An Advice Column for Contact Center Managers
At Ulysses Learning, we are constantly researching ways to ensure our solutions are relevant to what is happening in the marketplace. We were recently asked to share our thoughts on this topic at a Client Forum. Here, with a recap from that meeting is Dina Vance, Ulysses’ Senior Vice President and Managing Director, North American Operations.
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Q: What’s on the horizon in terms of training and performance improvement recommendations for our contact center teams?
Our featured expert for this month’s question is:
Senior Vice President, Managing Director of North American Operations at Ulysses Learning
A: Given the many rapid advancements in AI and other contact center technologies impacting our businesses, along with the increasingly complex world in which we operate, our team of researchers and experts have been looking very closely at ever evolving customer expectations to determine how best we can continue our work to improve the customer experience.
We’ve uncovered three important findings.
FINDING #1: CONTACT CENTERS NOW EXPERIENCE A HIGHER PERCENTAGE OF “SENSITVE” OR “EMOTIONALLY CHARGED” CALLS.
#1 Contact centers now experience a higher percentage of “sensitive” or “emotionally charged” calls. These calls are requiring a different level of finesse when it comes to active listening, taking ownership, caring enough to ask the question behind the question, and thinking of solutions that add value. Research shows the steps that make up The Conversation Strategy are still relevant for today’s calls; however, the key is to ensure reps possess the ability to “flex” to meet the customer where they are in the conversation flow. This slight adjustment has a positive effect on both the customer experience and your performance measures. We’d love to show you how you, too, can add this element of “flex” to your process, which also helps your team feel even more empowered and excited about their work.
FINDING #2: CERTAIN REPS FIND IT EASIER
TO TRANSFORM CALL STRATEGIES INTO THEIR OWN EXPRESSION OF SERVICE EXCELLENCE.
#2 Certain contact center representatives find it easier to transform the call strategies into their own expression of service excellence, activating what we call EQ@Work or Judgment@Work. There are several factors that come into play, with the more prevalent being the representative’s: experience level, age, attitude, and performance level. While emotional intelligence (EQ) comes naturally to some, we found that certain contact center representatives benefitted from an alternative approach to help build confidence in using the strategies. We have spent the past two years testing this approach of infusing EQ into the application of the eight-step Conversation Strategy with developmental partners, and the outcomes have showed positive results with improved CSAT and FCR. For those reps needing an EQ boost, the additional learning through targeted “campaigns” helps make it even easier and more enjoyable for them to personalize and activate the strategies in a way that makes sense to the rep. In these uncertain times, the best CSRs are those who “care” about doing a good job and we would love to help each CSR find their passion for being of service through their contact center work.
FINDING #3: CONTACT CENTERS WITH
LEADERSHIP-LED APPROACHES TO QUALITY OUTPERFORM OTHERS.
#3 Contact centers that have adopted a strategic, leadership led approach to monitoring and measuring the customer experience, where the quality team supported their vision (versus a quality-led approach) reported higher levels of both customer AND employee satisfaction. Overall, the quality process was more organic and less formulaic, without adversely impacting call times. Additionally, where it has made sense for our clients, we’ve had recent success in helping them implement a leadership-led approach by making just a couple shifts in the front end of their quality process. The result was a win-win win for contact center managers, quality team members, and reps. We strongly advocate a leadership led/quality support business model to drive lasting results.
So, what did these findings tell us?
Some, but not all of you, may benefit from this research and the adjustments we are recommending. To determine if your contact center may benefit, let’s put aside some time for a discussion. To get started or learn more, please contact your Ulysses Learning performance consultant or contact me directly.
Yes, today’s business environment can be challenging but here’s what I know to be true. If there is a segment of business that is best suited to meet the demands of the times, it has always been and will continue to be those closest to the customer—and that’s YOU and your business! Contact centers are awesome for all the right reasons and we’re truly honored to continue to be your partner during this next exciting phase of the contact center evolution.
Learn more. Contact us or reach out to your consultant today!
About Dina Vance
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.
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.