Monday, 18 September 2017

Customer Service – A Leadership Problem

Written by
Brian Bannatyne

I was talking the other day to an influential person in our industry about Kura and our software business, Inisoft. I mentioned why we are in business and our aspirational Vision to one day be recognised as Unrivalled in Developing People. Whilst they showed some level of interest, their feedback was very clear: “You see the thing is, Brian, there are two things you need to do in outsourcing: keep your clients happy and your costs low.”

Now I’m all for client satisfaction and we certainly need to be efficient, but surely there is a better way to go about things than what you see in many businesses across our industry: poor rates of staff retention, high levels of absence and low levels of overall engagement. And when people look for the reasons why these problems exist, they look to our customer-facing people and ask why do people leave, why don’t they turn up for work, and when they do why aren’t they motivated to the levels we expect?

People are looking in the wrong place. Poor employee engagement is firstly a Leadership problem, not an Advisor problem.

Have we as leaders created environments where our people can be successful? Have we given our people the right things to focus on with targets that are challenging but achievable? Have we given our people the training that they need, on systems that replicate what they will experience on the floor? Do they have the right tools to do the job? Do they have access to the levers to solve customer problems? Do they have good managers who are interested in them as individuals and who spend nearly all of their time coaching their people rather than pivoting spreadsheets? Have they given their managers the skills to help them develop their people? Have Leaders created a culture where people can be themselves, say what they are thinking and be part of the solution to the problems they experience rather than being the problem? Is it a culture where people feel part of something?

How many leaders feel good about their answers to these questions? At Kura and Inisoft, although we experience many of the challenges identified above, we are working hard to create a culture where our people can grow, develop and be successful. This is our primary focus.

We are interested in getting feedback on this and so have teamed up with Contact Centre Babel and the CCA in a two-phased research approach. Our first research piece with Contact Centre Babel puts these questions to the industry leaders to understand what their view on our industry is and what they’re doing to address this. In contrast, our second phase to this research is with the CCA. We’ve teamed up once again with the CCA to put the same questions directly to the frontline advisors to understand their challenges and constraints in this sector.

We’ll review both sets of results and share the output of them with you in the coming weeks – I’m sure some of the results will be interesting! If you’re interested in receiving a copy of these reports when they become available, please register your interest here.

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