Strategic Leadership Practices for your Call Center 

by Cynthia Currie, President of Flame On Solutions; Email cynthiacurrie@telus.net

The “Call” is out for leaders who can make it happen!

It is an organization’s leaders that translate vision and purpose into reality.

In today’s complex world, the stakes are high, events shift and change an organization’s landscape rapidly.  Intense competition and volatility, new technologies, soaring customer expectations and a diverse workforce are impacting organizations everywhere.  In an effort to survive, many organizations are refocusing their efforts on the voice of the customer, turning up the heat on performance and challenging traditional organizational systems and core processes.  Major changes are necessary and more change demands more leadership.

In today’s business climate, everyone is faced with achieving more with less.  Good enough is no longer good enough to be successful.  You as a leader, are challenged to create a high achieving climate, to take charge, set ambitious goals, obtain higher levels of performance from agents and to create a work environment geared to high achievement through alignment of action and people. Alignment involves comprehension and consistency between words and actions.  Leadership is action, not a position or title.

In order to turn great ideas into great accomplishments; you must be able to build commitment and support. Leaders provide focus, involve others and build commitment by providing a sense of ownership.

Building commitment for the vision includes building trust that results in positive employee morale, team spirit, improved output and sense of direction.

What is your organization’s vision statement?

Do you, as the leader of your Call Center talk about your organization’s vision? Visions paint a picture of the desired future, they describe a challenging result and express what you and others will create. Is your Call Center mission and goals linked with the vision, values and strategies of the organization? Are you able to interpret and communicate in concrete terms the strategic plan so that each individual and team in your area of responsibility has a common and shared understanding of how they contribute by what they accomplish to the goals and purpose of the Call Center and organization’s competitive strategy?

The relationship between leadership, communication skills and sensitivity to people are co-dependent.  Everything we do depends on the successful transfer of meaning from one to another.

Communication plays a pivotal role in individual, team, and organization performance.  To be a successful leader, you must interact with people in a way that enables you to be very influential, trusted and credible. If you’re going to provide effective leadership to others, you need to coach them with passion. 

Coaching, feedback and role modelling are important aspects of your role which assist in agent professional growth and self-esteem.

You need to appeal to their needs, values and emotions

People are motivated in being part of a higher cause or purpose that helps them feel they are making a difference.   Motivation and inspiration energize people by satisfying human needs for achievements, a sense of belonging, recognition, and a feeling of control over one’s life.  Leaders stress the value and importance of work their Reps are performing and involve people to decide how to achieve the Call Center’s and organization’s vision.  Involvement provides Reps a sense of control.     

 Support, recognize and reward behaviors you endorse which focus Reps on the company’s desired direction and role model. Departmental regulations and procedures are fine, but company culture provides a stronger set of guidelines for encouraging agents to behave the way you think they should.

Leverage organization and agent events and activities to reinforce attitudes and behavior you want to promote.  

Recognition and rewarding success gives agents a sense of accomplishment and also makes them feel like they belong to an organization that cares about them.

As a leader, do you clearly articulate roles, goals and expectations?

If rep behavior is based on a set of shared beliefs, you can always count on people to do the right thing in any customer interaction.   

Employees deserve to know what is expected of them, when it is expected and how well it is expected.  What you do and expect from your people will have a significant effect on the success or the department and the organization

There is a relationship between employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction and profitability.  These metrics should form part of your organizations key performance indicators and should be part of an on-going survey and measurement process. Achieving results is about stretching limits, challenging others to stretch theirs and building bridges to success.

The following questions may be used as topics for Rep or team  meetings: 

     What’s your competition doing?

     What do your customers expect from you?

     If your organization outsourced your Call Centre line(s) of business, would you expect more?

     What is your Call Center mission and the key strategic goals and actions for achieving and measuring it?

     Are your Reps motivated and inspired to achieve the organization’s vision and Call Center mission? 

     What are the key issues or needs facing your Reps?

     How will you answer these needs with both your mission statement and key strategies?

     Are your creating challenging opportunities to develop future leaders for your Call Centre and organization?

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If you want to know more about Cynthia Currie ( click here )

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