How to thrive in contact center performance

How to thrive in contact center performance

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In the webinar Thriving in Contact Center Performance: Your Quality Recipe for Awesomeness you will go through Dee’s Journey from not so awesome contact center performance to awesome contact center performance. Don’t be fooled, her journey was not fast or easily laid out.

It was difficult and took time. For her, too long. What you will see is that what she did is not common practices. So for Dee, looking to other contact center examples did not reveal leading practices. Doing what others were doing delivered to her more of the same.


How does the industry improve contact center performance? 

The traditional ways of improving contact center performance are based on incentives and corrective actions. The typical carrot and stick methods of management have been around for decades and are the main tenants of agent performance management and development in contact centers. There are numerous reasons as to why this has been the case.

There are access to an unlimited amount of data in contact centers that can be used for performance management. But most all of these metrics will not enable improvement of performance; they are merely indicators of past behaviors and activities. Forward-thinking contact center leadership is based in development and long-term benefit and value.

Performance improvement was the basis of Dee’s quest and journey. It was to gain insights and build the knowledge necessary towards sustainable change. It was to embrace the journey from ignorance to knowing. It was to create stronger contact center leaders. It was to make a difference in the industry.

Why does little change occur?

Change has been extremely slow in the contact center industry. There are three simple (high-level) reasons as to why contact center performance has struggled to improve over the past several decades.

  1. Large number of new leaders: Just last week I attended a contact center conference with several hundred people in attendance. During an opening keynote session the speaker asked how many people have never been to an event. More than 80% of the audience raised their hands. With a large number of new entrants, they are going to seek out information on what to do and how to do it. It is much easier to find the common (old) practices than it is to uncover the leading practices. New entrants end up adopting old methods and sharing old methods with other new entrants. Getting in front of this wave is very difficult. While the access to information on leading practices has become easier, new entrants are most often extremely overwhelmed and unable to obtain it.
  2. People want to buy what they “think” they need: This issue is impacted by number one. If you have a lower skill level and keep repeating the common practices then tool builders will build what to what you know and want. These same tool builders are backed with millions of dollars of marketing and advertising dollars to promote fixing the common (old) practices. They use their development dollars to mainly to automate the common (old) practices with a much smaller amount being used for advanced the industry. It is a basic example of supplying what is being demanded.
  3. Cut and control mindset: The most expense a contact center has is in it’s personnel. Labor costs are easily 70-80% of the costs to operate a contact center. Therefore cutting and controlling that expense is going to be the primary focus for budget minded folks. And as more CFOs and CEOs drive top-line and bottom-line decision making, it quashes creative thinking and value-based thinking that is needed to improve contact center performance.

While there are certainly more factors that contribute to the insanity of repeating the same mistakes in the contact center industry, these are big. What do you see as other factors of the common (old) practice insanity in the industry? Please share your thoughts in the comment section. And register for the webinar to see how Dee paved a new path.

About Jim Rembach

Jim Rembach is a panel expert with the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) and an SVP for Customer Relationship Metrics (CRM). Jim spent many years in contact center operations and leverages this to help others. He is a certified Emotional Intelligence (EQ) practitioner and frequently quoted industry expert. Call Jim at 336-288-8226 if you need help with customer-centric enhancements.

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