Professional Development in Contact Centres: This Time it’s Personal! Steve Shellabear of dancing lion explains how to get the best out of your training programmes
What would you say if we told you we had a great investment opportunity for you? Something absolutely guaranteed to pay you back much more than you put in. No risk! Great returns!
You’d have to be sceptical at the very least, because who could seriously offer you a cast iron certainty on any kind of investment?
Well, there really is one kind which is always guaranteed to pay, and with this investment, the longer you’re committed to it, the bigger the rewards.
That’s the nature of developing the people in your contact centre. Keep investing in them and they’ll keep providing the returns for you, year on year. Few things mean more to staff at all levels than a structured approach to training and developing new skills on an ongoing basis.
But while more and more organisations are getting wise to the benefits of a culture-based approach to training and development, a fairly major oversight persists, which when addressed, has a hugely positive effect on the bottom line of any company.
That oversight is the personal development of front line customer service staff. Not only the professional development of their skill set for their current role, but the personal development of their qualities and aspirations, too. It’s not so unusual for both to go hand-in-hand when discussing the importance of training senior management, but for those at the sharp end of the operation, it’s unfortunately still something of a rarity.
This is something that we at dancing lion having taken up as a bit of a crusade! We have a passion for development and what Maslow would term ‘self-actualisation’.
We’ve seen with our own eyes the amazing effect that a combined personal and professional development programme has on front line staff, and we’ve become evangelists for the cause.
So, what does a combined personal/professional programme look like for your people?
We all know the meaning of a conventional skills based training programme. It should be customer-centric in nature, with targeted objectives to be achieved in defined timescales, delivered by skilled trainers and reinforced by managers or mentors who know their people and the conditions they work under. Relevance is key, as is a sincere desire to ‘hear’ the feedback of those being trained.
On the second tier of that training programme (but no less important) comes the personal development element. This consists of soliciting the aspirations of each individual and tailoring a personal programme which they can see helps them achieve these objectives as closely as possible. This may be outside the scope of their usual duties, and could also be completed outside business hours, such as in the case of college study, external training programmes or leadership courses.
One final element could be added to all the above and could be considered the cherry on the cake. That would be the social element of personal and professional development. This is highly valued by almost everyone in an organisation, as a way of building a strong sense of community, letting off steam, and strengthening team values. Having fun, laughing and getting to know your work colleagues as part of development is a serious business! These elements can’t be underestimated as a key part of the whole training and development mix.
The smart money is on developing the whole person and having self-aware contact centre managers and mentors who are able to fully realise the value of their people. Investing time and resources into personal and professional development has been proven as a viable means to realising competitive commercial advantage.
Your competitive advantage may lie entirely in how well trained and developed your people are on an ongoing basis.
If your company is committed to this level of training and development, or aspires to it, call us at dancing lion today for an initial free consultation on how we can assist you to go to the next level in delivering outstanding customer service.
Dancing lion have a strong track record in assisting organisations to implement customer satisfaction initiatives and training programmes.