Contact center innovation ideas are all about continuous improvement, which is a neverending process. Basically, it involves looking back and planning using past lessons.
In my CX Quick Tips interview with Justin Robbins, we discussed Continous Improvement In Contact Centers: Time For Spring Cleaning.
One effective way to do that is by focusing on solving real problems inside your own organization. In this article, I discuss more ways in which you can improve your contact center performance.
According to the Clear Review Survey, 65% of companies are still using annual appraisals over a continuous performance management system.
Usually, December and January is the time for these. After the review, you take a breath and look at what happened in the past and identify areas to improve.
After getting the annual review, the first thing I do is to look at the big trends in my business that are opportunities for me to reinforce skills and do refresher training.
It’s post mortem because it’s already dead. You try to use it projecting going forward.
Needless to say, if you were doing this kind of review in the first quarter of 2020, no one ever foresaw what happened in the rest of the year.
Contact Center Innovation Ideas From the Pandemic
In the words of Josep Borrel, European Union Minister of Foreign Affairs, “Covid 19 will reshape our world. We don’t yet know when it will end. But we can be sure that by the time it does, our world will look very different.”
2020 was the biggest year of learning that some might ever have in their careers. Through that, you probably learned a lot about yourself and your people.
Personally, I learned a lot about what my team needs and our resource standpoint. I also learned how to approach and relate with my team.
There is no skill learned or exposed in the past year that won’t service really well in the future.
You probably did not spend a lot of time reinforcing positive skills. This could be helpful moving forward. It’s all about reinforcing and encouraging your people.
Not spending all the time on coaching and talking about the thing they are doing wrong.
Everyone was going into a different territory, and despite some adjustments, they did not go so well. Try to look at the effort and intent in it.
The focus should be on the effort than the outcome than ever before. 2020 can be regarded as a giant experiment. Everyone has to learn how to iterate, how to fail fast, and be ok with that.
Give credit to people who put in an effort even if they didn’t get it right. You should be focused on progress rather than perfection.
Statistics from Business LinkedIn showed that 69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognized.
Contact Center Innovation Ideas: Making Remote Working Permanent
Boston Consulting Group stated that “findings show that the future of work will be increasingly hybrid.”
Most people won’t be going back into the brick-and-wall operations. Some call centers worked all the way through because of the nature of their business. Some people did not make it.
They realized they needed to have proximity and people around them. Being a remote worker isn’t for everybody.
I noticed that most employees are more autonomous due to the nature of the work in being remote.
However, that places great emphasis on skill development. Leadership skills are essentially changing in the call center.
Not just in call centers but businesses, in general, you should be investing in terms of teaching your leaders, supervisors, and coaches how to do really well with the remote workforce.
Issues to do with leadership are covered in my Call Center Coach training which develops and unites call center leaders.
When people take that frontline leadership role, they often do not get any leadership development until six years after assuming the position.
We cannot do that anymore. It has to be made a standard and regular practice.
According to the PwC Survey, 83% of employers now say the shift to remote work has been successful for their company, compared to 73% in June 2010
Stepping Up Your Contact Center Innovation Ideas
The importance of looking back, looking ahead, and having a plan to address things before they become serious.
You have probably been so heads down as a contact center leader and been reactionary for the past 12 or so months. Take a moment to pause, breathe, look back and look ahead.
I also had a related interview with a contact center expert in my Fast Leader Show.
Put plans ahead to make sure you are engaging, coaching, and preparing your team for what lies ahead.
According to the Entrepreneur Magazine, a business plan contributes a 30% chance of growth in sales and also the chance to double the business.
Contact Center Innovation Ideas: Planning more effectively
How much time should I spend in planning so that I can execute correctly?
Four ways to spend time on things that are: urgent important, urgent not important, not urgent important, and not urgent not important.
This is largely known as the Eisenhower Matrix. It’s a simple four-quadrant diagram for structuring your tasks in order of importance and urgency.
Named after its creator, President Dwight Eisenhower, the matrix has been used by corporations and individuals to boost productivity for decades.
Planning doesn’t feel urgent, but it is important. Those types of activities are often where you should be spending most of your time. That can be really hard to swallow.
I don’t have a magical number of hours, but most of your time should be spent on important things but not necessarily urgent.
If you do not spend your time on that bucket, then everything becomes urgent.
In line with the Matrix, President Dwight Eisenhower said, “Most of the things which are urgent are not important, and most things which are important are not urgent.”
Continuous improvement in contact center innovation is critical. It involves looking back and seeing areas that need improvement and planning.
To further knowledge, one of the groundbreaking books that every contact center leader should read is the great Freakonomics by Levitt and Dubner.
Watch My Interview With Justin Robbins
- How then should businesses plan using what happened in 2020?
- Are Annual Reviews still relevant?
- What are the benefits of remote working?
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.