Filed under: Engagement, Leadership, Management, People, Relational Leadership
I recently had a conversation with one of my colleagues in the industry. We talked about why one company struggles with turnover and low morale while another company flourishes? We came to the conclusion that the answer is often leadership! As we continued to talk, this story unfolded.
He told me a story of how a CEO was recently talking to a group of his customer service folks about how important they were to the success of the company. After the meeting, one of the frontline people approached him afterwards and was “beaming.” She told him that he made her want to run from the meeting and solve all customer problems. I asked him what the CEO said that would have that kind of impact on an employee. He said it was pretty basic – in fact, the CEO said he was sure he had said much of it before in other management meetings – but that somehow the message was not getting through to the frontline.
He said that in the meeting he discussed how important every customer interaction was to the success of the company. He thanked them for their attitude of service and challenged them to do even better.
The employee said that she had “no idea how passionate he was about customers” and that she just felt so special now.
Wow – let’s think about that for a moment. The CEO did not give the agent a raise, he did not change any policies, he did not adjust her work schedule – he just spent some time talking about his vision and his thoughts about how important customer service is to the company.
Ask yourself this, how long has it been since you told your people how important they are? How long has it been since you found a way to show your passion for the customer first-hand? It does not matter if you are CEO or a frontline supervisor – your vision – your passion for excellence is a motivator like no other. It is important that your people feel the passion – that they WANT to follow you… that they trust their leader…
Schedule some time to share your vision with your people and don’t be afraid to show your passion for excellence!
Filed under: Engagement, Leadership, Management, People, Relational Leadership
About 15 years ago, I had a manager tell me that I would never go anywhere because I cared too much about the people that worked for me. He said that I needed to pay more attention to the business and less attention to whether people were happy. Well, here I am 15 years later still espousing the concepts of “loving people.” I have worked in the call center industry now more than 30 years (which is really hard to believe). And, throughout all that time, the one thing that is a constant for all successful managers is this one concept – “they loved their people!”
If you are new to the customer service or call center industry, and either a new manager or thinking about becoming a new manager – ask yourself this question – do you love people? Do you love watching them succeed? Do you love the feeling that comes with a successful coaching session? Do you love the people part of your job? If not, it is not too late to find another profession…
As a buddy of mine likes to say, no one walked to the front of the room in 2nd grade holding a headset and telling the class, “when I grow-up I want to work in a call center.” But if you find yourself there now, I believe you are in one of the most rewarding jobs in America. I don’t care what my manager named Ravi told me 15 years ago – you cannot love your people too much!
Filed under: Leadership, Management, Relational Leadership, Social Media, Uncategorized
New Orleans in mid-June redefines the word humidity. I am from Memphis and we thought we invented the word, but a week in NO let me know we are B-league at best. So, it was hot… but so was the sharing and learning at ICMI’s ACCE Conference. Traditionally one of the best call center conferences, there was a buzz this year in the sessions and on the trade-show floor. I heard that attendance was up (perhaps a leading indicator for the economy) and the hot topic was social media.
Having been in the industry for more than 29 years, there have been years when everything seemed to be status quo. I remember being excited about quality systems in the early ‘90s. The technology went on to revolutionize the call center industry and I believe has been a key element in the consistency in centers. The IVR had a huge impact on centers in the mid-90’s. IVRs are now a part of every-day life (although they can be a HUGE point of frustration for those companies that don’t do it very well).
In the late 90’s CRM was “all the buzz.” It was everywhere. I even remember seeing a headset company that advertised their headsets were “CRM approved.” If you were a vendor in the 90′s you had to find a way to be a part of the craze! Of course the success has been undeniable. CRM systems are now a part of centers as small at 10 agents and as big as 10,000. Email management, chat and speech analytics were the next hot topics.
Well, this year the buzz was Social Media – and I say that not just because I had the opportunity to speak about it in three different sessions. It was the topic of conversations at breakfast and lunch – and on Bourbon Street when attendees put down their hurricanes to talk shop at night. One guy at lunch said it best, “Jezz, it is all I hear.”
ACCE is always an interesting blend of all levels of call center leaders. I talked with VPs of Customer Service for large corporations and to a lady leading a team of 25 in a small health practice.
It is cool to think about the possibilities of Social Media. There’s no doubt that companies with an online presence are the early-adopters and are leading the way for the rest of us. Actually I think we are all on a huge learning arch. In our session on Monday, I was happy to hear a story of one leader who said their small doctor’s group is “dabbling” in social media. Mike Pace with Constant Contact was a great resource in the session – sharing many success stories from his center. 1-800-Flowers, Dell and Intuit also shared best-practices. It comforting to know that even these companies, who are leading the way, have been doing this for less than two years so we all have time to ride the Social wave behind them.
Salesforce.com knocked it out of the park again at the sponsored lunch event. They may not be the only vendor doing Social CRM but they are definitely leading the way in teaching us how to do it right.
The trade show floor was lively. There were the usual suspects in the area of CRM, Outsourcing and Quality Management. I continue to be intrigued by CallCopy. I have several clients that have their systems and all have been VERY satisfied.
Many may have not noticed it but there was a new vendor in the mix this year with a totally new concept. He is actually an industry veteran. Michael Tamer (a previous Call Center Pioneer winner for his contribution to Quality Management while at Teknekron/etalk) was there representing his company Tamer Partners Corporation. They are offering a new SAS application that provides a way for customers to give feedback directly to the call center agent. The system allows the customer to become a direct “coach” for the agent. It is pretty cool stuff. I might add that I have worked with Mike and his top consultant Scott Thomas for many years – so while my comments may include some bias, they are still relative.
The ICMI team should be congratulated for a great conference. If you choose only one conference in 2011, this is the one to attend.
Finally, here are some great Social Media links that we shared in our session. If you have questions or want to talk more about how Social Media might affect your center, please give me a call or send me an email:
Learning more about Social Media:
http://mashable.com/ – Understand more about Social Media
http://www.socialmediatoday.com/ – great blog
http://mashable.com/2009/01/21/best-twitter-brands/ – 40 of the Best Twitter Brands and the People Behind Them
http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=22754 – Directory: 100 technology experts on Twitter
http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/hiner/?p=916 – Techies: The top 10 people you should follow on Twitter
http://mediasosial.com/socialnetworking/the-ultimate-list-of-people-to-follow-on-twitter/ – The Ultimate List of People To Follow on Twitter
http://www.chrisbrogan.com/ - the guy I read consistently…
http://socialmediagovernance.com/policies.php – great site for policies.
Thanks to Faith LeGendre for the opportunity to co-present on several sessions. She always makes me look smart!