I just returned from a large Call Center Conference and many of the breakout sessions discussed the need for businesses to focus on “The Voice of the Customer”.
This seems to be the new buzz phrase and I heard many different ideas on how a company can achieve this.
1. Utilizing Social Media to monitor what your customers are saying about your company or your products.
2. Listening to recorded calls, hearing where customers are interrupting your agents in order to adjust your presentations thus making them more effective.
3. Distributing post interaction surveys to customers for comments on their experience, finding out what is important to customers so you can make adjustments as needed.
These three points are very important for companies doing business today and need to be implemented as soon as possible. I have seen and read about many companies that are working feverishly to install this new mechanism and revise their employee training in order to keep ahead of their competition.
Another area where companies need to use this same laser focus is what I will call “The Voice of The Employee”. Creating a system for feedback in order to listen and get feedback from your employees.
Front line employees and supervisors are a wealth of knowledge in a Call Center or any business, and it would increase management’s effectiveness by asking them what is going on during their day-to-day work process.
For example: When you are creating and instituting a new procedure, you have all good intentions that this new system will be helpful to your staff. If you want it to be really successful, you need to encourage those who are utilizing the new process to offer comments and have input on what works or not.
What sounds good in the “Ivory Tower” of corporate may not in fact be what works on the front lines.
In your call center, is there a flow of information up the chain as easily as down the chain? Do you and your managers look at your team as a source of information and ideas, or just those who execute their job?
Now here is the tricky part. Employees need constant encouragement to offer input on a daily basis. I am sure you and others have said,“I have an open door policy” but do you go out of your way to get the feedback you need? Waiting for your team to come to you, just because you said they could, will never create an open flow of dialogue from your staff. Most employees will not give input to management because they do not want to be seen as rocking the boat.
Here are ways to get employee feedback:
1. Before you have a meeting, send an email letting them know you will be asking for feedback.
2. In more casual settings, (grabbing coffee, meeting in the hall, heading in or out of the building) ask them one question about how the new process is working. Remember to be specific and ask only one thing.
3. Repeat one person’s feedback to others. This shows that you listen and are really looking to present all feedback for the team to review.
Going out of your way to create an environment where input is expected in order to improve a process, even if it is contrary to management’s original position is the basis of creating a strong foundation.
Let me know your thoughts.
Improved Performance Solutions is a management consulting firm that specializes in helping organizations improve their profits through streamlining processes and increasing production from their employees.