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Get Your Contact Center Out of a Rut

talkingYour contact center is in a rut.

Your sales team has hit a plateau, churning out the same numbers month after month.

There is a worryingly gradual or even rapid decline in your service team metrics.

You notice your team members are becoming tired, bored, and unmotivated.

Your team regularly cites poor team morale at your leadership meetings.

We’ve all been there. How do you fix it? You get out of a rut by leveraging one of the most valuable assets your organization has - your people.

As managers, we can get complacent with our current processes and procedures. We tend to have blinders on and can’t see the inefficiencies or gaps. This is especially true when everything is working with no obvious cracks.

Over the years, I’ve learned that things can get more efficient and effective with small or little changes, even when all is well. I believe you can employ activities that help you identify gaps, inefficiencies, and potential trouble areas you may not have seen.

Here are some ways to do that:

Make it a fun project

Feedback mechanisms like surveys and suggestion boxes can generate ideas that seem disjointed, one-sided, or incomplete. Cohesively leverage your team members’ insights by creating project groups from within your team to come up with innovative ideas that drive improvement or performance.

This shouldn’t feel like another tasking assignment on top of their already busy schedules. You should incorporate this project into their schedules, and use innovative team building and creativity-sparking activities.

Invite other units to audit your team

In my experience, having a fresh eye is invaluable to improve processes and procedures. This can be a scary experience for managers; we fear criticism or appearing inadequate to other members of the management team. Our focus instead should be that a fresh eye and different viewpoint can result in unique and innovative solutions. In a company that values continuous improvement, this should be done across the organization and shouldn’t be a scary experience.

Hire a consultant

A good consultant comes with an array of experience with companies of different sizes and across different industries. They are rarely stumped, and this expertise is invaluable to your organization. They have seen similar issues with companies like yours, and can create unique solutions or modify successful solutions used by other companies.

The primary goal of these activities is to have actions or recommendations to improve the department’s performance. Once these are identified, now it’s time to shake things up.

Here are some steps to consider:

Get to it

Commit to creating solutions for all the identified gaps, inefficiencies, and bottlenecks. Do not leave one identified issue behind. Where the solutions cannot be implemented immediately, break them down into short-, mid- and long-term solutions.

Train on the changes/improvements

This should be addressed in two crucial ways:

Have a concrete program to train on the improvements or changes.

Your training program doesn’t have to be intricate, time-consuming, or expensive. The goal is to have a structure in place to address the changes/improvements and drive complete understanding, acceptance, ownership, and adoption.

Make the training program a positive experience.

Not only should it be fun, it also should fit well into your team members’ schedules. Often, we expect our team to put in extra time to attend training. This can affect their work-life-balance and sense of wellbeing. Whenever possible, incorporate the training sessions within their work schedules. This helps give the impression that the organization views the changes and improvements as important.

Have a change management program

According to Bain and Company, a change management program allows leaders to help people succeed. Design a concrete plan to drive the acceptance and success of your new initiatives or changes. Internal communication activities can create a sense of organizational/department- wide excitement about the changes/improvements. Your team members feel everyone is in it together to drive improved performance; it’s not just their team/group.

It’s crucial to involve your team members. Besides getting unique, innovative, and effective solutions, you promote a sense of inclusion within your teams and drive cross-team collaboration.