The Contact Center – Company Farm Team?
Dec20

The Contact Center – Company Farm Team?

Adapted from original post featured on www.ICMI.com in November 2016   Most of us can agree that losing top talent outside the organization is something we should work to prevent.  However, something leaders don’t talk about as often is the very real phenomenon of agents leaving the contact center to pursue roles in other areas of the business.   I will warn you right away….this is not a subject for which I have all the answers.  That being said, it’s a very important topic with a huge impact and it should be discussed.  This dialog was a sidebar theme in one of our recent ICMI chats, and many expressed interest in taking it to the next level.  My hope is to generate a conversation and help all of us become more aware when it comes to positive internal turnover.   It’s no wonder contact center employees are a hot commodity for other hiring managers within the business.  Where else do you learn the products, services and the customers more intimately than the front lines of customer service?  As Jeff Bezos (Amazon CEO) stated, “Everyone has to be able to work in a call center.”  There is no better training ground, and it stands to reason that contact centers have become somewhat of a “farm team” for many companies.     While positive internal turnover can be a very good thing both for the analysts and the larger organization, is it possible to go too far?   Customer service is critical to the customer experience and the business.  Should we not have top talent in the contact center?  Should they not stay there long enough to make a significant impact and lay a foundation for more analysts like themselves?  According to the QATC, the average turnover rate (internal and external) is 26 percent annually.  Most leaders would agree it’s very difficult to build a high functioning, sustainable team when 1 in 4 people are gone in twelve months.  No one wants customer service to be thought of as a revolving door.  When the contact center is not a priority for the business, how can the customer be a priority for the business?   The challenge is finding balance between the “farm team” mentality and being a talent hoarder.  This requires a partnership between customer service leadership and the rest of the organization.  One possible solution?  Perhaps there is a two year expectation (minimum) for any contact center employees prior to transition.  The first year is about learning process, technologies, customers, etc.  Year two is about getting more strategically involved in the business, lending a hand in the training and development of newer representatives, and...

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Who Would You Crown Princess of Customer Service?
Mar10

Who Would You Crown Princess of Customer Service?

Also posted on ICMI.com.  This is entirely for fun, but it may help reveal some qualities that you want to look for in your next CSR hire! Exciting news!  The Fantasyland help desk is growing.  A position was just opened, and several of your favorite customer service pros have referred their top candidate.  One catch  – this person will be serving the “Magical Executive” customer segment and must be an official Princess.  Which Princess do you believe would make the best Customer Service Representative?  Review the referral notes below and vote in THIS one question survey by 3/17 to see who gets the job!   Candidate: Cinderella    Referred By: Al Hopper Cinderella is the hands down, most qualified, candidate for the position at Fantasyland. Cinderella worked her way into her place at the royal court, unlike some of the other applicants. She learned many hard lessons about pleasing the most difficult of clients while she lived with her step-mother and step-sisters. These three did everything they could think of to make Cinderella’s life difficult, but she never gave up or took it out on her friends. Cinderella also learned the importance of working with a team during these formative years and never turned away the insights given to her from even the smallest of coworkers.She also learned how to listen to others and take instructions from the more experienced members of her team. Prince Charming saw enough potential in her to search his entire kingdom to find her after their first meeting to make her part of his team. Any service team would benefit from Cinderella’s life of experience and personal network with the royal court.   Candidate: Ariel    Referred By: Jenny Dempsey Ariel truly understands and grasps the importance of the customer voice. She is fascinated with the world, curious and eager to soak up new information. She learned from experience about how to stand on her own two feet and will encourage and teach customers to do the same. She dives headfirst into the customer’s world with every interaction. Ariel would be the ideal customer service agent for your team! (And holy sea shells, Rapunzel is more ferocious than a hungry shark….keep that in mind when hiring her!)  * Bonus points to Jenny for actually appearing in her own princess image!   Candidate: Rapunzel   Referred By: Nate Brown Rapunzel is clearly the best candidate for a Customer Service role.  But before I get into that, let me tell you why she is the only real candidate…period.  Ariel is half fish.  Unless your service center is “under the sea”, that option is pretty much out.  Jasmine...

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