Top 50 Call Center Best Practices? What’s Missing?

I was struggling with a topic for this post until this afternoon when it was handed to me in my inbox.

As I’m sure do all of you, I get dozens of email invites a day to webinars.  And while I participate in many and appreciate the exposure to what’s being promoted on various social CRM, customer service and contact center topics, I wish I would be given more options as to the frequency of these notifications.  But that’s a topic for another post:  how to abuse your email list.

The email I received that sparked this post was titled “Top 50 Call Center Optimization Best Practices of 2009”.  I read on and, here’s what I was invited to learn:

  • Secrets of top call centers and how to successfully apply them (ok, I’ll let it pass that this was the fourth time the email referred to ‘call center’.  So, these best practices don’t apply to email, chat, SMS, web self service, social CRM?  Ok, not the point)
  • Proven best practices for quality monitoring, workforce management, reporting and analysis, customer surveying, pre-hire assessment, training, desk top integration and automation
  • Breakthrough strategies and techniques you can use to exceed customer expectations, raise performance and achieve your career goals
  • Powerful new ways to hire the best employees, set and measure the right performance objectives, accurately forecast workload and schedules, improve quality of service, effectively survey customers to boost satisfaction and win the support of top executives
  • About new call center optimization solutions that are affordable to organizations of all sizes (damn, there’s the sales pitch)

Whew!  That’s some list for a 60 minute presentation.  But again, not the point.

The point , or more the question, I’m pondering is where’s the customer in this list?  Oh sure, it gives obligatory mention to ‘techniques…to exceed customer expectations” like the sales course that will teach you the magic question to get your prospect to say ‘yes’.  And, ‘effectively survey customers to boost satisfaction’ like the process of surveying customers is going to create a delightful experience.

But in reality, this is a webinar that could have been delivered 20 years ago (if webinars existed then)

So, what’s missing?  The customer.  The customer’s wants.  The customer’s needs.  The customer’s point of view.

Is this as far as we’ve come in thinking about customer service and the ‘call center’?

If you were writing the agenda for this webinar, what would be at the top of your list?

Comments

  1. Just a few thoughts:

    The objective of providing successful service outcomes for customer and company is always a stated one, but I find there are missed opportunities in understanding what a successful outcome looks like from the customer point of view and developing an service organization nimble enough to consistently deliver on that.

    Beyond that, some topics I'd always like to see more coverage on:

    How to create a service organization able to provide consistently exceptional service in an environment with heterogeneous customer inputs (This arises from a personal frustration that so many service organizations deal poorly with variability, even though variability is inevitable in any organization where humans serve humans.)

    How to balance the desire for customized experience with a need for some standardization of process or consistency of outcome.

    How to enable all front line service providers as the firm’s best marketers.

    Creating the contact center as the heart of the learning organization. (heavy market research tie)

    Using the contact center / care center to create more high-performing customers.

  2. thanks for the comments, Chris. This is the level of discussion that really needs to move the contact center to the next level of strategic significance.

    I meet a lot of individuals that recognize this need, but unfortunately there are systemic and orgnizational barriers preventing the revolution.

    Always insightful. Thanks again.

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