You Don’t Know What you Don’t Know

By: Colin Taylor
If I asked you today is the top things you could do to improve the operation of your call center, you would probably have a pretty good idea. That is because you are responsible for the center operation and you live and breathe it each and every day. Now if I asked you to list the top 10 things you could do in order of priority or benefit to your center you would likely have more of a challenge. this isn’t because you aren’t knowledgeable or don’t know you center its is because beyond one or two obvious issues you are unsure of the benefits and opportunities each would bring in detail.

We regularly hear clients talk about a key reason for retaining a call center consulting firm like Taylor Reach is because they don’t know what they don’t know. All of us have ‘blind spots’ areas in our knowledge and gaps in our experience where we can blind to elements and aspects of our operations. Humans are experiential learners, we learn best by doing. But if you have never had to complete a task you may know little about how to do it or what the symptoms of this condition might be. This is the logic for retaining call center consultants, to leverage their experience and knowledge to assess and diagnose your call center with a view to identify improvement opportunities. Of course consultants can be expensive and the business rationale for hiring a call or contact center consultant can be a bit of a ‘chicken or the egg’, type of process. The consultant cannot tell you what actions and what the Return on Investment (ROI) will be to take without an assessment, and an assessment costs money but has no directly attributable ROI.

To my way of thinking if you can gain similar insight to your call center that could be delivered by a call center consultant and do so yourself, you could confirm the top two or three priorities as well as itemize and catalog the twenty next most important operational improvement areas. A consultant lead assessment or audit process will involve reviewing hundreds of data points and analyzing reams of paper and reports. The values and answers to these questions establishes a relative rank for the center in question that can be compared to best practices and industry leaders. This analysis highlights low hanging fruit and where you can receive the ‘biggest bang for your buck’. Consultant led audits work, I know as well have completed hundreds of them: they deliver and define real opportunities, set out concrete ROI’s and can set priorities for the next 12 – 36 months. But this comes with a cost $40,000, $50,000 or more.

Of course you are a bright and experienced call center executive, why not try to complete an audit yourself? You may well be able to do so and save tens of thousands of dollars and confirm your priorities and direction for years to come. So lets review the steps you need to take to do this: first you need to identify the broad areas of your center assess and create a categorization process to assess the center. Your categories may include: People, Process, Technology, Metrics etc. You will need to identify sub categories such as Alignment, Customer Satisfaction, Employee Engagement, Reporting, Learning & Development, Health and Safety. Next you will need to be able to quantify your activities, level of sophistication, robustness of your processes inter-dependance and per-requisites to name a few of the considerations. This is where it can get tricky…what questions can you ask yourself and your team to not only identify where you stand and how well you are really doing at A or B, but also to confirm that the responses are correct and meaningful? As I stated earlier call center consultants ask hundreds of questions and this if you need to do if you want to complete this task from scratch- develop and identify hundreds of questions that are relevant and meaningful. How long would this take you and what would it cost in terms of your time? Not a very appealing answer is it?

There is another option today. Snapshotz is a cloud based call center assessment tool that walks you through more than 600 questions and data-points regarding your call center operation. These are the very questions that we discussed above that you would need to develop to complete an audit or assessment yourself. 600+ questions across 29 sub sections and 8 sections, Snapshotz is the only tool of its kind in the world. For five years organizations globally have used Snapshotz to show then how their call center is preforming and where they should invest their efforts to improve the operations.

The question and answer approach is a tried an true method and it is objective. there is no subjectivity or opinion, expert of otherwise. Because it is objective you can compare your call centers to each other, compare your year over year performance improvements specifically and in detail. With Snapshotz you can benchmark your center to itself, to its peers and to your industry and vertical. With prices starting at at only $2,500 for a center of any size, this works out to only $4. for each of the 600 questions. How does that compare with your estimate above on the time and cost to develop these yourself?

Now Snapshotz isn’t a panacea to cure all ills in your center and by itself it will not fix or improve anything. What it will do is show where you have opportunity, how much improvement opportunity exists and where best practice organizations are performing across each of the 600 + metrics. This equips you as the call center leader to delve deeper, identify how you would address, correct and improve an aspect of your centers operation, quantify a cost and go through you internal funding approvals process. Snapshotz doesn’t fix you problem, but it does help you to know what you didn’t know before.

For more information on Snapshotz or on our $40,000 + call center audits please email me or give me a call at 877-979-8692 x200. You can read more about Snapshotz by clicking here and our other call center consulting services here

There are also a couple of Webinars you can review regarding the Snapshotz audit process. Webinar 1 is titled The Evolution of the Call Center Audit
“On the journey to meet your customer experience and organizational goals it is essential that you can judge where you are at as well as where you are going. A contact center audit provides that assessment, guides your journey, identifies needed corrections. The audit can become your roadmap to achieve your goals. This webinar reviews the purpose and goals of a call or contact center audit, examines the most common methods employed and provides guidance to the center operator to gauge performance, benchmark to their own centers, peer centers and best practice operators.
You can view this webinar here

The second webinar is titled You Can’t Manage What you Can’t or Don’t Measure in your Call Center
You can’t mange what you can’t or don’t measure. A call center audit can provide great insights into how the center is actually operating, which maybe different than how it is expected to operate. In this webinar we examine the call centers alignment to business goals and objectives employing real-world results from more than 600 actual Snapshotz users worldwide. The results and the insights can be surprising and you can view this webinar here

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