When you make decisions, you often make them based on your gut feeling. In fact, we all do. Individual traits together with personality and experience influence how you make choices. Personal tendencies can either be an obstacle or an enabler to the decision making process. Decisions are often made based on needs and amplified by individual preferences. There are typically 8 bias contact center leaders must avoid during decision making.
Alex Castro, author of Measure, Execute, Win: Avoiding Strategic Initiative Debacles and Knowing What Your Business Can and Can’t Do Well in his Fast Leader Show Podcast interview: What’s your Readiness Score? advises against making decisions based on gut feeling. Your decision as a manager or supervisor has to be based on facts and reliable data. People who make decisions based on gut feelings have a tendency to seek guidance from what they sense. In contrast, people who depend closely on their cognitive assessment of situations look for validation for what they believe.
As a contact center leader, making decisions is a part of your daily routine. A part of your routine that can have grave consequences. Even though at times following your gut can be the right thing to do, in the contact center business, analytics, facts, and data should be the main driver for decision making. When you follow your gut there is more likely to be less logic and more bias.
1. Confirmation bias contact center leaders must avoid
In truth, all people are at risk of confirmation bias. Your beliefs are often based totally on concentrating on the information that upholds them while at the same time tending to disregard the information that goes against them. Confirmation bias is a type of cognitive bias that includes favoring information that confirms your own beliefs or biases.
In the Sixties, cognitive psychologist Peter Cathcart Wason conducted a number of experiments referred to as Wason’s Rule Discovery. He proved that humans have a tendency to seek facts that confirm their existing beliefs. This type of bias can prevent you from seeing things objectively as a leader. It may also affect the conclusions you make and it can result in taking the wrong action.
2. Framing bias
Framing bias happens when you make a decision based totally on the way the information is provided, as opposed to just on the information itself. The same information, when provided in different ways, can cause people to make different conclusions and judgments. As a contact center leader, how can you defend yourself against framing bias?
One of the things you may do as a leader is to continually review the framing. Always rephrase the information you’re looking at and notice what impact, if any, that it has on your decision. It is key to use logic, a reflective approach to decision making, and avoid impulsive, reflexive decisions.
3. Anchoring bias
When you are looking to make a decision, you often use an anchor or focal point as a reference or starting place. Psychologists have determined that you will be inclined to rely mostly on the first actual piece of information you encounter, which can have a severe effect on the decision you make. This can result in making a terrible decision.
Just because you encountered a piece of information before the other doesn’t necessarily make the first piece of information correct or the second piece of information wrong. To avoid anchoring bias as a leader, compare information, and look at the facts.
4. Sunk cost bias contact center leaders must avoid
Because of human nature, we tend to preserve making an investment in a failing proposition because of what it’s already cost us. Pointless to say, we will all fall prey to sunk-cost bias because we’re all innately loss averse. No one wants to take a loss or admit they wasted money, power, or years in their life that could have been better spent.
This is the same in making business decisions for your contact center. Perhaps you have invested thousands of dollars in a software solution or a consultation company hence it clouds your judgment that it is not working or making a difference in your contact center.
Investing more into something that’s already no longer working does not make it work. It is better to invest in a new solution because this will save you time and money as well as frustration.
5. Bandwagon Bias
Group thinking is dangerous to our objectivity. It hinders us from thinking independently and making the right decisions. Humans are social creatures. The urge to belong and to conform is necessary to us. It facilitates relationships and brings meaning to our lives. Additionally, it has a disadvantage; it can make us conform to the wrong beliefs or make the moves.
Bandwagon bias is a form of group thinking. It’s a cognitive bias that makes us agree with something because other humans consider it. It can make you assume something that is plausible is impossible due to the fact others have tried and failed. In order to avoid bandwagon bias, you may need to fact check certain things on your own without basing your conclusion on what you have heard or what most people say.
6. Availability bias contact center leaders must avoid
Availability bias is the tendency to think that examples of ideas or situations that come easily to our thoughts are more representative than is actually the case. The psychological phenomenon is just one of a number of cognitive biases that abate sensible reasoning and, as an end result, the validity of our decisions.
Taking the availability bias into perspective whilst making decisions as a contact center leader can be an entire game-changer. While you are going over how previous programs or campaigns may have performed, take a moment to reflect on how the campaigns successfully achieved your end goal or not.
Also keeping in mind, the availability bias and your tendency to rely on information that’s readily available can influence how you perceive things, and therefore it affects your final decision. You can realize that perhaps the results of the previous campaign aren’t ideal for the next one. Being extra mindful of this bias could make an actual and measurable effect on your decisions.
7. Self -serving bias
A self-serving bias is any cognitive or perceptual manner that is distorted because of the need to maintain self-image or the tendency to understand oneself in an overly favorable way. As a leader, it is possible to ascribe success to your own leadership abilities and efforts, but ascribe failure to other factors.
When people reject the validity of bad feedback, cognizance of their strengths and achievements, or take more credit than other team members, they do so to protect their ego from being hurt. These cognitive tendencies perpetuate illusions and error resulting in a self-serving decision rather than a decision that is best for your team.
In order to avoid self-serving bias as a leader, you need to be empathetic. Realizing that it is more about what is best for the team and less about what is best for you will help you make fair decisions with everyone’s best interests in mind.
8. Attribution bias
An attribution bias can appear when people assume the reasons behind their personal and others’ behaviors. Human beings make attributions the cause in their very own and others’ behaviors, but those attributions don’t necessarily exactly mirror reality.
Instead of working as objective perceivers, we are inclined to perceptual slips that set off biased understandings of our social interactions. When judging others’ faults we tend to assume that their moves are the end result of internal factors together with character, whereas we generally tend to attribute our own faults to external factors.
As a leader, attribution bias can be a great obstacle when it comes to understanding your team members. It is important to completely do away with assumptions and practice good communication. Where there is a problem, find out the root cause without jumping into conclusions before understanding the situation.
Consequences of bias contact center leaders must avoid
Decision making is one of the most important aspects of leadership. This means that as a leader you have to be constantly aware of how you are making your decisions. A biased decision can result in a consequence that can cost your team and even worse, your contact center. It is important for supervisors and managers to have training that enables them to make sound decisions.
Another guest on the Fast Leader Show Podcast, Dr. Gleb Tsipursky shares additional insights that can help improve how you make decisions as a leader. He’s the author of Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters. The book discusses all the cognitive biases and how they may impact your business decisions. It also elaborates on how you can avoid these biases when making decisions. This is so that you can make the best decisions possible for your team and contact center.
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- Checklist to help you avoid bad contact center decisions – Click to Tweet
Jim Rembach is the Editor in Chief of the Customer Service Weekly and it’s Podcast host. He is President of CX Global Media and the creator of the Call Center Coach Virtual Leaders Academy. As the host of the Fast Leader Show Podcast, he has interviewed hundreds of experts, authors, academics, researchers, and practitioners on various angles, viewpoints, and perspectives for improving the customer experience. He has held positions in retail operations, contact centers, customer support, customer success, sales, and measured the customer experience. He is a certified Emotional Intelligence practitioner, Employee Retention Specialist, and recipient of numerous industry awards.