Channel partners will have an increasing role to play in supporting businesses with enhancing employee productivity and reducing customer service pain points, research from audio technology company Jabra has revealed.
Businesses are currently struggling with culture, technology and processes which are preventing them from creating great working conditions for some of their most highly-valued workers. These employees are struggling to create productive working environments, with the research showing that the most productive customer service profiles are up to 47 per cent more productive compared to the least productive. As customer calls grow in complexity, the results indicate that the winning companies will be the ones that invest in working environments that allow for concentration and efficiency.
Nigel Dunn, Managing Director UK & Ireland, Jabra, commented: “Within every business there is a group of employees who spend a significant amount of time and effort on their call-based communication. Conversations that this group is having are important in-depth discussions, bringing significant value and adding to the success of the business – they represent the organisation publicly. Yet organisational culture doesn’t prioritise the enablement of productivity for these individuals and too often it’s not a consideration at all.”
Dunn continued: “The channel will become increasingly influential in reducing the productivity gap. This research will help them to continue to educate their customers about the working environment that suits call-centric employees best and the support technology that they need to deliver efficient, best-in-class customer service. By doing this the channel can leverage incremental revenue gains and reinforce its ‘trusted advisor’ role.”
As many as 36 per cent of workers responsible for carrying out problem-solving conversations with customers on the phone think there are too many interruptions from colleagues throughout the day. On average, 34 per cent find noise levels in their working environment too distracting. These are rated far higher than factors such as the number of calls made per day or too few breaks between calls. Employees are therefore prevented from producing value in a productive manner. As a result, businesses need to re-think the culture and tools they offer in order to fully enable and maximise the resource of these highly valuable employees.
The research defines four groups of workers that are focused on bringing business value through call conversations with customers. These include call centre agents, civil servants, traders and advisors. Each group has varying priorities depending on how calls need to be handled, through efficiency or delivering strategic value. However all groups are struggling at different levels to achieve concentration, avoid interruptions and over-communication through too many meetings and too many emails. As well as technology issues, they all experience challenges with their physical working environments, with open plan offices in particular adding to the concentration challenge.
For over a third (35 per cent) of civil servants, those working in HR and IT support, the factor negatively impacting productivity the most was noise levels. Traders, which includes account managers and consultants, suffer similar pain points. The same number, 35 per cent, attribute poor productivity to noise levels in surrounding office environments. For employees that rely heavily on delivering value to clients and closing new deals over the phone, the research highlights current restraints that are preventing them from doing so.
Whilst many businesses recognise the importance of customer service, the value this group of workers offer is the level of interaction with customers. They should therefore be the same priority level – especially as research suggests perception of customer service does not match the reality that customers experience*. 80% of organisations say they deliver excellent customer service, yet only 8% of customers agree*.
Dunn comments: “Communication trends between customers and businesses have shifted a lot in the last five years. The variety of methods available to customers means that the phone is now used more strategically, for people seeking empathy that’s apparent in human interaction. Any opportunity to speak with customers on the phone is more valuable than ever before. Investment in supporting this group should not only be a strategic priority to make sure those conversations deliver the value customers expect, but also provide the channel with a way to increase margins within their telephony and audio devices categories .”
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