With all the advancements in contact centre technology and practices, one challenge still remains at the forefront of day to day operations; absenteeism. The impact of absenteeism continues to undo a lot of the great work being delivered across the contact centre, by creating one of the greatest points of customer frustration; waiting in queue. The impacts on staff engagement are also significant - those who are at work must carry the burden of those who are not. DFP has been at the forefront of the contact centre industry for many years recruiting for a variety of roles in the contact centre environment. In collaboration with Kumbya, a company focused exclusively on helping organisations manage and reduce contact centre absenteeism, we are excited to share some key initiatives on the topic of absenteeism from their recent report. Over the next few weeks we'll be sharing 10 different strategies organisations can focus on to help reduce contact centre absenteeism.
1. Patterns have promise.
When looking to improve attendance across the board, a logical place to start is with your worst offenders and work your way up the list. But more often than not, it's those who have distinct trends within their absence history that poses the greatest likelihood of improving their attendance. Let's take a common example of 'Mondayitis'.
When reviewing your absenteeism data, you might identify a staff member who has shown a distinct trend in taking Mondays off. This likely represents a greater opportunity of being resolved than someone who has taken a couple of long bursts of time off. It's likely there's a preventable reason for the trend; and by simply presenting the pattern to the staff member with an open mind (coupled with some of the questioning techniques mentioned below), the staff member will more than likely be inclined to talk about what is going on and why.
Often, addressing the trend of absences in an open manner, is enough for the staff member to just stop doing it, knowing that you've identified a pattern of behaviour. Through this approach, other common trends will become apparent, for example, days off after public holidays, just before or after pay day or when paid sick leave entitlements kick in (if applicable) to name a few common examples.
Tip: Colour in a visual 12 month calendar with the absent/late days and the trends will jump off the page. It's also easier for those who are more visual and possibly less data centric.
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2. The rifle over the shotgun.
One on one engagements One of the most common mistakes we see is taking a macro approach before a targeted one. Put differently, "We keep getting slammed on Mondays because of high absenteeism, let's put on pizza so we get more people turning up". Now let's consider that 'A' your people need time off and are using their right to be absent as it's intended or 'B', the PlayStation has a greater appeal that day than dealing with your customers. Either way, free pizza is not going to have them turn up unwell (of which you wouldn't want anyway), nor is it able to compete with a day at home playing on that game console. Effective absence management is all about unique individuals and their unique drivers and needs. If you want to implement contact centre or business wide initiatives to favourably impact absenteeism, we recommend these initiatives are created by drawing on the many conversations team leaders have had with their respective people about their attendance. For example, if everyone is complaining that it's too busy and they are calling in sick because they are exhausted, you might need to look at your occupancy. Tip: Take note of the reasons given for the absence and share them (perhaps in confidence) with your peers at your leadership meetings to seek out trends and actions that you can do across the board.