Quit Fighting Fires in the Contact Center

Survival is good, but as a leader you want more for your contact center. While it might seem reasonable and even necessary to solve problems as they arise and depend on the same few knowledgeable individuals for quality and consistency, reacting to issues on the spur of the moment does little to move a workplace forward. In other words, simply putting out the day’s fire isn’t giving your contact center the nourishment it needs.

The key to a proactive management style is to balance your contact center’s short-term needs with its long-term goals.  When you consider your most pressing challenge, what is it? If it’s not adding value to every customer interaction, then you might be doing more fire-fighting than you need to.

To keep your focus on the future instead of the next fire, try implementing these ideas in your contact center:

  • Encourage everyone to participate in some form of management. Management-level expertise is needed in some areas, but when it comes to daily operations, everyone should have a hand in the pot. If your Communicators—your front-line employees—“own” the goal of improving the customer experience, they’ll all feel empowered to do whatever it takes to make that happen, including making decisions in the moment, and know they’re supported.
  • Discuss problems and solutions frequently. Rather than solving problem after problem and then moving on, look for patterns. Talking about processes and issues often with your Communicators offers a good chance to identify recurring problems and find the root causes. Addressing underlying causes creates a system that’s well-equipped to move forward.
  • Focus your energy on the big stuff. Think of every Communicator’s daily work as contributing to big goals, and your focus will automatically be on the important things, like phone demeanor and problem-solving skills, rather than on whether someone arrived five minutes late or made a personal call from a workstation. Results are more important than process.

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.