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The Ambiguity of Contact Center "Success"

For many professions defining success is black or white. In professional sports, success is winning games. In sales, success is converting prospects into clients. In contact centers it can be significantly more difficult to define what success looks like. For one, there are many different types of contact centers. Your contact center may be any combination of in-house, outsourced, inbound, outbound, blended, on-site, work from home, sales, service, collections, phone, chat, email, social media, or more. With so many potential types of contact centers, it’s natural that each of these particular types would define success differently.

Define Success

On top of that, each contact center has its own set of operational and organizational goals. One center may have an organizational goal of diverting service volume from brick and mortar locations to free up the employees of those stores to focus on other initiatives, while another may be focused on verifying caller information with the goal of churning through as many customer interactions as possible. What may be considered a “successful” volume of calls per hour for that survey center may be an indicator of poor service in the customer support contact center.

This is why it’s important not to get too wrapped up in worrying about the latest fad metric or one-size fits all solution being pushed on industry blogs or periodicals. There is no magical formula that works for every contact center. Your center is unique and your success should always be defined by your performance as it relates to your own organizational goals, not measured against the standards of some other center. If you measure your success on someone else’s ruler, you may be trying to measure their centimeters against your inches.

If you want to accomplish the operational goals of your contact center, there are a few ways to set yourself up to succeed.

Ensure your entire team knows and understands the goals, as well as the gameplan they’re expected to execute to achieve them. This means much more than just a 30 minute meeting between the executive team and contact center manager. The message needs to trickle down to every employee and they will need the operational support behind them to make it a reality. This may require changing up the culture of your contact center, but the investment is certainly worth it.

Make sure your employees have the tools they need to succeed. Are your agents empowered to cut the red tape create solutions for customers? One of the biggest customer complaints is that they get agents whose hands are tied when it comes to fixing the issues they are calling in about. Do your agents have computers and software that is capable of the tasks they’re required to perform at a high level? Is your management team aware of what type of customer issues are coming up regularly? This last question is quickly and easily answered by emerging technology like Speech Analytics software.

Seek feedback from your frontline employees on a regular basis. It amazes me every time I hear that gathering feedback from frontline agents is left to surveys. Sitting down, in a room with a dozen different employees on a quarterly basis will teach you more about the inner workings of your operation than a year's worth of employee surveys. Plus there's the added benefit of showing your employee that you value their opinion and that you see them as part of the solution to any problem the business may face.

In short, if you want to achieve contact center success then you need to know what success means to you. Don’t rely on other people for roadmaps to success that may not fit your center. Once you know what that success looks like, make sure everyone on the team consistently gets that message driven home from the top down. Lastly, do an assessment to make sure you  have the tools and infrastructure in place to achieve your goals.