ITEXPO begins in:   New Coverage :  Asterisk  |  Fax Software  |  SIP Phones  |  Small Cells

Communities have long emerged as critical tools for building and maintaining customer loyalty and satisfaction. Such communities can be equally effective as tools to improve employee retention. Building a thriving employee community promotes a sense of shared experience as well as a sense of influence — important elements to build a strong bond with your organization. When the employees believe that they have an influential voice, it deepens their commitment to the organization and encourages ongoing feedback, creating a continuous, positive dialog.

Soliciting feedback from employees is certainly nothing new or revolutionary. But the track record for such initiatives is certainly not a good one, as data is often collected but not truly used to make critical business decisions about the employees. More directly, employees are rarely informed about findings from the process and too infrequently see any change as a result of their participation. Creating and managing a panel of respondents from an active employee community can address these historical problems and perceptions.

Step 1: Get employees on board.
To recruit employees to a panel, you need to clearly express the benefit of taking part in the process and how much time they will be asked to invest. Managing survey fatigue is a key element to making these panels effective, and employee respondents need to know that you will respect their time. Once a respondent agrees to be part of the process, it is crucial to build deep profiles that facilitate targeted feedback initiatives focused on specific issues or concerns within certain groups or departments.

Step 2: Create an interactive experience.
Studies have shown that 50 percent of respondents feel properly motivated to participate in exchange for seeing the survey results. By integrating a portal or dashboard, respondents can see a summary of their active surveys along with the associated results. Such access gives respondents an on-demand and real-time view into the feedback process. If you choose to use incentives for participation, respondents should also be able to view their earned incentives and use them as appropriate.

Step 3: Earn and reward their trust.
Taking a survey is an act of trust, and violation of that trust will have negative consequences. You should set standards to ensure that respondents are treated properly. For example, no survey should take longer than 15 minutes to complete and there should be an accurate visual indication of the survey’s completion progress. Employees will respond positively to this protection of their rights, and their subsequent willingness to participate will help drive up response rates and therefore the value of the collected feedback.

Step 4: Build a “rising spiral” of feedback.
The final step toward building a sense of influence is demonstrating to the community that their voice is not only being heard, but that the organization is taking action based on their feedback, complete with continuing status updates of initiatives. This truly reinforces the sense of influence and ensures that the community members believe their participation is time well spent. Most importantly, it has a “rising spiral” effect of strengthening the community and encouraging more employees to participate in the feedback process.

The advantage of building a respondent panel from your employee community is that you can gather regular and consistent feedback. This not only keeps you current with the thoughts and concerns of the employee base; it also provides the ability to spot trends and evolving employee sentiments over time. The process is extremely cost effective as well—once the initial start-up process is complete, the cost associated with each survey is extremely low. The end result is timely, consistent and regular feedback data, gathered in a cost-effective way to maintain a close understanding of employees and their needs.

Vovici is the pioneer in Enterprise Feedback Management, offering products and services that increase customer loyalty, facilitate collaboration and innovation, influence critical business decisions, and provide a voice to online communities. Organizations worldwide, including more than 58 percent of the Fortune 500, rely on Vovici to help them effectively use surveys to identify employee satisfaction, market research, and customer satisfaction; and act on that information to create long-term relationships, increase profitability and facilitate time-critical actions that drive business results.

Listening To Agents:
A Radical Concept
By Tracey E. Schelmetic, Editorial Director, Customer Interaction Solutions

No one knows your customers like your agents do. Pushing decisions onto them from the top down, without listening to their suggestions and needs, makes about as much sense as buying new software for the call center without bothering to determine the call center’s needs in advance.

Research has shown time and again that one of the major causes of turnover is employees feeling frustrated that they are not being given the right tools, either in terms of training or technology, to do their jobs correctly. A frustrated agent quickly turns into a burned out agent, who quickly turns into an agent who harms the customer relationship. By the time the agent has quit, it’s too late. The agent is gone, the resources you invested in that agent are wasted, and the agent is not interested in telling you why he or she is leaving. It’s not worth his or her effort. The intervention needs to happen BEFORE a dissatisfied agent becomes a burned out agent, onward down the spiral.

On the flip side, the most satisfied agents are those who feel a sense of community in the workplace. They’ve bonded with co-workers. They feel like a part of a team. They take pride in their accomplishments. They don’t dread coming to work every day.
Whether your call center comes to be full of the frustrated, disenchanted agents or the spirited, enthusiastic agents is not an accident. It may hinge on factors you never imagined: a friendly, competitive contest that awards agents for performance once a month. Agents who plan together to decorate for holidays. Sufficient break time to recharge before an afternoon shift. Comfortable headsets. An attractive call center interior.

Agents don’t want to feel like commodities. Too many companies treat them as such, however. And until you start really listening to them, it will hard to know if your organization is one of them.

CIS Table of Contents
| More