At The Northridge Group, we frequently come to the aid of companies with struggling contact centers, but what about the ones already doing a pretty good job? Let’s say you have a secure process in place, your wait times are acceptable, and you’re meeting many industry standards. An organization like this may question whether it’s worth seeking guidance to take their call center to the next level. That all depends on if you want to be a good call center or a great call center.
Companies that want to take their call centers from good to great should focus on these four areas:
- Clearly defined and focused metrics
Focus your metrics around what is critically important to your organization’s customer base. This will depend on your area of business. It will be very different depending on your business model; if you are in financial services versus sales versus a contact center selling items online. Therefore, your metrics need to be customized. This way you can leverage this information to understand how the underlying behaviors of your employees are impacting performance.
Organizations that have transitioned from good to great stay away from solely coaching to the numbers and instead put more focus on improving behaviors. When an organization preaches specifically to numbers, they are allowing for poor behaviors to creep in. Once your metrics are clearly defined and focused in on your area of business, you’ll have a more complete picture of your call center’s performance.
- Vision aligned to meet both customer expectation and overall corporate goals
Great companies cast a vision that not only meets the needs of the customer, but also the aspirations of the business. Using retail as an example, does the business want to provide Nordstrom-level service, which is high-touch high-service, or do they want to be more of an Amazon or Walmart, where they do higher volume at a lower price point?
The key here for companies moving from good to great is accountability. The leaders in the company must be accountable to each other to craft a mission and vision. From there they must drive that message home to their frontline personnel and in turn hold them accountable for staying on point. When there is clear vision alignment, everyone understands the overall plan and are clear on what the next steps are going to be, which leads to higher rates of customer satisfaction and company goals being met.
- Clear coaching for continued development of staff
Good companies usually do a decent job of bringing their new hires up to speed and working with those who are struggling. However, what takes a call center from good to great is consistent coaching and development, even for the top performers. Consider a baseball star like Anthony Rizzo. He is one of the highest-paid MLB first baseman, yet despite his success, he still studies hours of tapes to perfect his batting average. For him, one additional on-base a month could mean the difference between being another professional first baseman or a Hall of Famer.
When an organization becomes complacent and believes they are at the top of their industry, they may be tempted to lapse in their coaching efforts. But the great companies know that cutting corners on things like coaching could mean giving up the top spot. One thing I always say in training is, “If you are not the lead dog, your view never changes.”
- Open feedback loop for employees to provide comments on customer pain points
A pain point is anywhere within the customer experience where the customer undergoes a delay, a break in service or less than optimal service. Call center employees can offer a wealth of information on when these pain points occur and how to alleviate them — and the great companies know how to gather that data from their employees via open feedback loops.
Employees know when a caller has been transferred to multiple people or has experienced a long wait time, and they likely have some great ideas about how to fix it. While there may be a higher tolerance for this kind of pain point right now given the COVID-19 pandemic, this will certainly not always be the case. Customers are looking for a first call resolution, and great companies seek out the feedback from their employees on how to better make that happen.
Taking your call center to the next level, going that extra step, transitioning from good to great does not happen overnight, but it is certainly worth the effort. With a clear focus on understanding your customer’s needs, prioritizing coaching and development, and learning from employee feedback, you’ll be on the path towards greatness.
The Northridge Group is a leading pioneer in providing comprehensive and robust solutions in call center coaching and training objectives for businesses worldwide. Enable your business with the right practices and take the first step in improving your customer experience. If you’re interested in taking your call center to the next level, Contact Us today to learn more about how partnering with The Northridge Group can help solve your business challenges