Understanding and exceeding customer expectations means growth and sustainable differentiation for businesses that organize around customer-centricity and pursue new products, services, solutions, and markets to meet evolving customer needs. As the engine for addressing client challenges, inquiries, and needs, the contact center is essential to unlocking this promise.
For this reason, the contact center is no longer characterized by the transactions it processes and the issues it resolves. It can no longer be viewed as a low-cost channel for managing customer interactions. Instead, it is integral to an organization’s customer-centric transformation, fueling continuous evolution and strategic enablement by generating rich insights, safeguarding client satisfaction, and driving profitable growth.
This positioning has made it paramount that contact centers serve as a primary launching point for designing, testing, and deploying new solutions that promote future-focused thinking, organizational resilience, and greater agility in response to customer-led transformation imperatives. The importance of the contact center becomes particularly critical as organizations seek to address their strategic priorities while navigating the impacts of global crises and other events in the macro environment that affect customers.
Contact center solutions centered on operational excellence, advanced analytics, employee engagement, and automation-based technologies are generating impressive outcomes for organizations. However, we have found that companies who are amplifying their focus on customer experience (CX) solutions are making greater progress in generating and safeguarding client satisfaction and profitable growth. But an increased focus on CX within a contact center is not enough; CX strategies must come to life in interactions, journeys, and experiences (both human and digital) within the contact center, and all levels of the contact center team must understand and be bought into the strategies to “make it stick.” We continue our series with a focus on innovative practices to communicate change and drive adoption of new, CX-led solutions within the contact center.
When was the last time you dialed a customer service line without first trying to research your need online? Given how much self-service is now available online, the frequency of chatting with a live contact center team member has decreased dramatically. Before picking up the phone, 81 percent of customers attempt to self-serve online. By the time customers finally get on the line, there’s a heightened expectation that the person on the other end will be able to address needs quickly.
To deliver a great CX, leaders must foster a culture where contact center team members understand and empathize with the objectives and outcomes of the CX strategy.
How do companies effectively instill the values of understanding and empathy among contact center team members? Organizations face the difficult challenge of rolling out change to a dynamic contact center workforce and keeping team members engaged—all while managing cost pressures to keep them focused on live customer interactions. So how do organizations adequately prepare their team members for change? We’ve identified five critical considerations for rolling out change in a contact center:
1. Communicate the purpose
As we introduced in our previous blog post, defining a compelling purpose for CX change is critical to getting contact center team members to buy into change. Paint a picture of the future state by using relatable personas to illustrate how customer interactions will look and feel in the future. For example, create a character based on a typical customer profile and show how they interact with new technology or processes – bring the purpose to life!
2. Understand the audience
Craft a clear, compelling story for team members by articulating what’s in it for them and keeping communications relatable, concise, and in plain English. Identify champions within each office or business area to vet ideas and determine what will resonate with their peers.
3. Capture attention with creativity
Articulate the vision on large-scale banners in common areas or distribute smaller, desk-side reference guides. Don’t be afraid to try video communications, including animated story boards that shows customer and team member persona interactions. Consider taking an internal marketing approach to this effort. Maintain consistency in visual themes and messaging to maximize the impact of the communications.
4. Focus on changing behaviors
Help team members understand how they can change their own behaviors to support the change. This is a great opportunity to engage leadership during team huddles and town hall meetings. Hearing from leaders helps reinforce the messages and improves the likelihood of success.
5. Measure adoption
Only 25 percent of changes achieve their long-term objectives, so it’s important to keep a pulse on your progress. Arm your contact center managers and leaders with data and insights so they can understand which team members need help changing their behavior. Make it fun by launching challenges or competitions to drive adoption and encourage the right behavior.
We recently helped a Fortune 100 financial services company make these considerations actionable. The organization launched a large-scale CX transformation initiative in its largest contact center, resulting in significant day-to-day changes for contact center team members. North Highland designed and deployed a creative engagement campaign, incorporating both digital (videos, newsletters) and analog (large-scale banners, memo boards in common areas) communication vehicles, all leveraging a consistent visual theme and personas. Throughout the initiative, the North Highland team engaged internal stakeholders for feedback on the strength of the program’s change communication and adoption efforts, which allowed us to tailor subsequent communications. We heard:
“All communications need to be concise and to-the-point” – In subsequent banners, we reduced the amount of text and more clearly aligned the story to the program’s goals.
“Address frustrations that [team members] experience day-to-day” – We developed an animated story board to acknowledge the realities of an CX Transformation within a contact center and thank team members for their engagement.
“Keep communications fresh” – We removed existing printed communications prior to each new launch so that team members experienced big reveals of the new content!
The company’s change journey is still underway, but the framework is in place for authentic, ongoing engagement.
This post is the third in a series that will highlight innovative practices to unlock the full value of transformative contact center initiatives—focusing on making contact center transformation sustainable, resilient, authentic, and actionable. Parts one and two covered CX-led contact center change. In the next post, we will discuss the emergence of Artificial Intelligence and robotics and the implications these disruptive forces have in the contact center.