly prepared. You’ll refer to this list of people and groups throughout the entire change process - when building communications, delivering training, and evaluating KPIs.
How much change will be required of them, and by when?
When we get right down to it, each person has their own unique experience with a given change. While you can’t be expected to know how 500 individual agents will experience through their unique lenses, you can prepare yourself by learning how a group of agents is likely to respond. The same is true for their supervisors and managers. Take your best guess and assign a high, medium, or low rating to the amount of change that each group on your list may expect. You’ll have a chance to refine the rating later on.
Now think about WHEN these folks need to know how to do the new thing. Will you be training them on the day the new system goes live or before then? You will want to equip your managers ahead of their teams to provide an extra layer of support on the front lines. Already we’ve got three different and equally important dates to plan for….”go live” which comes after end user training which comes after manager training. You can see a schedule of events starting to come together. Work closely with your Khoros Implementation Advisor and/or Project Manager to sync schedules.
How much of the success of your change is dependent on people doing something different?
This question prompts you to think about how much money and time is appropriate to invest in getting those people ready. Installing a new, more efficient system will inherently bring some benefits and improvements, but if you can get the people ready to USE that system quickly and proficiently, then you realize the benefits much sooner.
Having thought through these considerations you’ll have a general outline of who is impacted, the size of that impact, and when major changes will occur. Next up: dig deeper into the change management activities for the impacted groups.
Who delivers a communication is as important as the content of the message itself. Which senior leaders are going to be most effective at delivering messages about the Big Why to each group? Which people managers are leading teams impacted by this change? You should also consider building a network of change agents to reinforce messages. Who are the folks that always seem to be the ones their peers rely on for good info? Bring them into testing and process design discussions early on so that they can get some skin in the game while preparing to handle early questions from their team. They are a valuable resource for feedback from the frontlines before, during, and after go-live.
Now you can start thinking about how the messages will be delivered...town hall? Email? Text message? 1:1 meetings? What kind of preparation do your senior leaders, people managers, and change agents need to properly convey the importance of the change and the appropriate level of detail to the audience? When should that preparation take place? Add these events and target dates to your schedule, and prepare materials for folks who will be facilitating those discussions. Repeat for each group.
How will you know if the people who need to change are indeed changing? What behaviors will be observable and measurable? You’re probably already measuring the things outlined in the Forecasting & Staffing blog . Use those as benchmarks. You can measure on-time training completion and on-time communications delivery. Choose KPIs that you can measure early enough in the implementation process that you can provide coaching and make other course corrections to get back on track.
Identify someone to monitor those KPIs
Plan time to teach that person how to perform the task if needed
Make a plan of actions to take when KPIs go up or down
A few thoughts on Resistance to Change
Resistance to change is natural. Even exciting events like getting married or buying a home involve natural moments of worry that are rooted in comfort with the status quo. Never underestimate the power of resistance grounded in familiarity; plan for it to show up and think of ways to move through it rather than being surprised by it.
Resistance to change is not all bad, nor is it always a sign that you’re doing something wrong. In fact, you should encourage folks to talk constructively about the things they’re struggling with so they don’t find “unapproved” workarounds that can result in a less than ideal customer experience. Similarly, where agents are finding satisfactory workarounds, you may have an opportunity to improve your overall process and improve the experience for everyone...and you’ll never know it if you discourage talk about resistance.
You can’t assess the levels of resistance based on whether you believe a change is positive or negative, but you can use tools like the Prosci ADKAR Ⓡ Model to understand how individuals experience change as a process and plan activities to minimize disruption.
Put yourself in the shoes of each impacted group and ask the following questions:
Do I understand and agree with the business reasons for making this change?
Am I committed to doing whatever it takes to make this change happen successfully?
Do I know about the change and the new skills required to support the change?
Am I capable of performing these new skills?
Am I receiving the necessary support and reinforcement to sustain this change?
Answering “no” or “sort of” to any of those questions can indicate an area you may experience resistance. You can mitigate that resistance by proactively planning change management activities appropriate to each stage in the ADKAR model and tailoring the activities to each team and/or management level where appropriate.
You’ve planned your work, now it’s time to work your plans. Remember that two-way dialogue with impacted stakeholders and monitoring metrics are ways that you will be able to keep a pulse on progress and quickly make adjustments and course corrections during implementation and after. In future blogs, we’ll dig into topics like the importance of executive sponsorship, planning communications, and building a change agent network.
Resources & Tools you can use to help you define Measurements/KPIs for your Digital Care program.
Modernizing Digital Care Forecasting & Staffing
Khoros Care Analytics
Khoros Care Product Coaching sessions
Questions? Comments? Thoughts?
If you have any questions on the tips provided, please comment below and I’ll get back to you!
Grow: Part 3.3
Start Over ➡️
Table of Contents
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Welcome to part three of the Optimization & Growth blog, Growth.
In this session we will talk about things to consider when growing your Care programs, if you haven’t already please be sure to read and consider the steps in Part one: Analyze and Part two: Optimize.
If you followed along on the Analysis & Optimization blogs, you have a better idea of what and how to successfully manage your agents and conversations, you may be asking questions like these:
Which metrics should we be measuring that best map to our executive priorities?
We want to be more customer experience-focused, but what does that look like on digital channels?
There are a lot of things to consider when you make a decision to expand your channels.
A lot of information on forecasting and staffing can be found here , but in this session, I want to talk more about the why and not so much the formulas for doing so.
Once you have all your stars aligned, you can now begin to determine if you actually needed to add more agents, or if a few adjustments actually improved your efficiencies to a point where you have more agents than you need...what a great time to consider adding another channel!
One of the best ways to evaluate the need for channel growth is to consider the Customer Experience. What do you know about your customers? B2B and B2C are very different, but each brand should also try to differentiate themselves from their competitors, based on their customers' needs. At the end of the day, we are all customers, and adding channels just because another brand does, is not always the best decision.
Things to consider:
Demographics - what are the channels your customers are most likely to want to interact with you? If they are millennials, they likely want to engage on their time or prefer to just search for answers.
Channel type - from above, where is your current volume coming from? Most likely private, that tends to be a default for many companies due to privacy.
Self-Service - sometimes the best decision is not to add a new channel, maybe you just need a little help from a Bot. Or, if you do not already have a Community, it could greatly augment your staff and supply your bot with all the best answers!
Website volumes & trends - how many visits are you getting to your FAQs, Contact Us, and other product/service pages where customers are getting answers? Consider bounce rates: are your customers finding what they need or just leaving? If they are leaving where are they going? Google? Also, where are they coming from? Google? This can be a big indicator that you do not have what they are searching for, or you don’t have an easy way for them to contact you.
Social, Messaging, Chat & Community
Consider the customer experience in each of your channels.
Customers may all have the same questions but your response style should be tailored to the incoming channel. Consider public versus private responses. Depending on your industry and your customer, public channels may require a faster response than private channels or vice versa.
Business Goal Alignment
Aligning internal teams will help to determine what your KPIs should be and how to best meet the overall goals of your executives.
Once you gather all this data and take a holistic look at it, you should consider talking to your internal Customer Experience teams about Customer Journeys. What are they thinking about when it comes to overall Satisfaction?
What about your Marketing teams? Where are they posting ads, what campaigns are they considering, and do they have a plan for engagement?
Your internal teams likely have the same ultimate goals as you: to serve the customer with the best experience possible. So consider teaming up to create a plan for where your agents, Community Managers, Social Media Managers, Product Managers, etc. can add the most value to the customer.
To wrap it up
There is no exact science to predicting what will happen next or what will work for every customer, but using some of the methodologies in this 3 part Optimization and Growth blog can prepare you to make your next best move!
Questions? Comments? Thoughts?
If you have any questions on the tips provided, please comment below and I’ll get back to you! If you enjoyed this and want to further explore the subject, please download our eBook, Modernizing your contact center.
Optimize: Part 3.2
Change Management: Part 4
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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:
Is your team efficient and effective?
Is your team doing well, but can improve?
Is your team drowning in work?
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:
Solution Accuracy . Are agents understanding the questions asked and providing the best answer? This may vary depending on the complexity of the customer questions. If you find that a high percentage of questions have the exact same answer, dig deeper. Is this behavior exhibited by the same few agent(s) or the majority?
A few are the same - see if there is an opportunity for training or coaching if these answers are not the best.
Majority - definitely time to consider self-service options like Community and Bots, and also consider priority rules. Are these questions low priority? Can they be answered by an FAQ? Perhaps they do not require a response. (I’ll talk more about this in an upcoming session on how Community can be a great tool to reduce Care volumes.)
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.
Public Social Channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram
Private Channels like your Social Private Messengers, Web Chat, Messaging like Whatsapp and Apple Business Chat, Google Business Messages, and even your own branded messengers.
Look at the volumes across these channels to determine where the majority are coming from. For public, review responses to determine if these are appropriately handled or if they are just noise. Are there questions that should be taken private? For private, are there opportunities to automate responses, or are the majority privacy-based questions like account or personal information? Are these appropriately handled?
Estimate conversation volume, by using your website visits or contact volumes in other digital channel data to determine volumes.
Once a new channel is fully ramped, volumes can be up to 2-10x your benchmark, so plan for that. Make sure you can easily flex agents across channels — existing and new — in your platform is easy to flex agents across channels to maximize capacity along the way.
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.
Analyze: Part 3.1
Grow Your Digital Care Program: Part 3.3
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