Today’s always connected digital experience enables consumers to search online for anything, at anytime, and access millions of results—then instantly make a transaction. This is where the brand challenges (as well as the opportunities) begin.
Being part of the digital ecosystem requires businesses to play by a variety of customer-driven rules of engagement. One of the most important rules of engagement is hiring and growing a team of talented chat agents. These employees are charged with personally nurturing customer relationships and providing a best-in-class customer experience. The benefits of an all-star agent team truly impact bottom-line business results.
Position your team for success
While the right technology enables success, your brand’s results will be only as good as your chat agents’ best efforts—this is where the human factor comes in! Chat agents are your frontline and can either make or break your customers’ experience.
Top customer engagements, or your most critical customer scenarios, require your brand’s top chat agents. At Davinci Virtual Office Solutions, we created a skill-based and career-path oriented employee model that allows us to recruit, train, and retain these champion employees. Chat agents graduate through our multi-tiered development program, with the ultimate status being a Davinci Super Agent.
What makes up the DNA of a Super Agent? These are our most senior, best trained, and knowledgeable sales or customer service agents. They’re armed with the most advanced and productive tools, and they have spent their career at Davinci graduating through our color-coded team levels. Davinci’s color-coding ranges from green to yellow to red and requires the employee to meet a variety of qualifications and achievements.
5 Tips: Train for the A-Team
We have created a very specific process, culture, and corporate environment to ensure that our hiring, training, and career development efforts yield as many super agents as possible. There are several areas that we found to be key to finding and retaining great people. The following are a few of our lessons learned along the way.
- First impressions count.You only have one chance to make a great first impression—for your customers and future chat agent team.
The decision-making factors for potential candidates include everything from the job listing, company culture, benefits, career path options, compensation, and more. At Davinci, we give qualified applicants a company tour and let them meet staff and management to reassure much of the above.
- Start on the right foot.Once the job starts, your chat agents’ first couple of days will set the tone for the duration and quality of the engagement. Make sure the initial training is fun and engaging. You want to develop passionate, excited agent advocates. As a starting point, Davinci provides a full breakfast and snacks throughout the first day of training, and gives employees a copy of our culture book as a gift. A company founder meets with them to explain why we built the company and discuss our overarching vision and strategy.
From there, make sure you’re meeting expectations early. Check in with new employees often to ensure training goes smoothly, initial questions are answered, and that new employees have the necessary tools to succeed.
- Start career path conversations early.Your new employee needs to be aware of all career options at all times. Meet with your new employee, explain the opportunities for growth within their department, and highlight qualifications along the path to success. At Davinci, we let new employees shadow other staff to get a firsthand look at what a day in that job really looks like. This allows them to gain a more in-depth understanding of the different roles that are available to them.
- Promote from within.You get to know your agents very well, and you want to reward them for their performance. As a result, they deserve first chance to apply for any position within your company. Make sure you review an employee’s performance often and discuss options for advancement. We review every employee once a month based on a set of parameters that include areas of performance, attendance, and participation.
- Culture is key!Make work fun. You want employees to tell other people that this job is the best they ever had. A big part of that has to do with the work environment and the culture. Every company has a different outlook when it comes to what this looks like. Regardless of what that might be, make sure you invest heavily in your company culture. We’ve found it’s an expense with great returns. One way we’ve fostered how employees embrace and become energized as a result of our corporate culture is through the full-time culture fairy. Her name is Katie and her only focus is to ensure that all Davinci employees are happy and engaged. She handles all Davinci-culture activities, including daily games and challenges, weekly potlucks, monthly team-building events, and charity-of-the-month programs.
People are the heart of our business
We’ve had great success attracting and retaining staff over the years. Many of our call center employees have been with the company for several years, and our employee attrition rate is extremely low compared with industry data.
Our entire management team is comprised of employees who have been with Davinci for a long time—many since our inception. They remain with the company because we’ve offered them the opportunity to grow with the business and create careers for themselves. People truly are Davinci’s greatest asset.
Sales representative Brianna Gonzales is one of Davinci's Super Agents. She recently received LivePerson's Adventurer agent hero award at Aspire 2014 for guiding a non-native English speaker throughout the entire customer journey. Watch her video below.
Martin Senn is a guest author on the Connected Customer Blog. To read more from Martin and Davinci, check out the following posts:
How are you making people the center of your business? Continue the conversation in the comments below.
This article was originally posted on LivePerson's The Connected Customer Blog on November 18, 2014.