NEEDED: A Daily Commitment to National Customer Service Week (what happens during the other 51 weeks?) by Barbara Porter, Senn Delaney

A call to action for all executives and leaders of customer service organizations

porter_barbara_lgThe most recent Gallup study of The State of the American Workplace estimated that disengaged employees wasted more than $500 billion in productivity in U.S. firms. The flip-side: firms with engaged workforces have 2.6 times the earnings per share growth rate compared to their industry counterparts.

With reports of the imminent shrinking and eventual demise of the customer service industry getting louder, many contact center executives and leaders are looking for ways to simultaneously improve the customer experience will delivering improved financial results.

From my experience as an entrepreneur and corporate executive leading customer experience and contact center organizations, the one element that most influences the ability to deliver sustained results is the culture you create for your organization to align employees, customers and business results.

Creating a culture that inspires individuals to contribute discretionary effort for your customers begins with leaders demonstrating discretionary effort to creating the environment for your employees to succeed as individuals, teams and as an organization. Knowing your employees and caring about their success and development is a daily commitment and goes beyond the focus, attention and appreciation that customer service people experience during National Customer Service Week.

One week is not enough to create sustainable engagement and results. Disrupt the disruption

Today, technology is at the intersection of industry status quo and disruption. Uber, Airbnb, FinTech are the most frequent examples of how technology has disrupted entire industries and marketplaces.   However, what is at the heart of technology disruption?   Usually, it is a poor experience that has been time consuming, frustrating and full of outdated processes.   Because of the repeated poor experience, people begin to think of ways to improve the experience and look for tools, platforms, technologies that can improve the experience for the customers.  contact-center

It is not the impact of technology or the speed of changing expectations that we have to worry about.   We have to worry about not taking action to solve our operational, reputational and cultural risks that are pervasive throughout many contact centers.

For those of us who depend on the contact center for our livelihood and who understand the strategic importance of our industry, now is the time to step up as a leader and create the culture that will be a foundation for employees, customers and all stakeholders to thrive.

The frontline employees in the contact center know and understand your customer experience because they interact with them every day. They also know the internal policies, processes, and systems that cause poor experiences and break down relationships. Engaging your frontline employees. Empower them to improve customer interactions. Doing so will improve the customer experience and deliver improved financial results.

National Customer Service Week is terrific. But it’s not enough! Don’t just use that week to celebrate your service professionals. Use it to launch real change in your contact center. Instead of waiting for the disruption to happen, we can “disrupt the disruption” by taking steps now to create the contact center of the future that works for everyone!

As a customer experience leader, Barbara has combined her experience as an entrepreneur and corporate executive in the energy industry to drive innovation and growth strategies for utilities. She has led development of energy related products and services portfolios to drive enhanced earnings.

A strategic, employee-centric leader, Barbara has developed and refined a model that begins with building an intentional culture that aligns business priorities with those of employees and customers. She has led teams, colleagues and clients to deliver superior performance that contributes to sustainable growth and bottom line results.

Barbara is a frequent speaker at industry forums all across the country. She believes in the positive impact that employee engagement can have on customer service, as well as the bottom line. She has published several articles for industry publications, including “Employee Engagement: Its Impact on Profitability and the Customer Experience.”

For more information regarding National Customer Service Week, visit the Official NCSW Website!

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