Josh Kivenko of Lifesize discusses how you can mitigate the personal risk and career stakes of implementing cloud contact centres.
People-Centric Change Management
A large portion of a cloud migration revolves around change management.
Successful change management requires negotiation not only around business risks, but also personal and emotional ones as well. This is especially important when dealing with those employees who will be most directly impacted. These are the contact centre leaders who will be responsible for the new system’s success, the IT staff who will be managing said system, and the agents who will be depending on it every day to do their job.
For some, contact centre migration to the cloud can feel like an existential threat and a departure from what’s safe and sure. The key is to be sensitive to these fears, rather than dismissive of them.
Contact Centre Leaders
You may not need the approval of every single contact centre manager in your organization to get things off the ground, but you do want as many as possible to be sustained champions for the new platform rather than naysayers.
Sharing supporting documentation in advance, such as detailed implementation plans or cost-benefit assessments, can go a long way toward easing doubts and building confidence with these leaders.
Make a case for why the change is necessary, why the risks are manageable, and how it will ultimately benefit them.
Be aware, though, that there will be times when no amount of preparation and reassurance will be enough.
Why? Because for decision makers, big transformation projects tend to involve all-or-nothing, career-defining “points of no return” that can easily feel debilitating.
Every project has at least some chance of going off the rails, after all. And the risk of losing your job — however slim it may be — will always feel too high.
It seems like a binary proposition where the negative outcome is absolutely intolerable. No upside will ever be big enough, and no need urgent enough, to be worth it. The solution is not only to confront (and hopefully dispel) doubts, but also to deconstruct that black-and-white framing. A couple points to remind them of:
- Doing nothing has its own risks — Legacy products are being abandoned. Failure to adequately support WFH agents damages the faith of both customers and employees.
- It’s actually not “all-or-nothing” — CCaaS migration doesn’t have to be a total “redo” on Day One. Your organization has control over which components to replace and when to help teams acclimatize, keeping the risk of disruption at a manageable level.
System and IT Administrators
Odds are good that you have people in your organization who’ve spent years building certifications in technologies like Cisco and Avaya.
Be proactive in addressing concerns these individuals may have about the impact of CCaaS migration on their job security and career trajectory.
Ensure admin teams have access to any new training they may need, emphasize how experience with a new cloud-based platform will strengthen their resume, and reassure them that although their users may have more options to self-service, they will still have a unique and valuable position as a go-to expert.
The silver lining is that they’ll actually have the ability and time to focus on innovating long-term solutions — for example, how to leverage the extensibility of an API-centric cloud platform to better integrate with other business systems — as opposed to constantly juggling admin tasks manually.
Contact Centre Agents and Supervisors
Humans form significant emotional attachments to the software they use day in, day out — and yes, as strange as it may sound, that includes 20-year-old call centre software.
Agents spend a major chunk of their waking hours immersed in these systems and dashboards.
Some may grow frustrated with their system’s shortcomings and idiosyncrasies, but many will have grown accustomed to, if not downright fond of them.
It’s not uncommon for some agents to take the news of a contact center software migration as a personal affront.
Without the proper communication strategy in place, you risk alienating the very people your CCaaS migration project is really for: the frontline agents trying to better serve your customers.
So again, proactive and transparent communication is essential. The more time you can give agents to ease into the idea of change, the more you mitigate the likelihood of backlash — as long as you’re prepared to answer their questions and listen to their concerns and needs.
Give your contact centre team leaders the language they need to explain why the change is happening, and what it means for both agents and customers.
- What’s the implementation timeline?
- Is there functionality they’re used to having that the new system currently lacks or replaces?
- Are there new features that will be important for them to learn?
Take every opportunity you can to make agents feel involved and comfortable with the process. Solicit and welcome input.
Create a pilot program as soon as it’s feasible, and make every effort to show that you’re responding to feedback.
Change feels less threatening when you feel like you have some level of control over it.
Achieving Nirvana in Cloud Migration
The key thing to remember is this: to set a CCaaS implementation up for success, it’s critical to win over the contact centre leaders, supervisors, agents and system administrators who actually have a direct stake in the platform.
Also, that means addressing their perceived risks and emotional needs as much as their professional ones.
Help them feel secure that they still have a future with the organization. Help them feel actively involved and influential in the transformation process. And help them feel like, when the dust settles and the migration to the cloud is complete, they’ll still have a valuable role to play.