Amazing: 13-year olds are leading contact centers

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Amazing: 13-year olds are leading contact centers

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As a parent my desire is to teach my child something every day, about loving herself and others, about being a good citizen of the world, about something simple or complex. Generally I try to use business strategies to help me manage our family life, but there is a lesson I take from my child that can be applied in leading contact centers.

Too much knowing in leading contact centers

Perhaps because my 13-year old is, well, a teenager, her behavior brightly illuminates a point about natural human behavior. Often when I am talking to her, my points are cut off because “she knows”. But she doesn’t always know and she could benefit from the full thought that I am trying to express. This is particularly annoying to me as a parent and I realize that we all do this in our role as managers. I pray it’s not as frequently as a teenager, but we are nonetheless “knowing” something and cutting ourselves off from the opportunity to learn more about the subject.

When we have ourselves in the mindset of knowing, we self-impose limitations. Knowing is your enemy to learning. So I ask you, do you think you know your customers? The mindset that we know our customers greatly impacts our Voice of the Customer programs (or lack of having a program). It’s easy for me to assess VoC programs and determine when organizations have a closed mindset on knowing. It pains me to see that they are limiting themselves.

The customer drives in customer-centric

customers-grade-the-callsThe easiest clue is a very short survey. Someone, somewhere in the organization believes (or “knows”) that surveys in contact centers need to be very short. This limitation prevents the full exploration of the customer perspective; it’s not flexible and thereby does not let the customer drive the measurement need. This is not customer-centric behavior.

This is not to say that 50-question surveys are okay, but the imposed limitation of 2 to 3 questions insures a weak VoC program. Internally limited surveys provide limited knowledge from the customers’ perspective and catastrophically impacts the value that can be returned from the VoC effort. Why bother at all if you trash the value of the program?

The enemy of learning

You are most likely too internally focused with your basis of knowing which agents perform the best. Your Quality team “knows” which agents are high performers, but they are not your customer. They know from an internal perspective only. Remember that the enemy of learning is believing that you know something. Most contact center leaders are shocked to see their list of high performing agents as defined by the customer.

Internal quality metrics are not wrong. But they do need to be blended with your VoC metrics for you to truly know how your agents represent the organization. There is no possible way for you to serve customers well when your visibility and reporting focuses so heavily on internal metrics. High performing contact center leaders resist the temptation of closing their mind to the outside.

Integrity is needed

26-contact-center-surveying-free-videos-registerA third area that is commonly “known” by contact center management is that the customers make mistakes but falsely ignore this fact when customers are asked to complete surveys. How can that be? Of course customers make mistakes when they complete surveys. Therefore, if your VoC measurement program does not include the Survey Calibration process, your risk is their command. It’s dangerous to plug in a survey and expect it to spit out accurate results from customers completing surveys. You have to take customer ratings and verify them against the customer comments to have the level of integrity that owners of the scores need.

Whether it is a performance scorecard for agents, the managers planning improvement initiatives, or the C-level partners, trust in the data is critical. Again, what’s the point of measuring if the results are not trusted?

How much of your day is knowing?

When you think about how much of your day in a contact center is impacted by the enemy of a 13-year old brain, oops, I digress. When you think about how much of your day in a contact center is impacted by the enemy of learning, by things that you think you know, there is a clear path for you to remove such barriers.

Your leadership can be changed for the better and that benefits your agents, managers, executives, and customers by changing your mindset. And if you can offer any help with a 13-year old, let me know.

About Dr. Jodie Monger

Jodie Monger, Ph.D. is the president of Customer Relationship Metrics and a pioneer in voice of the customer research for the contact center industry. Before creating CRMetrics, she was the founding associate director of Purdue University's Center for Customer-Driven Quality.

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