Lucille Needham explains how your contact centre can benefit from upper management taking calls every now and again.
We’ve all seen the TV shows like Back to the Floor and Undercover Boss, where company managers and directors go and work alongside their employees to find out what life is really like at the coal face.
While these shows can often be a bit cheesy, the reality is that anyone holding a managerial role in a modern company can benefit from occasionally joining the troops in the trenches.
This is no different in the contact centre world. Here are five reasons why taking a call from Margaret in Middlesbrough might be among the most important training that business managers executives will ever have.
1. Build credibility with the team
It’s one thing to give your agents advice from up high about how to deal with those tricky customers; it’s quite another to have your own war stories to tell at the pub after work.
If you can authentically articulate the real day-to-day challenges of working in the contact centre, your team is more likely to believe in your strategy and solutions.
2. Learn to listen to the customer
Being on the phone with a customer who is screaming down the line about a lost order or a broken laptop is a change of scene for most executives.
However, field research is the best kind – direct observation leads to the most valuable and actionable insights.
Even one day with the headset on can reveal important truths about customer behaviour and the customer experience journey. For example, some customers might prefer a follow-up call, while other groups prefer text or email. Understand those needs first-hand.
3. Let the students be the master
By taking a seat in the call centre, you can observe creative solutions that are used by your staff in the field, which can be transformed into best practices to leverage and implement across the team.
To use an example from another industry where customer experience is critical, Ritz-Carlton employees are trained to anticipate the unexpressed wishes of their guests.
In one example, a receptionist noticed a guest was checking out very early the next morning. She offered to leave a fresh pot of coffee outside his door. In theory, this small gesture could be implemented right across the company where any guest checking out before 7am is offered a free pot of coffee, using creative solutions to improve the customer experience for all customers.
4. Focus on the micro
Managers tend to have a better big-picture perspective than the employees they manage. This is only natural given their position.
However, the bigger picture is often the least precise. A day in the contact centre can give managers a unique opportunity to see customer behaviour and preferences in the most detailed way possible.
5. Catch mistakes early — especially your own
A well thought-out CX strategy on paper may not always work so well in the field. However, you might not realise it isn’t working until it’s too late.
That’s why trying out your own customer service recommendations first, personally and directly while taking customer calls, is always a good idea.
If your new ideas are blowing up in your face or creating unnecessary confusion, you’ll learn a bit of humility—and you can earn the respect of your team when you acknowledge your mistakes.
With thanks to Lucille Needham at Genesys