Customer Experience Featured Article

Making Sense in the Contact Center by Keeping a Sense of Perspective

April 24, 2014

While many organizations run their contact centers measuring success on the outcome of each transaction, too many forget that a contact center is like a living, breathing entity whose health must be maintained as a whole in order to function correctly. Do you have several talented agents and many more mediocre agents, leaving your company offering a patchwork of customer experiences? Or do you run your contact center by best practices, ensuring that customer receive the same high quality experience each time they call?

For some, it’s about keeping operations consistent with a “mission statement” of stated goals, ensuring that any training, new processes or changes the contact center embarks on are consistent with these overall goals. For others, it’s about remembering that, like people, a call center has “senses,” according to call center consultant Annette Gleneicki on Business2Communtity.

While your contact center certainly can’t smell, touch or taste, it does have some things in common with your human senses: it has ways of absorbing information about the world around it so it can adjust its actions to it. While certainly it needs people to help it do this, it’s critical to leave the contact center open to information gathering so opportunities aren’t missed and trouble is spotted when it’s small… before it spirals into larger trouble.

Some of the most critical “senses” your contact center should have include:

A sense of purpose. Does every process in the contact center align with the stated goals and purpose of the contact center? Remember: the contact center exists to serve customers, not to service the company or the contact center managers and employees. Ensure every operation and ever interaction keeps this in mind.

A sense of urgency. Remember that all contacts, regardless of channel, need to be dealt with promptly. By treating calls as the most important customer contact, other media such as media, Web chat and social media sometimes fall by the wayside. Consider using a universal queue that allows each interaction to be treated in a timely manner.

A sense of responsibility. The purpose of the call center is to support customers. By building true employee engagement among call center employees, you can ensure that workers remain aware that their first responsibility is to help customers. Agents who understand that they are helping people – real people – rather than clocking in to become a cog in the works tend to value their jobs more highly and perform their jobs better.

A sense of timing. While you may have the right processes in place, they are fairly useless if you’re not certain about when they need to be applied. Consider the important processes that you do, such as training: are you evaluating employees often enough? Are you surveying customers at the right times? Are you reporting to the rest of the organization often enough? Are you measuring the right key performance indicators (KPIs) at the right time?

A sense of humor and fun. Conventional wisdom tells us that we should take our work seriously, but also that we should approach it with a healthy outlook. Keeping the contact center fun – consider having performance-based parties or mixers, decorations for holidays, dress-up  days and even “gamified” training that mimics the processes of video games. There are few better ways to keep employees engaged.

On days when you’re focusing on the minutiae of the contact center, it’s important to step back and take a look at the contact center’s overall priorities. This way, you can ensure that each individual action that makes up the contact center’s day is aligned toward the right goals. 

Edited by Alisen Downey

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