Workforce Optimization Featured Article

NICE: Call Center Customers Love Commanders

February 24, 2017

People prefer strength over weakness. This holds true whether you’re talking about an organizational leader or an agent in a call center.

That’s the word from call center workforce optimization solution provider NICE.

NICE has been researching this kind of thing. As part of that work, it has created categories for different employee work styles. That includes what it calls the Commander, a strong performer with strong opinions; the Inventor, who looks for creative solutions; the Listener, who can lend a sympathetic ear; the Pacifier, who is all about accommodation and compromise; and the Workhorse, who is dedicated to following company rules.

A lot of organizations assume Listeners are best suited to serving customers that need help after exhausting self-service options, says NICE. But, in fact, that is not typically the case.

“In practice, the latest research and our own field observations show that the Commander far outperforms all his or her colleagues in making the frustrated customers’ service experience easier,” blogs Yohai West, chief evangelist for NICE’s Adaptive Workforce Optimization Solution. “Apparently, this is because Commanders tend to take charge, adapt to the specific customer’s needs and personality, and know when to depart from the approved script to get things done. And customers love it.”

That said, West suggests that the most effective workforce management approach is one that takes those personality profiles into account in formulating coaching, forecasting, and other processes. West says that should start with understanding how employees are currently performing through the use of relative metrics.

Relative metrics entail measuring work performance on a comparative basis. It measures in this way, West explains, because “a particular employee’s performance can only be meaningfully assessed in comparison to other employees of the same tenure, using the same skill set, dealing with the same type of customer, who is calling for the same reason.”

That allows managers to understand how to coach, employees to figure out where they need to improve, and workers with different personality types (like Listeners) to build their skillsets so they can better take charge of and address customer requests (as do Commanders). 

Edited by Alicia Young
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