A Leader’s Guide to Achieving a High-Performance Contact Centre Culture
Contact centre leaders must prioritize culture in order to motivate agents, increase customer satisfaction, and decrease turnover while contributing to the overall success of a business, according to Mandisa Makubalo, Founder & Managing Director at Unlimited Experiences SA.
Contact centres deliver tremendous value to a business, but that’s only obvious if you’re actually involved in the day-to-day operations of one. Outside of the contact centre, executives often struggle to realize the true purpose of agents’ responsibilities. This debate goes back to my days as the Head of Contact Centre more than a decade ago.
I always found that leading teams in a full-fledged contact centre was much different than leading teams where the contact centre existed as an offshoot of another department within the corporate structure. In the latter, the contact centre is viewed as a cost first and foremost. You’re subject to controlling that cost and keeping it low. But when you do this, you’re inevitably causing the contact centre’s performance and culture to suffer. Contact centres need to run as an independent-yet-connected operation in order to achieve success for the entire organization.
What does performance have to do with culture, you ask? Agents are the lifeblood of the contact centre, so everything from their workflow to their level of motivation is connected to the outcomes they achieve for your customers. As a leader, you want to create a culture that drives high performance and ultimately earns results. Customer satisfaction will increase, and agent turnover will decrease — impacting both the top and bottom lines.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the existing behaviours that prevent a contact centre from unlocking its true value, then find out how to create a high-performance contact centre culture.
Why your contact centre’s culture is broken
Culture may never feel perfect with total bliss, but that shouldn’t stop you from resolving issues within the contact centre.
Here’s why the culture of your contact centre may be leading to poor performance.
Poor Communication: Contact centre agents are bombarded with performance measurements that have not been explained adequately, in terms of business value and customer value. Above all else, agents need to know how their contributions drive the organization closer to its goals. Communication between senior management, middle management, and lower management should reach agents on the front lines to maintain clarity and consistency. If agents only find out about goals too late, it applies a significant amount of pressure on them and may lead to disengagement, burnout, and turnover.
Separating Performance: Contact centres shouldn’t be controlled by other departments, but the performance of a contact centre and any other departments should be connected. Looking at a contact centre’s performance on its own doesn’t offer much insight for the rest of the organization. You need to paint a full picture by understanding the effectiveness of sales efforts, marketing campaigns, and more — this reveals why customers reached the contact centre for help, and how effective your agents were in providing service. As you analyze your contact centre’s performance, share data with other departments and ask that they do the same.
Ambiguous Measurements: Get granular! Let your agents know which metrics are critical to the contact centre, ensuring transparency and avoiding friction.
How to create a high-performance contact centre culture
Know what’s broken with your contact centre’s culture? Now it’s time to overhaul it and inspire agents to perform at a high level, make customers happy with every service interaction, and deliver value for the entire organization to recognize.
Here are four ways to fix your contact centre’s culture and establish a team of experts on the front lines.
Training in a contact centre begins with leaders and managers equipping agents with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to effectively communicate with customers. In addition, this means that agents need to be aware of objectives and goals held by the organization so they understand how to contribute toward achieving them.
Encouraging leader-to-agent collaboration, agent-to-agent collaboration, and department-to-department collaboration is a recipe for success. It’s a level of cooperation that creates cohesiveness between business units, allowing individuals to share knowledge and ideas. Agents (and employees in other departments) who feel heard and engaged are more motivated to align with strategic goals and executive objectives.
Open and consistent communication is always best. Communicate during 1:1s, team meetings, and cross-department huddles to provide direct feedback with agents and key stakeholders elsewhere within the organization. But, of course, your focus should be primarily on agents in the contact centre. Agents must be made aware of how they, the contact centre, and the organization as a whole is performing and what success looks like. In turn, agents feel aware of what they can do to contribute to success and advance in their career paths.
#4. Full Support
As supervisors and managers, it’s crucial that agents are provided with the necessary resources, guidance, and tools they need to be effective on the front lines. It will build confidence that management cares about their success. Full support doesn’t only mean training and coaching to grow skill sets, though — draw attention to mental health as well. In a workplace that acknowledges an individual’s well-being, employees trust that they’re actually supported while taking on professional and personal stress day in and day out.
Get one step closer to a high-performance contact centre culture
Everything about the success (and failure) of a contact centre hinges on the culture, which is why you need to remove the bad behaviours and install the good behaviours described above. Agents know they’re an integral part of the organization, but it’s up to you to make agents feel just how impactful their efforts are.
By engaging with and motivating agents, leadership outside of the contact centre will never view the contact centre as an unnecessary cost again.
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Using Medallia Experience Cloud, customers can reduce churn, turn detractors into promoters and buyers, create in-the-moment cross-sell and up-sell opportunities and drive revenue-impacting business decisions, providing clear and potent returns on investment.
Whether you are looking to empower agents or operational teams, Medallia can help create better experiences for your teams and your customers.
Ready to ignite agent performance? Check out Medallia’s guide, 4 Steps to Supercharge Contact Center Agent Performance, to learn how leading contact centres are putting the right systems and processes in place to achieve success.