One of our employees received a personal message a few months back from an acquaintance who had started a new business: “Hey! Hope all is well! I am reaching out as I have recently joined [Company X]. Let me ask a few questions: are you currently using any face wash, do you have any dark marks, acne, fine lines/wrinkles, or sensitive skin? If you currently have a skincare regimen that you love, great! If you are looking for a new one or don’t have one (or even looking to even out your skin tones), let’s talk more. I would love to tell you more about [Company X] and would love your support in my new business endeavor.”
When our reply was “Congratulations on your new venture, we too love this brand and have been using it for a year” there was no reply. Not even a “Darn! Wish I was able to help you” or a “Way to go! You chose the right products!” We were a bit surprised by this and it then became very obvious that this new business person simply sent out a blanket message that was scripted from her company, with no thought beyond the initial message. Keep in mind, this person is a new Brand Ambassador for this company and a face of these products, and while surely disappointed in our reply, a quick response would have gone far in keeping a positive impression of this brand.
This got us to thinking about scripts in general. A script enables quick communication and can be useful in some situations. Learning a new job can be overwhelming; providing sales scripts can be one of the ways to ease the burden of learning everything all at once. A framework and guidance in situations where nerves may get the best of you provide some peace of mind.
However, there are times when scripts are not useful, appropriate or well-planned. Interacting with others should be a natural process and not "forced." What happens when the other person doesn't answer the way the script says they should? Then what? Continuing to go down the path that the script lays out can be frustrating and counterproductive for both parties. Knowing when to go "off-script" is critical in building relationships. This values everyone's time throughout the process. Another key is to be sure to round out the conversation and always provide a genuine response.
When our potential customer doesn’t reply as we would hope they would (and let’s face it, this happens daily), let’s be sure we’ve formulated a plan of action for these types of responses and not leave the customer to think we don’t care. This is going to require a more natural, human response. I think we can all handle that, right?
Our contact center staff is on the front lines every day. Plantronics uses the term “Brand Ambassadors,” as these staff members are the face of your company to the outside world. They are the first, and sometimes final, point of contact for customers.
We are in the middle of the “most wonderful time of the year“ and you are probably looking around your call center right now and wondering if you’ve done everything you possibly could have to ensure a successful, positive holiday season for your staff, and in turn, for your customers. Long hours, sleep-deprived customers and staff, and faulty equipment can contribute to poor morale.
Whether you are at this point in the year completely immersed in the holiday season in your contact center, or just gaining steam, one of the most important pieces of equipment your staff uses is their headset. Are they working with broken-down, pieced-together-with-Scotch-tape headsets? Or, are you equipping them with a quality headset that’s comfortable and one they feel confident with using every day?
Our recommendation for staff members who are on the phone for the majority of their work day: thePlantronics EncorePro HW520. Plantronics took the best from the SupraPlus family and updated the technology, fit and comfort level into a stylish, lightweight headset with high quality sound.
Plantronics has made the good even better with the newest iteration of the Edge Bluetooth headset, the Voyager 3200 UC.
It is diminutive in size, yet the mic was able to pick up everything we said; our callers couldn't believe we were talking to them on a Bluetooth headset. The mic muffled and/or blocked out people talking in the office (depending upon the volume of their voice), so that callers could not hear exactly what was being said around us. In our testing, the 40 mph winds (no kidding!) raged around us, and they were picked up by the mic, but not so much that we could not be heard on the other end.
The Voyager 3200 UC comes with 3 different sizes of ear gels for a personalized fit, and a lightweight ear hook. We did not test it with the ear hook, because it felt stable enough in-ear that we didn't worry about it falling off while walking around. Once we were out of range of the iPhone, the headset "spoke" with the notification that the device was out of range.
The portable charging case with strap to hang it from a belt loop, bag handle, or purse strap, is a great addition to this headset. Not only does it store the headset, and charge it on-the-go, the case also houses the USB dongle in the front - simply open the small "door" on the front and that's where the dongle is stored. Battery charge levels are easy to discern at a glance;
simply swipe a finger down the front of the case (on either side of the headset) and up to 3 blue lights will light up showing a full charge.
Take advantage of the Plantronics software-enabled functionality in 2 ways:
•The Hub mobile app locates your lost headset, changes languages, wirelessly update firmware, personalize settings and alerts, and enable smart sensor capabilities.
•Use Plantronics Hub desktop software to view headset battery meter, change language, update firmware, enable softphone call control, or personalize settings and alerts.
There are so many features packed into this small device, it's hard to share all of them here. Do you have a question about the Plantronics Voyager 3200 UC, or a different Bluetooth headset? Give us a call at 1-866-998-9991 and we can guide you to the device of your dreams.
While some professions require ongoing training for recertification and licensing, such as pharmacy technicians, medical professionals, and accountants, it is truly beneficial for all industries to consider staff training and development as part of their mission. Why? The benefits seem to outweigh the drawbacks, and lead to positive outcomes for both employer and employees.
Here are just a few of the benefits to providing ongoing training and development:
•Staff Retention. Employees see the investment that their organization makes when they provide training opportunities. The employees feel that they can contribute to the organization by attending the training and learning about the ideas presented to them. Hiring new staff, and training them, is a much bigger investment to an organization, compared with a day (or even a week) of sending current employees to a training opportunity.
•Increase skills and productivity. When employees know more, they do more. And, they do it better. For example, providing excellent customer care can get a boost from learning new ways to handle customers and situations. Computer and technical skills can be polished and enhanced with training in the newest technologies and processes available.
•Less supervision. Employees who are confident in their job duties can be trusted to handle those responsibilities independently. This frees supervisors to focus on other areas.
•Increase morale and motivation. Happy employees are successful employees. In a study by the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, researchers found that happy employees are 12% more productive than those who are not. When employees see the investment a company makes in the employee's career, this makes them feel valued and appreciated.
•Break from day-to-day duties. Taking time away from the daily grind also gives employees the chance to look at situations at work with fresh eyes. Sometimes when sitting in the same spot day after day, year after year, it can be difficult to step back and see the big picture. A day or two away from the workplace can make a huge difference.
Staff development and training could include:
Attending training as an individual, or with a team
Training at the workplace for a few hours, or an entire day
One staff member trains another
An online course
These are just a few of the many training possibilities available. Is staff training and development a priority for your organization? Let us know on the Comments tab, above.
The ability to communicate well is an important life skill. Dictionary.com defines communication this way: to give or interchange thoughts, feelings, information, or the like, by writing, speaking, etc. In a workplace, there are a variety of methods to communicate, and knowing when to use them increases chances for career success.
Meetings. The best use of time should be considered when scheduling a meeting. A clear agenda should be sent to all attendees before the meeting so that everyone is prepared and ready to discuss the topics. This will also keep the meeting on task and keep the meeting length reasonable. Meetings lasting longer than necessary, with no clear agenda or goals, are quite simply a waste of time for all.
Emails. The tone of the wording should be carefully proofread so that the message intent is there, without causing unnecessary drama or strife. Remember that emails are forever accessible; can be forwarded to others; and can be misconstrued, so plain language is the best practice for effective emails.
Training. This is a critical piece of communication in every organization: when something new is introduced, training is essential for complete understanding and employee buy-in. It can be time-consuming; but not necessarily so. Train what you need to train for, and then move on, knowing that you can always go back and revisit if needed. Provide support channels until everyone is confident in the change.
Videoconferencing. We use Easymeeting to work with co-workers outside of our building. There are many options for unified office communications solutions, such as Microsoft Skype for Business, Cisco Jabber and many more. We have found that Vidyo is an effective way to speak "face to face," share information and ideas in a natural conversation, as well as share computer screens to further the conversation.
One on One. Sometimes it makes sense to simply visit the person you need to speak with. This is especially important when sensitive topics are discussed, or bad news is shared. Body language plays a huge role in communicating, and it's best when these "bigger" conversations happen, that they take place face to face.
Do you have any suggestions on how to communicate well in the workplace? Share your ideas above on the Comments tab.