What an operational manager expects from 2010

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What to expect in 2010 or what are my primary concerns as a manager of a contact center operation?

In this blog I promote the concept of collaboration and innovation as the only way out of this crisis.

Embracing the concept of innovation, as an operational manager I generally think about technology – new and beneficial systems or applications that are introduced into our operating environment.

As a Contact center managers in health insurance with tight budgets, I can not depend on vendors to deliver continuously improved technology.

For many of my peers in the Dutch contact center industry it seems to be the only effective way to reduce their budget while improving the customer experience and service quality. So I assume that in this year we see many system enhancements find their way into Dutch contact centers, particularly emerging analytical solutions – speech and real-time analytics, customer experience analytics, desktop analytics and possibly even predictive analytics.

Technology was the Enabler

Technology was always critical enabler for contact centers; complex operating environments require systems to help them handle millions of yearly transactions. However, more and more my personal belief is that true innovation is driven by the changes that organizations make to their mission, culture and approach with regard to collaboration.

I expect 2010 to be the beginning of a major shift in the service world.

For the past ten years, the market has discussed the need for for technology and rigid process management.

In this decade contact centers leadership will transform into people motivators, exploiting and exploring the staff´s competences, capabilities and knowledge.  Up to now I have seen little movement in this direction besides some noteworthy initiaves  which often have varied in their commercial success.

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Managers Will Be Asked To Do More

It is a hard fact.

Due to the recession, even 2010 will be a tough year for the leadership of many contact centers.

Enterprises of all sizes will have to invest into the human resources to improve the customer services (and in the post-depression area a mediocre customer service will no longer be tolerated. And if it occurs, social media will amplify the bad experience).

As a result of an stringent budget discipline the operational management will focus on outliers. Agents that are not within the bandwidth requirements with regard to quality, costs and flexibility receive special attention and when necessary appropriate steps (if HR cooperates) will be undertaken.

The contact center is ideally positioned to identify opportunities as a result of the changing working force. The requirement of the Facebook Generation and the business requirements of the service organization have to be aligned.

The contact center leadership can take on a more prominent  active role with regard to talend management only if they are empowered by senior management and supported by HR .

The first step in this transition will be a change in annual goals, which will include assigning contact centers customer soft hr related.  If my contact centers are successful in achieving these goals in 2010, there will be no going back, even after the economy  recovers.  To adapt to the massive structural changes in the contact center environment, contact centers will have to make major changes in fundamental aspects of their culture, including goals, responsibilities, staff, training, rewards and recognition, key performance indicators,  people processes and hr/systems.

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