Listen Up, Contact Center Leaders! 5 Industry Experts Have Something to Tell You

We asked five prominent CX specialists: what message do you most want to share with the contact center community?

Listen Up, Contact Center Leaders! 5 Industry Experts Have Something to Tell You
Contact CentreWFOInsights

Published: February 9, 2024

Charlie Mitchell

From Victoria Beckham declaring she’s middle class to Elon Musk challenging Mark Zuckerberg to a cage fight, celebrities sent out many fun-filled messages to the masses last year.

Yet, the contact center industry has its personalities, too – and they have messages of their own to share with the community.

These do not aim to provoke, however. Instead, these strive to provide some words of wisdom that will help contact center leaders guide their strategies.

Indeed, during November’s Contact Center Expo in London, we asked five prominent CX experts: what message do you most want to share with the contact center community?

Here is what they had to say.

1. “Take the Tech Out of Contact Center Design” – Nerys Corfield, Director of Injection Consulting

Technology is moving at a velocity the industry has never seen before. But that doesn’t mean businesses should be in an arms race to deploy it as fast as possible.

Yes, it’s much easier than it once was to spin up applications and test them quickly. However, when gaining clarity on what you want customer experience to look like, start by taking the technology out of the picture.

Ultimately, whatever journey you create, the technology will be there to support it.

When considering new technologies, brands normally bring me in, and I immediately put an intervention in place to ensure they make the most of this transformation opportunity.

They rarely think about how to better align people and processes with the technology or how it will change their culture, workflows, and measurements for success.

Thankfully, there is the 7P framework to ensure the contact center gets its ducks in a row before making tech-based decisions (as shared in the video below).

2. “Always Consult Your Team Leaders. You Won’t Regret It!” – Martin Teasdale, Host of the Get Out of Wrap Podcast

When attending an industry event, be present and stay active. But, also remember to bring team and operations leaders along with the IT decision-makers.

Why? Because it’ll stoke their fires of enthusiasm for the industry. They’ll be like kids in a sweet shop, spotting improvement opportunities the business would otherwise miss.

Moreover, it will help them feel pride in their industry, which will show itself in their work.

Remember, everything a contact center manager wants to do requires the buy-in of team leaders. They must understand the value-add. That’s critical to ensure contact center strategies ride, not die.

When the managers introduce a new strategy, they can’t just tell people on the fly. Supervisors must have a voice and be treated like professionals. After all, they constantly handle technology, people, process, finance, measurement, and more bases – they’ll help!

Just consider Gartner’s research that suggests 45 percent of contact center agents avoid adopting new technologies.

When leaders and their teams have that voice, such problems are much milder, if they persist at all.

3. “Make Customer Service Everybody’s Responsibility” – Patrick Watson, Head of Research at Cavell Group

A concept is growing where everybody within the organization is responsible for customer service.

The optimal way to achieve that is by connecting the enterprise’s collaboration solution of choice and the front-line, front-end dedicated contact center solution.

In doing so, contact centers can create a strategy that connects a front-end agent with whoever else they might need to talk to within the organization. That’s so promising.

Traditionally, the contact center would have had to license every person within the organization – which is not financially viable.

But, it’s now possible to couple a front-end, dedicated platform – which has all the bells and whistles – with the collaboration platform that external specialists can leverage to engage with customers directly and at a much lower price point.

Recent product releases by Webex and Zoom show how businesses can mix and match contact center packages to do this more cost-effectively. In doing so, they may utilize not only specialist knowledge but also additional assistance as and when necessary.

4. “The Contact Center Agent Job Description Is Changing. Own It!” – Keith Gait, CEO of the Customer Experience Foundation

The Contact Center Expo 2023 further confirmed that the latest CX technology and innovation are out there, with AI, chatbots, and NLP all being showcased effectively to transform and enhance customer contact center operations for today’s brands and organizations.

Indeed, it reflected the industry’s commitment to stay at the forefront of CX excellence.

With this rapid pace of change, there is a strategic need for organizations to consider how they are going to shape their future workforce. Critically, they must look at how to leverage these technologies and decide the role agents of the future will play.

The ‘agent of tomorrow’ job role cannot be defined by one prescribed job description but rather by a prediction of a wide set of skills and expectations that are constantly changing and ever-evolving.

There is a huge opportunity here, and the future is owned by those who are willing to change it.

5. “Coach Emotional Intelligence to Block Burnout” – Sandra Thompson, Founder of Ei Evolution

Contact centers must invest in coaching new skills – such as emotional intelligence – rather than assuming that the tech will give those individuals everything they need.

The skills of interpretation, careful delivery, and resilience are more critical than ever.

So, don’t get hung up on the career ladder and standardized pathways. People just want to be invested in and to grow as a person.

Start with self-awareness. Invite people to explore the meaning behind how they feel.

You’re getting so much burnout in contact centers because people don’t have the time to process the journey they’ve been on – day in, day out, dealing with often grumpy customers.

Also, consider the principle of psychological safety. Give people the freedom to speak up, challenge, and go the extra mile without fear of being reprimanded, shamed, or embarrassed.

At CX Today, we’re delighted to welcome Corfield and Watson as judges for the 2024 CX Awards, for which we’ve received hundreds of entries. To watch the virtual award ceremony, sign up here!

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