Why There’s No Room for Perfectionists on the Road to Success

In the wake of the U.S. Women’s National Team’s run to the World Cup, soccer fever has once again swept through America. But with that spotlight has come increased scrutiny as well. As Skip Weisman, a leadership and workplace communications expert pointed out, despite the fact that the U.S. did not lose a game in their pursuit of (ultimately winning) the championship, sports commentators have focused almost exclusively on what the team gets wrong.

Weisman goes on to suggest that this overly-perfectionist attitude makes it nearly impossible to appreciate success. Similarly, contact center supervisors can sometimes get bogged down in the smaller mistakes that their agents make rather than focus on factors that contribute to successful quality of customer care.

There are a few ways that contact center managers can avoid this attitude of perfectionism within their service facilities:

Focus on the customer: In broad strokes, the most important thing for contact centers to focus on is creating and fostering long lasting relationships between their brand and customers. Thus, the ultimate measure of contact center success is customer retention; this should be the main focus and measurement of success for supervisors.

Improve quality management: With that being said, agents can always improve their craft. Improving quality assurance and agent training measures are two areas where contact centers can realize more success. By monitoring and evaluating calls, for instance, managers can constantly update and improve core processes and identify areas of weakness.

Contact centers can also use quality skills assessments to evaluate individual employees’ strengths and weaknesses. The conclusions drawn from these assessments can be shared with the employees, so that they can learn how to improve their communicating and problem solving techniques. Supervisors can also use these tools to keep their centers a step ahead by continuously phasing out practices that are sub-optimal and replacing them with more successful processes.

Set your employees up for success: It is vital that agents feel they are being treated well and recognized for their accomplishments. Small supervisor to agent ratios, career-focused training for employees, and benefits like on-site fitness centers and flexible hours can help agents remain engaged in what they are doing. When employees feel as though their needs are being satisfied, they are much more likely to be dedicated to their work. On the other hand, agents who are in constant fear of criticism from a manager will likely spend more time looking over their shoulders than doing effective work. Clearly, the former option is a more valuable asset to the business.

In any business, in any endeavor in life, there is always room for improvement. In order to become and remain a successful business, shortcomings and weaknesses need to be identified and corrected wherever possible. But, this cannot be done at the expense of recognizing success. Contact center supervisors cannot become so wrapped up in minute mistakes that they lose sight of the bigger picture. Just like the U.S. Women’s Team, it is important to recognize that a win is a win. There is always time to make improvements, but it is vital to balance this with recognizing and appreciating successes.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.