An Advice Column for Contact Center Managers
Do your reps seem out of sorts or disengaged with their work? You’re not alone. In this Challenge Solved, Dina Vance, Ulysses’ Senior Vice President and Managing Director, North American Operations, addresses a reader question that’s top of mind for many contact center executives today.
Have your question answered in an upcoming Challenge Solved advice column. Email your question to: ChallengeSolved@ulysseslearning.com
Q: We’ve been working hard to get our reps energized about finishing this year strong and getting ready for 2022. But it seems like their hearts aren’t in it and their enthusiasm for their work has lessened and noticeably so. We ask for their feedback and they tell us “Everything is okay.” We’re perplexed—we’ve got great managers and team members, but it just seems like something is off. Any suggestions?
Our featured expert for this month’s question is:
Senior Vice President, Managing Director of North American Operations at Ulysses Learning
A: I really appreciate your question because I know you are not alone in your concerns. Over the past several weeks I’ve heard our clients share similar experiences and I’ve come to this conclusion: the pandemic has affected us all in ways we’re first now experiencing, and we need to address this before it further disrupts our teams and companies.
The sad fact is your team members are reaching a breaking point after more than a year living with COVID-19. Think about it, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted literally every aspect of our life, from parenting and childcare to leisure and job security. And stress, as we all know, accumulates over time, and when it’s not resolved, it builds up and shows up everywhere…especially at work.
According to a recent article by Monica Torres at the Huffington Post and the slew of licensed psychologists she interviewed, here’s how stress is showing up for most of us in our careers. You may very well: 1) have no motivation left to do your job; 2) feel resentful when others act like it’s business as usual; 3) feel anxiety about returning to the office; 4) are seriously considering a job switch; and 5) view your career totally differently now.
What struck me most is that even if we experienced just one of these pandemic-related effects, it can be enough to derail our careers…and wreak havoc in our contact centers.
So, what can we do about it? We can all benefit from a shift in mindset, moving from surviving to thriving once again.
Yes, it’s time to return to excellence!
Clearly, there are thousands of ways we can stage a comeback and create thriving organizations filled with engaged, positive, and productive people. Yet I encourage you to focus on and implement just a few, simple yet foundational activities. Here’s one activity to consider and in my next article I’ll share another idea. In the meantime, give this activity a try!
Activity #1: Play B-I-N-G-O
Yes, you read that correctly. You can help your contact center reps get excited about a return to excellence with one of the most popular games of all time—B-I-N-G-O. (For you history buffs out there, the game is estimated to be over 490 years old, originating as a lottery game in Italy, and is still as popular as it was in its early days.)
Here’s a bit of additional backstory for you as well. I received this idea from a friend of mine who is leading a large team at Amazon. Her units’ productivity, customer service, and employee engagement metrics were (for lack of a more descriptive word) “tanking,” even though employee wages and benefits were dramatically rising. She noted that she felt her team members were seemingly depressed and disconnected. It was an effort for them to get dressed and go to work.
She activated an initiative so that each day when a team member came into work, they would get a B-I-N-G-O card, which, once completed, could be entered into a drawing each Friday to win prizes (in her case it was returned Amazon merchandise). For example, if an employee came to work for four days in a given week, they’d have four chances to win.
There are two important logistical details I want to share with you.
Rather than numbers on the B-I-N-G-O card, the cards are filled with small activities—both of a personal and a professional nature. For example, I just worked with a client to launch a B-I-N-G-O initiative in their contact center, and we included activities such as “got up and got dressed today” “showered” “said a kind word to a friend” “encouraged someone” “took ownership for an issue” as well as a handful of productivity-related activities such as “offered a solution to ensure FCR”.
Supervisors do not check whether the activities are actually completed. Employees self-monitor their own B-I-N-G-O cards, allowing supervisors to address other responsibilities. As my Amazon colleague shared, “It really doesn’t matter if people achieve a legitimate B-I-N-G-O or not. Just by playing the game, they build awareness of what’s expected of them and how it helps them ‘win’ personally and professionally.”
What I like about this fun initiative is that it’s just that—fun—and it gently reconnects team members to those activities that enrich their experience not just at work but in life. Given what we’ve all gone through, something as simple and comforting as a well-loved game may be exactly what’s needed most…for now.
And please let me know if you launched this activity in your contact center and what your team experienced. And thank you again for your super question.
Learn more. Contact us or reach out to your consultant today!
More on this month’s featured expert…
Senior Vice President, Managing Director of North American Operations
In her current capacity with Ulysses Learning, Dina is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company and also serves as the chief client relationship executive, working with Fortune 100 clients and other progressive organizations to redefine the way customers are cared for. Under her leadership, Ulysses has become well known for its work in transforming customer service, sales and coaching cultures through the development of emotional intelligence or “EQ,” enabling reps to confidently, consistently and expertly handle every call. The company has special expertise in serving the insurance, utilities and financial services industries.
Before joining Ulysses in 1999, Dina was responsible for the ground-level startup of two contact centers which led to her accepting a role as call center lead consultant and division manager for an international bank training organization.
Dina can be reached on LinkedIn or at firstname.lastname@example.org; for more details on Ulysses Learning visit www.ulysseslearning.com.
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Managers looking for answers to their toughest contact center challenges are encouraged to Email their challenges to: ChallengeSolved@ulysseslearning.com
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Challenge Solved! is sponsored by:
Ulysses Learning was founded in 1995 as a joint venture with Northwestern University’s world renown Learning Sciences department. Since then, Ulysses continued focus on research and development brings clients new, innovative enhancements to its industry-leading training and performance improvement solutions. Contact centers achieve profound business results, ahead of schedule, with Ulysses Learnings’ artful blend of patented simulation-based e-learning, facilitated exercises, coaching, and tools, that redefine the way customers are cared for and transform customer service, sales, and coaching cultures. Ulysses has one of the only training systems proven to build EQ@Work, enabling reps to develop skills to empathize with others, build stronger customer bonds, and improve team dynamics with confidence, consistency, and excellence.
Ulysses Learning is a multi-year recipient of the Gold Stevie© Award for best contact center customer service training.
Begin your contact center transformation now. Phone 800-662-4066 or visit www.ulysseslearning.com to get started.