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Being the Best Agent Possible: Attitude

This is the first of a four-part blog series on “Being The Best Agent Possible.”  Over the next four weeks we’ll explore subjects across four key elements of success:

  1. Attitude – “I can make a difference – in the company and in the world…”
  2. Readiness – “I have the tools I need to be successful – and if not I will find them….”
  3. Coaching – “I love giving and receiving feedback – and love seeing people succeed….”
  4. Perspective – “I choose to be the best I can be….”

Attitude - “I can make a difference in my company – and in the world…”

Let me ask you a question. Why do you work in a contact center?  It has been my experience that many agents started working in a contact center because they “needed a job.”  But I also talk to many agents (and supervisors) that once there, have found they love the job and find great fulfillment in the work that they do.   So what about you?  Did you choose this as a career?  Or are you just passing through? In either case, you can choose to define your success by more than a paycheck.

I know that working in a contact center can be monotonous from time to time.  And, talking to unhappy customers can be a real pain.  But I also think the job offers great opportunities to grow as a person.  What I’ve learned about customer service over the past 30 years has made all aspects of my professional (and personal) life better.   The contact center environment offers a great opportunity to join a community – if you are willing to engage.  Some of the best people I know worked with me in a contact center.  By nature, contact centers are very social – everyone typically works close together in teams and we rely on each other to do the right thing or we all suffer the consequences.  We also have the ability to learn something new every day.   And, I think your success depends more on your attitude than your aptitude.

In her book, 101 Ways to Love Your Job, Stephanie Davidson talks about the need to find a calling in whatever you are doing.  She says to, “try to find where you fit into the larger whole – the larger good.  Don’t resist this because it sounds pie-in-sky.  It is critical that you find your calling and not just work to be paid – that you see your impact on the organization….”  So whether you are an agent or a supervisor managing a team of agents, its critical that you identify what makes your job great.  What impact do you have on the greater good of the company – or to the people you help every day.

We’ve all experienced the personal satisfaction when someone helps us solve a problem or provides us with exceptional customer service.  Even the agent that worked with me last week on the phone to fix my printer made a difference in my life.  In the middle of my frustration, she asked the right questions and provided the right answers – that solved my problem.   Whether you are selling products and services that people need or providing support for something they already own, there is almost always a positive impact provided through your role as an agent.

In her book, Stephanie continues with this insight, “to make your work meaningful, you must see it through the eyes of the person you are helping.”

I often ask this question when I speak at conferences: “Would you hire an employee with a great attitude or someone with a great aptitude?”  Attitude wins every time.  Look around you in the center – if there is someone that seems to be chosen for all the fun assignments, that seems to only get the happy customers, and is the person that everyone seems to like.  I bet – above everything else – the person’s attitude is the key!  So - how is your attitude?  What value do you offer to your customers that can transform your perspective of your job?  I bet the answer is powerful! 

I recently read a quote in a blog where the author references from a book I will probably never read, Don Quixote, by Miquel de Cervantes.  It is spot-on for this article.  The book says “If you want to be a knight, act like a knight.”  The workplace equivalent is, “Be the person you were in your interview.”  That’s why they hired you.  That’s what they hoped they were getting…. you were positive, enthusiastic, well-prepared and aimed to please.  What more could a company ask for?