We’re in the heart of March Madness right now, that glorious time of year when NCAA basketball teams duke it out, while consuming the time and attention of sports fans throughout the country. Watching other people play sports can be exciting and distracting, and March Madness is an entertaining spectacle for sure. But the event also illustrates some interesting concepts about management and productivity and offers valuable lessons that can be applied in the contact center.
A recent blog post from contact center optimization specialists Aspect cites data from Office Pulse by Captivate revealing businesses lose up to $1.6 billion during March Madness because of productivity decreases. That’s a pretty large disruption due to a basketball tournament and yet it’s a business reality. The contact center is one area where productivity losses can wreak absolute havoc, but there are a few takeaways from March Madness that can benefit contact center managers and help boost productivity during notoriously disruptive times.
Of course coaching is the key to success in basketball and it also applies to the contact center. Agents need proper advice and coaching to ensure they are maintaining optimal productivity. And that means managers need to provide agents with tips and tools for success instead of just barking orders from the sidelines. Agents should also be held accountable for maintaining expected performance goals and managers need to remain involved to keep them motivated.
A good defense is key to winning in March Madness and contact centers can take a similar approach by being armed with proactive communication tools. By being properly prepared for a variety of scenarios, agents can engage customers and convert one-way calls into two-way conversations. This will ideally lead to resolution and an overall successful customer interaction, the goal for all contact center experiences. A proactive approach also prevents minor issues from becoming deal breakers, while steering customers toward self-service solutions equipped to handle their minor problems, thereby reducing strain on contact center resources.
Free throws can make or break a game during March Madness and the same holds true for any customer interaction. Agents have an opportunity early on to acknowledge customers and their issues and validate their concerns and questions. Being armed with the proper tools can go a long way toward successfully resolving the customer interaction, while failure to properly acknowledge customers can translate to a missed throw.
Customer service interactions may not be on the level of excitement of March Madness, but managers and agents can learn a lot from how the basketball game is played. With proper coaching, a proactive “defense” for dealing with customers and using the available tools to properly acknowledge and validate customers’ concerns, contact centers can get ahead of the game and win the customer experience tournament.