Have you ever had someone say something to you and you think, “Well, of course! I knew that!”? That’s been my very good experience repeatedly today.
I am attending the Contact Center Conference sponsored by the Contact Center Association this week (www.contactcenter2013.com). Day one is all about site tours. This is a wonderful opportunity to see other contact centers, listen to their leadership share their experience and best practices, and be reminded of things you might have known but forgotten. I’ve been walking around all day hearing all kinds of good things that I want to remind you of. They’re fundamental to the work we do but in the daily frenzied routine, sometimes we forget. Here are the top 5 things I was reminded of today.
- First, it’s all about the people. The contact centers we toured today are very well-run operations. They use the latest in technology and they use it well. But the overwhelming majority of our time together was not spent talking about the technology – it was spent talking about their people. At the end of the day, the contact center business is all about the people…how we treat them, how we motivate them and how they treat our customers.
- Second, People + Passion = Performance. We know that it’s all about the people (see #1), but those people have to have passion about what they do. As leaders in our centers, that starts with us. We have to show passion about our work every day, because our agents will mirror that. One contact center director said, “If you have good people with passion then performance takes care of itself.”
- How you start a call is everything. This one took me by surprise. Not because it isn’t true, but because of the emphasis it receives in one of the centers. Their greeting is, “How may I deliver excellent service today?” Wow, that sure re-frames what an agent is going to do in a call. It’s another one of those good reminders.
- Contact center agents still love it when you have food! I’ve often said that contact centers run on their stomachs – and I saw that again today. Scheduling times to eat together builds camaraderie – and it’s just plain fun. These call centers have lots of events scheduled around food. Consider stopping at your local warehouse store today and buying a couple of big bags of M&M’s to share with your staff.
- There is incredible power in a handwritten note. No matter the center, when an agent receives a handwritten note from someone in leadership, they often tack it on the wall of their workspace. You can walk through these call centers and see notes on walls everywhere. It demonstrates that agents know that people appreciate their work – and more importantly, leadership appreciates them as individuals. The time it takes to write a note is always time well spent.
Nothing really new here, but it’s very good stuff to see in action. The call centers we toured today are top-notch centers – and they’re top-notch because they have an incredible focus on their people. You know this, but it really helps to be reminded.
I’ll be sending more posts throughout the week from the conference. I’ll be looking for new ideas and more “good reminding” to pass along to you!