Common sense contact center performance practices in a once in a lifetime crisis

Photographer Liam Henry
Photographer Liam Henry

As a seasoned contact manager I survived and thrived during the implementation of large systems within utilities and health plans in the Netherlands.

In scope during the most recent implementations were approximately 2.000.0000 till 4.000.000 customers.

Using a straight performance management approach one can manage “the once in a lifetime crise – and believe me they do – occur.

What are my lessons learned:


Be straight: it is an issue or not. In viewing that issue or problem, first accept or recognize that conditions are happening that require attention. And if the issue does not deserve your attention, indeed do not start reflecting or acting.


By defining your issues succintly, give those issues boundaries within which to obtain desired outcomes. Often know in the project managers industry as scope of work, showing the magnitude and type. And indeed, out of scope, out of your mind.

Baselined targets

Measuring progress for the solution implementation verifying whether the remedy has made significant improvement or changes. Baseline the targeted results in advance (I use a term of 6 weeks till 20 weeks). And measure consistently.

Processes and systems

Improve process and systems.  One of the major insights of TQM in the 1980’s was the root cause is the organization for 80% (sometimes I say that is the management).  Recent research from e.g. TARP refines this and states that about 60% is about processes and systems, 20% staff and 20% customers. And although operations is in regular circumstances about people, in a crisis is the process and systems that must be changed.

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Connect people

Analyze the situation with as many people as possible. Find remedies to take corrective action introducing new steps to modify or enhance processes to solve the issues or problems at hand.

In analyzing the situation find the remedies in the outer world. Do not believe that the best knowledge is available within your company (or even more worse only in your office room).


Control any event – estimated by you to be relevant – and forget all events (including company meetings) that you estimate to be irrelevant. Control the events occuring so that unbiased results will take place that work to make your service happen according to the baselined targets (and better, faster and cheaper)


Remember, it is a once in a life time customer contact center crisis. Celebrate your successes with the entire operation or organization.

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