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"The Force" is Awake Already...If You Coach Properly

"Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1." (C-3PO - The Empire Strikes Back)

It's virtually impossible, even if you live in a cave, not to know that the new Star Wars movie just released. Whether you are a fanboy or girl or not, you probably have a case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) if you haven’t gone to see it yet. Everyone – I repeat: everyone – is talking about it. (Isn’t it all over your Facebook feed?) In fact, if I were you, I'd avoid all media until you can see the movie.

Star Wars

But that's neither here nor there... We still have a job to do as managers of call centers and customer service departments, especially during this busy holiday season. I mean, can you imagine working for, say, Brookstone, as a customer service representative, trying to tell a desperate mom that the last remote control BB-8 was sold... 6 weeks ago? There will likely be many an unhappy parent this season, looking for that amazing Star Wars toy their child has been wishing for since the marketing campaigns for the film started... 6 months ago. Those will be tough calls to take, tough interactions to handle.

Even if your team has nothing to do with Star Wars, there are always imminent issues that keep you up at night, no? And just like the C-3PO quote at the beginning of this piece, meeting an angry customer's needs can feel impossible (with a success rate of, say, 3,720 to 1). These are the things that keep you up at night. Do you think they keep your team up at night, too?

I hosted #ICMIchat earlier this month and we discussed how to handle contact center stress. It was unanimous: leaders in this space (the managers that oversee the contact center teams and the customer service representatives) know their teams look to a firm foundation of management, leadership, and expectations. Even when customers call in with crazy requests and irrational behavior, when managers are coaching steadily, following guidelines, and supporting agents' best practices, those sleepless nights and stressful moments will decrease if not disappear.

I recently wrote about using “the Force” as a manager. (Sorry, I AM a fangirl of Star Wars – I can't help it!) If managers of contact centers and customer service departments use “the Force,” they will “take on a special power, if you will, which is the energy of all the people that work for their team. That power, if used for good and in a positive, inspiring manner, will bind the team together.”

Then the chance of navigating through a difficult conversation, or  a challenging time of year or even withstanding an exchange with an angry customer doesn’t seem so daunting.  The chance of success becomes much better than  3,720 to 1. Your chances of success as a great manager and coach will be more like one to one: imminent.

"Remember...the Force will be with you, always." (Obi Wan Kenobi – Star Wars: A New Hope)