How to Paddle in the Same Direction
Do you remember the first time you tried to paddle a canoe? You sat in the stern and your companion sat in the bow. At first you faced each other and got nowhere. Then your companion turned around so you were at least paddling in the same direction. This was progress but because you were both paddling on the same side you ended up going in circles.
Some days working in a contact center can feel like paddling in circles. The organization is going in one direction, but you are using the same old practices, metrics, and technology – like focusing on cost cutting – while senior management is more interested in growing revenues and retaining valued customers.
The way out of this dilemma is to align the objectives of the contact center with those of the broader organization. You need a plan. This means spelling out your objectives and then itemizing the action items, time frames, budget, and individual responsibilities necessary to achieve the objectives.
Identify enterprise and departmental goals
This step would seem simple but unfortunately many organizations do not do a good job of communicating its goals to employees. You may have to do some research. For larger organizations there will probably be a formal business plan which you can consult. Publicly traded companies will have regulatory filings and investor presentations. The best method is to dialogue with senior management and the operational level departments and strategic business units that are charged with developing and implementing specific action plans. These would typically include product management, marketing management, sales, finance, and product/service support.
Translate this input into specific goals for the contact center contact center
For example, if the corporate goal is to grow revenue by 10% then that means the contact center should do its part to achieve that same revenue boost. Training, scripts, and incentives need to be adjusted. Your information gathering process should have also revealed what new products or services are due to be introduced and what new promotions will be launched.
Spell out metrics and performance standards
This may mean developing new measuring sticks. Consider that for many businesses customer retention is now one of the top three goals of the enterprise. Retaining valued customers requires its own skill sets and technologies. You'll need to understand what motivates customer defections and find ways to identify at-risk customers in advance. Tools such as speech and performance analytics can unlock the root causes of customer dissatisfaction. These insights may also reveal the need to take a fresh look at KPI's. If you are not already using them new end-user based metrics such as net promoter scores, customer effort scores, and customer satisfaction levels may be in order.
Monitor performance and make course corrections as needed
Change is a constant. Ongoing formal and informal communications channels with all the business functions that impact the contact center are essentia. Make changes to the plan as warranted. Consider weighting schemes to quickly adjust the relative importance of qualitative and quantitative performance metrics.
A solid plan that is consistent with the goals of senior and departmental management can guide every day decisions plus help assure executive approval of new investments in new initiatives.