4 Hacks to Better Contact Center Management

This article was originally published on the FCR blog on December 15, 2016. Click here to read the original post.

During Customer Service Week this year, I had the opportunity to participate in an ICMI webinar titled 16 Hacks to Help You Better Manage Your Contact Center. It was a privilege to share the stage with Erica Marois, Sean Hawkins, Jenny Dempsey, Neal Topf, and Nate Brown. In all, we shared our sixteen hacks, of which I contributed four. Here are my hacks for better managing your contact center.

1. Get out and walk

Who says you have to find a meeting room for your next team meeting or one on one? If you work at a growing company like FCR, chances are that meeting rooms are at a premium anyway. Sheri Kendall-duPont, Manager of Colleague and Leadership Development at FCR shares this hack in all of our leadership training courses. It’s a simple concept. Take your next meeting outside and go for a walk while you talk through what you need to talk through. “Movement is a powerful tool to open cognitive processes, bringing movement to a sedentary position,” according to Sheri. The act of moving forward puts us in a great position to deliver and receive feedback.

2. Voice of Customer

Ask your agents what’s working in your customer experience, what isn’t working, and what customers are saying about it. No CSR in history has ever refused to talk about the voice of the customer when I’ve asked them for feedback. In fact, just allowing them to share is a huge relief and increases the likelihood that they’ll feel comfortable sharing important feedback with you in the future. Doing everything you can to then relieve any customer and agent pain points is the next step, but it all starts with asking.

3. Giving vs. Earning

As contact center leaders we’re giving a lot and we often take too much credit for ourselves. Don’t get me wrong— giving is a very, very good thing. But in the context of performance metrics, we need to focus on what our agents have earned. The next time you’re tempted to say, “I gave you this score” instead say, “You’ve earned this score.” This difference is so subtle but powerful because it puts the responsibility in the hands of your agents, making it easier as a leader to help them earn better. It puts the power in their hands.

4. Have someone QA you as a leader

Our internal customer service skills are so important as leaders. The way we treat our agents should look a whole lot like the way we want them to treat our customers. Do you respond with empathy and willingness to help when they come to you with a problem? How would they rate your customer service skills if you handed them your QA form and asked them to rate you after you met with them?

I was so excited recently when I heard Emma Jurado, the Manager of our Workforce Team at FCR say that she’s going to send a customer satisfaction survey to all of the internal customers her team is serving. Emma commented to me that, “Our sensitivity to the needs of the programs we’re serving enables them to be successful. By surveying them, we learn of better ways to serve them that we otherwise might have missed.” The ability to solicit and accept feedback from others and do something about it is certainly a mark of great leadership.

Those are my four hacks to help us be better leaders in the contact center. To hear about twelve more great ones from my friends, you’ll have to check out the webinar. By all means, if you have any to add to the list, leave us a comment or share on Twitter and Facebook.

Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Experience at FCR, the premiere provider of outsourced call center and business process solutions. He has more than 17 years of experience as a customer service and experience professional. He is co-founder of the Customer Service Life blog and a regular contributor. Jeremy has been recognized many times for his thought leadership. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.

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