Make Strategic Thinking Communicators’ Top Priority

“What makes a good Communicator?” This is the most critical question that’s on many contact center leaders’ minds, as customer care becomes increasingly important to their company’s viability.

While being a superb conversationalist and possessing a pleasant disposition are both very important characteristics, these traits aren’t what separate a good Communicator from an outstanding Communicator.

The one characteristic that makes a Communicator truly stand apart from the rest is strategic thinking. Strategic thinking focuses on finding and developing opportunities to create value for the customer and the company.

A trait often found in great leaders and business owners, strategic thinkers are able to act on their feet during dire situations, thinking both with the left and right sides of their brains.

What’s more, these individuals are extremely aware and perceptive, using external and internal clues to help guide their decision-making. And finally, strategic thinkers are great problem solvers, always conceptualizing solutions that benefit both the customer and the business.

When it comes to the customer care realm, being a strategic thinker is critical. One has to be able to effectively serve the customer’s needs, while also keeping in line with the business’ vision and goals.

While strategic thinking isn’t easy to teach—as many individuals are often born with this trait—it’s not entirely impossible.  Below are various ways you can help your Communicators become better strategic thinkers.

  • Create teaching moments: Chances are you already record your Communicators interactions with customers. Take those interactions and turn them into valuable teaching moments. For example, discuss ways in which a Communicator could have thought more strategically in a certain situation with a customer. Pointing out these “moments” will help them identify areas in which they can think more strategically next time they’re interacting with a customer.
  • Always ask questions: During your evaluations with your Communicators, choose one particular call they had with a customer. Walk through the call with them, asking questions as to why they went a particular route. Was there an opportunity where they could have thought more strategically? Oftentimes, Communicators will come up with the conclusion on their own without you even having to point it out.
  • Encourage thinking outside the box: In the customer care industry, Communicators will often stick to the script. However, there are certain situations that aren’t so black and white. Encourage your Communicators to think outside the box. While it’s important to adhere to certain protocol, there are situations that call for a little creativity. Reward those who are truly thinking, rather than simply reacting to a customer. Praising such behavior will promote strategic thinking.

The more Communicators you have that think strategically, the more improved your quality of customer care will become. While not every single one of your Communicators will embody this trait, there are things that you can do to help them become more proactive. Use the tips and tricks above to help your Communicators think more strategically and become more well-rounded individuals.

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, SOCAP, 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 is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.