The Method of Micro Pacing

The Water Gun Game

In the call center where I work, we try to build a good working relationship especially the relationship between the supervisor and their agents. We know that our closest link to the agents is their immediate superior and to empower our agents, we have to let their supervisors motivate them. We don’t want to judge the capacity of our people by just looking at the numbers (e.g. QA scores, AHT, service level, etc.). Gallup latest survey found employees who agreed that their supervisor focused on their strengths and personally motivates them, active disengagement fell dramatically to 1%. What’s more, nearly two-thirds 61% of these employees were engaged and only 38% are not engage. Whereas, those employees who are ignored by their supervisors, 51% are not engage, 40% are actively disengage, and only 2% are still engage employees. In the same manner, we believe that if we empower our agents to do better, the numbers that our software is giving us will be a lot more pleasing to look at.

Today, I’d like to talk about one way how we improve our agents performance. One responsibility that our supervisors play when they are on the calling floor is what we call “micro pacing.” Micro Pacing is managing the agents by every half-hour increment to maximize results. This is the process in which coaches can effect the now, or in other words, every hour of the day. This can be done in a variety of ways. Some include:

  • Set small hourly goals with each agent

  • Initial small hourly games with only a couple of individuals

The key to micro pacing is setting individual goals with agents. In goal setting, it is important to remember the following six steps:

  1. Create the Desire

    1. This is the great motivator that pushes people to achieve their goals

  2. Establish a Belief

    1. Help the agent believe without a doubt that they have the ability to achieve the goal

  3. Write it Down

    1. A good rule of thumb is this: until a goal is committed to paper, it is not a goal. Writing it down solidifies the goal.

  4. Analyze

    1. Help the agent determine where they are currently in regards to the goal, and determine what help they need to accomplish the goal.

  5. Set a Deadline

    1. Set the point when the goal can be accomplished.

  6. Follow-Up

    1. By following up with the individual regularly, it will help them remained focused on the goal so that they can accomplish it.

In addition to goal setting, Micro Pacing involves constant interaction with the agents. This interaction, though remaining professional, will help establish a fun energetic atmosphere that encourages high performance.

This means that supervisors don’t just sit in their stations looking at their computer screens with no human interaction to their agents. If you pay a visit to our calling floors, you will see supervisors roaming around, sitting beside the agent, doing side by side monitoring and coaching, and sometimes, you will even see supervisors laughing with the agents when they are avail. A good call center software that provides enormous real time performance data, with increased level of visibility is great for a call center. But if we don’t know how to interpret those data and make use of them, we still can’t improve our performance level and our productivity.

You might say that this work is too much for one supervisor managing several agents to finish. You might even think that maybe the stress level of our supervisors are higher than most. With all the reports they need to submit, all the agent metrics they need to monitor plus their own stats that they need to pass, I can say our supervisors are pretty busy than the most. However, since they are happy with what their doing, stress is not even at their vocabulary. I know this because I’ve been in the calling floor also and until now I’m still connected with my previous supervisors. I still attend to all those team-buildings even if I’m not at their team anymore. I must say, I’m quite a busy person too because those team-buildings and team night outs happen very often, almost every weekend or every day off. And we don’t care much if those events are company paid or not. In fact, I can’t call those trips as team-building but site-building because the attendees are not only from one team or one campaign. It’s always comprise of different people from different teams, different campaigns, from manager down to agent level. You can add to my schedule the chit chats with a cup of coffee. One of my supervisor before even volunteered to be my watcher when I was hospitalized even if I wasn’t on her team any longer.

Stress is always present wherever you go and whatever work you do. But if there’s also one thing that keeps on motivating me, that is here, I didn’t only find a job. I found real good friends, I found a family. Thanks to the “company culture” that we share, for teaching us that no matter how improved the technology we are using, good human interaction and good relationship with each other is still the best way to motivate us to do better. 

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