I get no respect!
In the past 25 years I have visited hundreds of contact centers and have spoken to many contact center directors. Beside all the typical operational issues, one subject comes up frequently; contact center management feeling that the rest of the organization does not appreciate what the contact center does. In fact, one manager half-jokingly said: “We get no respect”!
So why is that and what can we do about it? There is no question that traditional contact centers were seen as ‘cost centers’ needing to improve their efficiency. They were built around efficiency and to this day most of performance measurements are about efficiency. As a result, most centers focus on enhancing ’Operational Excellence’. But is this all that a contact center can offer? Little by little we see the change of focus from ‘Operational Excellence’ to ‘Value-Add’.
In ‘Value-Add’ I am talking about how a contact center can add more value to the organization, seen as a true partner (to the other departments) and get that respect. Generally, organizations find value in the following three areas: Customer Loyalty, Learning and Professional Partnership. We all know about the impact of customer loyalty on the overall success of contact center and role of contact center in creating customer loyalty and retention, so let me explain the other two.
Organizations spend thousands if not millions of Dollars learning about their customers. They do this by various customer research, marketing surveys and research, focus groups and any other viable method, trying to understand what their customers need/want. Meanwhile in the contact center, agents from the same organization speak to hundreds of customers on a daily basis. Best-in-class contact centers utilize certain best practices to collect customers’ input and to provide such data as a ‘Value-Add’ service to the rest of the organization. This ‘Value-Add’ service could be measured in Dollars (internal transfer) allowing the contact center management investing in the operation.
Professional Partnerships exactly what it sounds! It refers to number of best practices that creates and enhances a professional partnership between the contact center and the organization. In simple words, contact center acts and behave as an outsourcer that has a very strong and professional relationship with the organization. This relationship includes all the typical and applicable metrics and related rewards and/or penalties. You want respect? Show that your center is mature, efficient and effective, knows what it is doing and is capable of competing with any other centers. Of course, the first step in order to reach such, is taking a snap shot of your operation through some form of strategic assessment and looking at possible improvements.
“We get no respect”. That could be changed!
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