Helping retailers to achieve Peak employee engagement

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Abigail O'Neill 22nd February 2018 5 minute read

Helping retailers to achieve Peak employee engagement

Peak shopping periods such as Black Friday and Christmas are the most important times of year for retailers. It’s extremely busy for contact centre advisors, and it’s crucial to ensure that spirits remain high. Here, Client Engagement Manager Abigail O’Neill talks about how she and her team maintain a happy, productive environment during the winter Peak.

Peak is such a busy time for our advisors – they have to handle call after call – but it’s easy to forget that it can also be highly emotive. Customers are stressed, time’s running out, they haven’t got their children’s Christmas presents – all this can make the calls very demanding. At the same time advisors might also be worrying about their own family’s Christmas.

So we’ve realised that it’s not just about advisors coming in and getting on with their jobs. We need to make this a better experience for them, which is why we have a specific Peak comms plan and put a huge amount of effort into engagement. Because it does make a difference, and not just for our colleagues – a better employee experience means a better customer experience, and as a result customer satisfaction levels shoot up.

We’ll have a range of events going on during Peak – bake sales, collections, charity events. We do ‘Tea Tuesday’, where every Tuesday throughout Peak managers go around with a trolley of teas, coffees, hot chocolate and biscuits for all the advisors. It’s not just about giving people a break, as it means that the managers get time to speak to advisors and see how they’re getting on. It’s also a chance for the advisors to see the managers in a more human light. A lot of them will be new; they’re not joining at a BAU time, so they won’t have has the opportunity to speak to the managers as they might normally do.

Black Friday is even tougher. Every single advisor will be scheduled in in some capacity, which can make shifts difficult for some people, so we try very hard to make it a fun environment. This year we had goodie bags for everyone, with managers giving them out at the door. Seating is different on Black Friday, so we had everyone personally shown to his or her desk, which I think is a nice touch. On the desks were some of our favourite motivational messages, such as “Keep Calm, It’s Peak!” which is a way of saying that we recognise it’s going to be a busy day and we’re here for them.

We had games for people to play when they were offline or taking their break. Even face painting! And every goodie bag had a raffle ticket in it, for prizes donated by John Lewis. They really invested in it along with us to make sure it was a good place to work in on Black Friday. And that was great.

Yes it’s busy, but when you get the engagement right there is also a fantastic buzz in the air, and that’s what you’re looking for. You have advisors who aren’t just thinking, “Oh my God, it’s Black Friday, it’s going to be a nightmare”, but who are looking forward to it because it’s exciting.

In fact we actually have a lot of managers from across the partnership wanting to visit on Black Friday because they like to be part of that excitement.

Everybody feels they’re in it together and they’ve been part of achieving something special, and that’s when you know you’ve got it right.

To read more about how to deliver a successful retail Peak, see our February 2018 edition of Intelligence on our Intelligence hub page.

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