Megan Jones, Editor at Call Centre Helper, recently interviewed Brad Cleveland, a well-respected consultant, keynote speaker, and course instructor, to find out the habits every leader should adopt to succeed in planning ahead.
5 Things the Very Best Leaders Do to Prepare for the Future
If you’re looking to focus more strategically on what’s ahead, here are 5 things the very best leaders do to help them prepare for the future:
1. Build Resilient Teams With a Strong Sense of Purpose
You need the very best people to strive towards a positive future.
So don’t overlook the value of your colleagues. Great leaders invest time in building resilient teams with a strong sense of purpose – for several reasons:
2. Continuously Update Your Customer Access Strategy
When you learn new things about your customers’ needs, make sure you also update your Customer Access Strategy to reflect these changes.
What’s a Customer Access Strategy? It’s a well-documented overall plan that guides your contact centre. It helps to think of it as a blueprint for your day-to-day operations.
You can find out more in this article on An Introduction to… Customer Access Strategy.
3. Capture Customer Insights
You need to be actively capturing customer insight to help your organization understand customers’ changing needs and innovate accordingly.
Surveys, operational data, focus groups, and other aspects of listening can be helpful, but pay special attention to the insight your team can capture during interactions.
Listen to your customers, create opportunities to hear their voice, and then make use of the learnings across the organization.
4. Grow Your Network and Knowledge
Invest in your own knowledge too. From contact centre leadership principles to keeping a close eye on emerging trends, you need to stay in tune with what’s happening across the profession.
Not only that, but actively invest time in building up your own network across the organization.
Contact centres are inherently cross-functional, so you need that network to thrive.
That’s why the best leaders get to know people in other departments and spend time in their areas, so they can see where the contact centre is adding value.
If you are looking for ways to share the call centre with the wider company, read our article: 12 Inspiring Tactics for Sharing the Call Centre With the Wider Company
5. Have Fun!
Above all of this, the best leaders have fun while they work!
Contact centres can be stressful working environments, but there are leaders out there driving a great culture, flipping that stress on its head to position it as a challenge, and subsequently creating fun and positive places of work – ready for anything that comes their way.
Looking for ways to make a fun working environment? Read our article: Ways to Make Working in a Contact Centre Fun
5 Mistakes Which Often See Leaders Being Left Behind
You should also be aware of the common mistakes made by leaders that mean the contact centre is not prepared for the future, such as:
1. Letting the Hype Drive Your Strategy
Start with the customer and work back to the technology – don’t let ‘the buzz’ drive your strategy!
Leaders can fall flat on preparing for the future by getting too caught up in the hype of a new technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), and adopting it too early without thinking about its unique use case for their organization.
Leaders need to start with their customers and work back to the technology – not the other way around, so don’t let ‘the buzz’ drive your strategy!
2. Overlooking the Need to Keep Your Customer Access Strategy Up to Date
You need to be on the pulse of who your customers are, what channels they want to use, and more, to keep your contact centre moving forward.
So doing things ‘the way they’ve always been done’ and overlooking the need to update their Customer Access Strategy is another way leaders fail to prepare properly for the future.
3. Letting Others Make Arbitrary Decisions on Budgetary Requirements
Leaders can often be at the whim of letting others make arbitrary decisions on budgetary requirements – to the detriment of the contact centre.
It’s a tough job, but you’ve got to really spearhead that conversation and not let arbitrary decisions drive your budget.
Struggling to have these conversations with the board? Try a new approach by comparing your contact centre to an airline.
So, take the lead on doing the maths to highlight what you need, so your team ‘doesn’t run out of fuel’.
4. Failing to Give Your Team Growth Opportunities
Another area where leaders often get it wrong is in not giving their team the growth opportunities that they need and deserve to prepare them for the future.
Not only does this mean they may lack the skills to face future challenges, but disengaged teams who don’t believe they have a career path in your contact centre are also more likely to leave.
For examples of career opportunities to offer your teams, read our article: 10 Career Progression Opportunities to Offer Your Team
5. Sticking to Rigid Processes
Stop trying to use the same cookie-cutter approach for every situation. From scripts to rigid processes, enforcing these can be to the detriment of staff morale as well as to continuous improvement initiatives for a brighter future.
Instead, empower your team with a strong knowledge base, clear quality standards, and the freedom to adapt to customers’ needs within those standards. This can help reduce frustrations for employees and customers alike.
If you are looking for more great advice on preparing your contact centre and employees for the future, read these article next: