Customer Experience News & Trends

Keys to building a contact center where everyone wants to work

4. Show the connection between effort and outcome

162815624Employees do best in an environment where their personal values and goals are in line with the department and organizational values and aspirations. More importantly, they need to see how their everyday activities fall into the success (and occasional failure) of the organization.

All employees need to see that their work makes sense. This is particularly important for contact center professionals who often do monotonous work. Pushing papers, answering calls and responding to emails that seem to cover the same four issues every day can be mundane and leads agents to wonder, “Who’s the fool — the people asking the same questions or me who keeps answering them?”

Organizations can succeed at making the connection between contact center professionals and the organizational goals on two fronts. First, leaders need to continually communicate what the company goals are and the progress toward them. Individual efforts tracked through key performance indicators (KPIs) are a start, but managers want to show the direct link between contact center operations and organizational outcome.

Perhaps more importantly for contact center professionals is seeing how their work affects customers. Cheryl Spinieo, global service and support manager at Tinius Olsen, sends her customer service reps out with technical reps once a year to visit customers, who share their successes and plans for the future.

The maker of surgical supplies also periodically invites customers to its facility to speak to all of its employees about how the company’s products affected their lives. In most cases, the products and the people who built, supported, billed, shipped, sold and packaged them saved the customers’ lives (the customers underwent life-saving surgeries).

5. Have rules people can believe in

179003015The dream organization is not without rules. Ideally, though, it is without stupid, restrictive rules that prevent employees from doing the best possible job and keeping customers happy.

Employees understand that organizations need structure. Some people function best under structure. But rules must make sense and should evolve with the industry, company and times. No rule should exist because “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” Employees will follow and flourish under rules that support the organization’s structures and purpose.

To unearth pesky rules that get in the way of great customer experiences, have a manager ask at weekly staff meetings:

  • What do we do that’s dumb?
  • What needs to be different?
  • What complaint do you hear the most?

6. Stand for something

stk128227rkePeople want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. They want to be evangelists for their products, services and company — not because they’re brainwashed to do so, but because they believe in what their organization does and supports.

Every company should have something for its employees to believe in. Perhaps it’s a long history of having the highest quality manufacturing, a core belief that the company should make its industry better, an ethical code that is at the center of its customer service operations, support for a local charity, etc.

Employees who work in an organization that stands for something bigger than itself will carry the cause, too.

In a contact center environment, employees often catch onto efforts that help a greater good when their companies encourage or support it. For instance, employees at SafeLite Autoglass rallied to fill a tractor-trailer with supplies to help tornado victims after a manager came up with the idea and pledged to drive the truck to a storm-ridden town.

Mary Paige Forrester, a long-time contact center executive and current project manager at Cisco, regularly launches chili cook-offs, bake sales and other functions where reps:

  • vote on a favorite charity to support
  • bring in their homemade goodies
  • pay to taste the offerings
  • vote on the best, and
  • buy more to take home to their families.

They’ve also spent time after hours and on their breaks boxing up supplies they bought for troops or toys they’ve gathered for underprivileged children during the holidays.

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