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Contact Center Solutions: Process & Design Flow

By: Bob Dunmire on June 26th, 2019

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Contact Center Solutions: Process & Design Flow

Contact Center Management

Setting up a call center or reconfiguring an existing call center can be as simple as installing phone systems and cubicles in whatever configuration fits in your space, but that won’t get your company the results it wants. The only way you can make your contact center successful is to set it up from a process AND design standpoint.

The thing is, call centers are all about the people that work IN them. Ideally, you need a facility that is as functional as it is pleasant. A well-designed call center will inspire your agents to do their best work and help them get there with the right technology and functionality. It also needs to be a place where they feel safe. And it needs to be clean. Of course, all of that is easier said than done.

In this article, we will highlight some of our best practices, so you can understand how GCS designs call center process and flow for success. Let’s get started.

Functionality

Functionality is first and foremost in planning your call center, but when we say “function,” we are not just speaking about having computers, phones, and desks. Good functionality is found in the details. For instance, you need to provide places where your agents can store their things in your call center. For most companies, lockers are the best solution because they let people secure their belongings, but there is another reason.

If you didn’t have a place for your agents to stow and secure their stuff, what would happen?

Your agents would have to bring their coats and bags on the floor with them, so everything gets stuffed under their desks. It’s messy, sure, but there are more significant risks. One is that your agents will eat on the floor. That’s a big no-no. Your customers don’t want to hear their customer service agent chewing. Also, you don’t want your agents to have cell phones and other electronic devices on the calling floor. If that happens, customer security becomes risky, and you can compromise security and PCI compliance. You wouldn’t even be able to accept payments!

At GCS, we don’t just include lockers; we make sure that they can charge cell phones and other devices in them. This is a convenience for the associates and eliminates the need to charge cell phones in other areas. It keeps agents from scrambling to find outlets.

Another good example of functionality is the location of different facilities. For one, put your HR department near the entrance of your building to make it easier on people who are interviewing for a job. Make sure it is remote enough to provide some privacy for associates going there for personal conversations.

You should also think about where the break room is located relative to your agents. It needs to be far enough (or secure enough) that the sounds from agents on break doesn’t disturb people taking calls on the floor, but close enough that your agents feel like they have adequate break time (and didn’t spend half their break walking to the break room). It is great if you can windows, or at least pleasing images to provide a sense of calm.  We often use wall murals of local scenes if windows are not available. These steps allow the agent to decompress a bit before returning to the call floor.

 


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Aesthetics

Aesthetics are usually an afterthought, but the best call centers know better. While they don’t prioritize the look of the facility over its function, they know that the right aesthetics are strategic. They use colors that stimulate and motivate. For one, training rooms often have a pop of bright green because the color is thought to encourage learning and increased attention. Likewise, break rooms usually bring in things from the outside world so that your agents don’t feel trapped inside. They have murals, paintings, and other things that highlight some of the best things the local area has to offer.

Consider posting items up throughout your call center to build pride as well. You could include your company’s signage or logo. Even local landmarks can help create a sense of pride and community in your agents, and that translates into productivity.

In most GCS call centers, you will find an open layout – even managers do not get a private office. This creates clean sight lines, and the lack of walls makes it easy for managers or supervisors to keep an eye out for agents needing help. They can more quickly address issues when they come up, and provide assistance. However, open call center plans also create challenges, like noise, so we include these aesthetics into our design plan. We put soundboards into the ceiling and walls to reduce echo, use white noise machines, and provide agents with noise-canceling headphones so they can clearly hear every customer.

 

Technology

If people are the heartbeat of a center, the technology is the lifeblood that keeps it going. There is a ton of tech in the contact center world, and it all serves a purpose. Your call center may find the value in certain pieces of technology, but not in others. Some of them add a lot of value but carry a high price tag, while others cost next to nothing (comparatively). Evaluate your needs, demo services, and talk to experienced professionals like GCS before you decide on specific technologies.

Ideally, you are going to need a robust phone system and a CRM that integrates with your customer account data and lets your agents access and alter information in real-time – but that’s just the minimum. Wallboards are a good start. They don’t cost much, and they let you show your agents up-to-the-minute call stats as well as alerts and situational updates. This is where you post a flashing notice when the call queue is too long or if there is a weather situation happening in a specific area that is delaying shipments.

Technology can also help you make good hiring decisions for your call center. At GCS, we designed an assessment called eSkills that everyone who applies to work for us is required to take. It lets us make sure each applicant is a good fit for the type of soft skills-heavy customer service we want GCS agents to have, the sort of careful communication being an agent requires, and our culture in general.

You might also consider an integrated workforce management tool that lets agents communicate with each other or messages to be flashed to your agents. We find that tools like this are an excellent way to communicate when a website is down, there are issues with the 800-number or some other information that our agents need to know right away.

 

Process

The process is where it all comes together. Start with standard operating procedures (SOPs). This is the how-to guide for how your agents are supposed to handle particular actions. For instance, you might have an SOP for how to help a customer who lost his or her password. SOPs usually requires knowledge of the subject matter to create as well as some input from people who work with your customers directly.

You can also have established processes for agent feedback. At GCS, we provide Feedback to Everyone Every Day. That’s the basis of our F.E.E.D. program, and it’s a big part of what makes us unique. There is a process to this form of self-coaching. Agents evaluate themselves by listening to recordings, and they are coached one-on-one in breakout rooms, so they don’t feel like they are “on the spot” or uncomfortable getting feedback in front of other agents. By having a set of procedures outlined, everyone receives input, and the supervisor or manager still has time to observe and monitor the agents and productivity performance in general.

 

Conclusion

Set your call center up to be successful by paying attention to its design and its operations. Functionality, aesthetics, technology, and process each need to be in place for your contact center to reach its productivity performance goals. Help your call center be functional and provide a great working environment, by working with GCS. We can help you create a space where your agents WANT to work. Contact us today to see how the GCS difference can work for your call center


The Complete Guide to Contact Centers

Everything you need to know about Contact Center Solutions

Learn more