A Leader’s Guide to Achieving a High Performance Contact Center Culture
According to Mandisa Makubalo, founder and CEO of Unlimited Experiences SA, contact center leaders must prioritize culture in order to motivate agents, increase customer satisfaction and reduce revenue while contributing to the overall success of a business.
Contact centers offer tremendous value to a business, but that’s only apparent if you’re actually involved in the day-to-day operations of a business. Outside of the contact center, executives often struggle to realize the true purpose of agent responsibilities. This debate dates back to my days as a contact center manager over a decade ago.
I have always found that leading teams in a fully-fledged contact center was very different from leading teams where the contact center existed as an offshoot of another department within the corporate structure. In the latter, the contact center is above all considered as a cost. You are subject to controlling this cost and keeping it low. But when you do that, you inevitably hurt contact center performance and culture. Contact centers must operate as an independent yet connected operation to ensure the success of the entire organization.
What does performance have to do with culture, you ask? Agents are the lifeblood of the contact center, so everything from their workflow to their level of motivation is tied to the results they achieve for your customers. As a leader, you want to create a culture that drives high performance and ultimately drives results. Customer satisfaction will increase and agent turnover will decrease, impacting both revenue and bottom line.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the existing behaviors that prevent a contact center from unlocking its true value, then learn how to create a high-performing contact center culture.
Why your contact center culture is broken
The culture may never seem perfect with complete happiness, but that shouldn’t stop you from solving problems within the contact center.
Here’s why your contact center culture can lead to poor performance.
Bad communication: Contact center agents are bombarded with performance metrics that have not been adequately explained, in terms of business value and customer value. Above all, officers need to know how their contributions drive the organization closer to its goals. Communication between senior, middle and lower management needs to reach frontline officers to maintain clarity and consistency. If agents don’t find out about goals until too late, it puts significant pressure on them and can lead to disengagement, burnout, and turnover.
Separation performance: Contact centers should not be controlled by other departments, but the performance of a contact center and any other department should be connected. Reviewing the performance of a contact center alone doesn’t offer much insight into the rest of the organization. You need to paint a complete picture by understanding the effectiveness of sales efforts, marketing campaigns, etc. This reveals why customers contacted the contact center for help and how efficient your agents provided service. As you analyze your contact center performance, share the data with other departments and ask them to do the same.
Ambiguous measurements: Be granular! Inform your agents what metrics are essential for the contact centerensuring transparency and avoiding friction.
How to create a successful contact center culture
You know what’s wrong with your contact center culture? Now is the time to revamp it and incentivize agents to perform at a high level, make customers happy with every service interaction, and deliver value the entire organization needs to recognize.
Here are four ways to fix your contact center culture and establish a team of frontline experts.
Training in a contact center begins with leaders and managers equipping agents with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to communicate effectively with customers. Also, it means that officers need to be aware of the organization’s objectives and goals so that they know how to contribute to their achievement.
Fostering leader-agent collaboration, agent-agent collaboration, and service-to-service collaboration is a recipe for success. It is a level of cooperation that creates cohesion between business units, allowing individuals to share knowledge and ideas. Agents (and employees from other departments) who feel heard and engaged are more motivated to align with strategic goals and management goals.
Open and consistent communication is always best. Communicate in one-on-one meetings, team meetings, and cross-departmental gatherings to provide direct feedback to officers and key stakeholders elsewhere in the organization. But, of course, you should focus primarily on contact center agents. Agents need to be informed about their performance, the contact center and the organization as a whole and what success looks like. In turn, agents feel aware of what they can do to contribute to success and advance in their career path.
#4. Full support
As supervisors and managers, it is essential that agents have the necessary resources, guidance and tools they need to be effective on the front line. This will build confidence that management cares about their success. Comprehensive support not only means training and coaching to develop skills, but also draws attention to mental health. In a workplace that recognizes the well-being of the individual, employees trust that they are actually being taken care of while taking on professional and personal stress day after day.
Take a step closer to a high-performing contact center culture
Everything about the success (and failure) of a contact center depends on the culture, which is why you need to remove the bad behaviors and install the good behaviors described above. Agents know they are an integral part of the organization, but it’s up to you to make agents feel the impact of their efforts.
By engaging with and motivating agents, leaders outside of the contact center will never view the contact center as an unnecessary cost again.
Medallia is the pioneer and market leader in experience management.
Medallia’s award-winning SaaS platform, Medallia Experience Cloud, leads the market in understanding and managing the experience for customers, employees and citizens.
Using Medallia Experience Cloud, customers can reduce churn, turn detractors into promoters and buyers, create in-the-moment cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, and make revenue-impacting business decisions, delivering clear and powerful returns on investment.
Whether you’re looking to empower agents or operations teams, Medallia can help you create better experiences for your teams and customers.
For more information about Medallia, see their company profile
Ready to boost agent performance? Consult the Medallia guide, 4 Steps to Optimizing Contact Center Agent Performanceto find out how leading call centers are putting the right systems and processes in place to succeed.