, Lorianne Feltz-Upperman
Published: August 15, 2011 | Comments (1)
One thing is certain in every contact center: continuous change. The dynamic, real-time nature of today’s customer contact environments requires daily adjustments to plans, people and processes.
Continually thriving in this sea of constant change can be daunting. Some leaders are strong swimmers, while others barely manage to stay afloat. The less proficient find themselves drowning – watching as customer satisfaction, agent and rep engagement and revenue sink along with them.
So what are the traits and tactics of the "strong swimmers" – great leaders who handle the swirling, constantly shifting currents? Here is a sampling:
They embrace the "chaos". Top leaders not only accept the random and chaotic nature of customer contact – they embrace it and react swiftly rather than panic when real-time adjustments must be made.
At the same time, they have a long-term plan. The foundation of a strategic plan leads to executive level support for resources, transparency to key business partners, and a basis for communication and change management.
They are influencers of strategy. Strong contact center leaders engage the rest of their organization in understanding how business decisions affect customer service. They demonstrate the value of the contact center’s role in capturing the voice of the customer to gain customer insights that drive strategic business decisions.
They focus on the simple. Leaders who get caught up in complex metrics and reports often lose sight of the real mission: handling customers' inquiries and issues as quickly and effectively as possible. Top senior leaders look at all that is possible with the current tools and culture in place, and inspire managers to focus on the simple things that are within their direct control.
They invest the time to learn. Many leaders simply stop investing in their own personal development. This begets a culture of "unlearning" in the organization, with everyone looking at each other for new ideas and nobody looking outside the company to gain insight into possible new solutions. Strong leaders know that customer expectations are constantly changing and that contact centers must adapt appropriately.
They "fail" in advance. Progressive leaders continually look ahead and seek innovative ways to improve what will happen in the future – and they encourage and inspire their teams to do the same.
They aren't interested – they're committed. It's not hard to find contact center leaders who are interested in improving their environment or the service delivered to customers. What can be a little hard to find are leaders fully committed to making such improvements actually happen. Commitment requires change – and leaders who embrace and adapt to constant change.
Everyone On The Team Rowing in the Same Direction
Anyone with contact center leadership responsibility appreciates the fact that it is different and more difficult than any other part of the organization. In a year, the majority of organizational departments aren’t required to manage through the amount of change most contact centers experience in a month. Key to leading through this dynamic sea of change is creating an environment that has an appreciation for the behaviors that will ultimately create the foundation for contact center leadership success.