Today you start your new job as the manager of your contact center. Most likely, you’ve risen through the ranks of supervisor and agent; maybe even in this center. Nervousness and excitement fill the air. Your boss has faith in your abilities and you are appreciated and a valued member of the team. These are great feelings, but I suspect there is also some stress and worry mixed in there. You have accepted a new job and along with that comes difficult tasks and requirements that are different than what you have been doing.
I want you to succeed. Running a contact center is a terrific challenge. And If I were you, this is what I would do this week:
- Learn about and get access to the data that is available – Each of the functional systems in your center should have reporting capabilities. Find out what is available from each system. Determine how well they work with each other and from whom and how long it takes to get the different data points. Systems that will provide highly useful information are the ACD/IVR system, WFM, Knowledge Mgmt, QM, and your CRM.
- Ask strategic questions – Find out what the center is currently rated on, and how well you are doing. Are you a cost center or are you expected to increase sales? Are any major changes in company strategy underway? Do you assist in marketing campaigns? Try to get in front of every executive or peer and ask: What would be the one thing the contact center could do to help you?
- Understand how your customers contact you – Make sure to understand every way a customer communicates with your center. Then, get to know the costs associated with each contact method. Look across the entire workflow to make sure you don’t miss the less obvious. (i.e. The 4 hours each week that one agent spends on sorting mail; or the receptionist that transfers calls incorrectly to a supervisor.)
- Determine “what else” you are responsible for – By that I mean: What does your center do daily, monthly or even annually, that are functions outside of handling customer contacts? You are tasked with running the contact center, keeping costs down, and keeping customer satisfaction high. Agents need schedules and training and quality standards need to be met. To succeed at your job you need to understand all of the things that affect it.
- Make a plan to improve – After evaluating the data, and gaining an understanding of the center as it is today, the most valuable thing you can do is come up with a plan for what you are going to improve. Make a plan that focuses on your goals, and leads your center to success through measureable improvement. The first 90 days of your job are critical. Don’t settle for maintaining the status quo even if the center is doing well. Outline what success looks like and keep it somewhere you can review weekly.