How clear is your strategy for developing High performance culture and great customer experience?
What is a high-performance culture anyway? How do you know when you have it nailed on?
This was a question I posed in a recent poll on social media and it’s a question we were probably asking of ourselves pre-pandemic and now as we move slowly into a post pandemic era with a new operating model this poses two questions:
- What do we need to do as an organisation to support the cultural shift from 100% office based to now a more distant and remote workforce?
2. How do we continue to drive great performance and deliver amazing customer experiences supporting people from a distance?
We have been thrust into cloud based world and strategies may have changed and been updated post pandemic but it doesn’t mean that they are fully formed and that we have the answers to all of the questions.
Organisations have had to adapt and find new ways of working and culture are shifting from office based on site engagement to a significant swing to remote working environments so this means your culture will shift, how we control, that shift is down to us as leaders.
Ultimately, it’s all about perspective, there sometimes feels like lots of ways to get it wrong and few ways to get it right but what I’ve learnt over the last 18 months is that we aren’t in this alone and it’s good to share answers and thoughts to these questions with the wider Contact Centre Community.
To help tackle some of the challenges the new operating model presents I spoke with Andrew Hall, who is the MD of Customer Solutions at Webhelp, one of the largest outsourcers in the UK, and I’ll be sharing some of Andrews insights on how WebHelp tackle culture as we go. There are 5 topics we touched on to help organisations consider what makes a High-performance culture and these are summarised below as headlines:
1. Think Human
2. Create your WOW
3. People 1st supported by technology
4. Align organisational design around CX
5. Build communication waterfalls across your organisation
In this article we delve deeper into what some of these mean and how they impact culture in the contact centre, let look at the first one “Think Human” a top down approach to breathing positive culture into your organisation, often we can fall into the trap of becoming too “corporate”, towing the party line and putting the needs of the business ahead of the needs of our people.
Understanding that your people are more than the sum of their working parts, not just a number and not just a part of the profit centre allows us to see through their eyes so adopting a culture which focus’ on THINK HUMAN principles helps you look at your communications and your values as a business with a human lens rather than a profit first approach.
Of course, we aren’t all wired that way, sometimes it’s hard to tap into that people first mentality when calls are queuing and demand is through the roof, so we pull all holidays and reduce off the phone activity and put the needs of customers first, but what about the needs of our teams?
This brings us to the question of culture, and should our culture be defined by our customer metrics or by our people metrics, a question for another blog perhaps but we do have to ask ourselves how much do we understand what the culture already is in the contact centre and how would our people describe it?
So, pens at the ready for your first piece of homework, go and survey your team and ask this question:
“What words would you use to describe the culture in our contact centre?”
You should have a good volume of words that you can create a lovely word cloud from, the larger the word the more times it was used, any surprises in what you see?
So, the question today is what can we do to influence the culture in our contact centre, and if you have great culture how are you going to maintain it? What’s working well and where can you improve?
Andrew Hall, shared his views with me on how they create a positive culture in Webhelp, we’ve already touched on one which was THINK HUMAN but he also shared with me a great concept which was create your WOW, this stands for Ways of working.
Sounds simple, but why are these important?
Well, setting clear expectations for everyone allows everyone to understand what’s important and what the organisation stands for, and their part in that organisation, which helps people connect to a wider purpose then “Just” a Call centre agent or “Just” a claims handler. Andrew talks about aligning the Organisational design around the customer experience and fully aligning this across the organisation and not just the contact centre, this creates a great way of working and means everyone is pulling in the same direction – we are all the sum of our parts and each role has an integral part to play in delivering a great customer Experience.
I’d invite you to think about what your WOW’s are and how you make them cut across the whole of your organisation?
Two other areas we touched on which are important in the formation of a great culture; how you communicate within your organisation.
How often has information hit one level or one team and then ground to a halt?
Why is it one message lands well with one team but doesn’t with the another?
The flow of information in the contact centre can be important as it can impact what we do and how we deliver service to our customers and there is nothing more frustrating than agents finding out process or ways of working through failure, either failure in your QA process or failure from unhappy and dissatisfied customers, so the flow of information and the clarity and consistency of information is crucial in building positive culture.
Delivering bad news doesn’t mean you will instantly have bad culture, but no news doesn’t always mean good news! Lack of communication limits the flow of two-way dialogue, if the information hasn’t been relayed then I don’t have a voice! Creating open dialogue and two-way communication allows for a highway of information exchanges, so take a look at what Andrew refers to as your communication waterfalls, where does information need to go and how do we get it there – have you set up an effective waterfall communication cascade?
Andrew’s advice is echoed similarly by Sensée CEO Mark Walton, who talked about in one of the Contact centre network events about how you build great culture with communication and he used the phrase “Over Compensate and Over communicate” – This resonates as you can always dial back information from those that don’t want it, but if you hold back entirely then people can’t comment on things they don’t know which results in communication blockages and inconsistent practices.
So, the key takeaways from this article are talk to people in simple, relatable terms and think about how you want to be communicated to before you act, THINK HUMAN.
Define your ways of working, build those contracts and centre your Organisational design across all levels of the business, CX isn’t just the job of the Contact Centre.
Lastly, but importantly, control the flow, the clarity, and the consistency of information you give to your people, by overcompensating, over communicating and setting up effective communication waterfalls.
It’s as easy as that, but if you’d like some help and want to discuss more about how FAB solutions can support you in creating a High-Performance Culture then visit our website on www.fabsolutions.co.uk