Dear Santa … 2016

Kathleen Peterson Rants & Raves by Kathleen Peterson

Dear “Business” Santa,

First and foremost, let me thank you for choosing me as your “wish gathering” representative. I have received many gift requests from my business friends and the time has come for me to share what 2016 Contact Center leaders are really asking Business Santa for this year. We hope it’s not too much!

Dear Santa, let’s begin with requests for tools and technology  …

  • “I’ve been very, very good this year … I assisted in creating a new quality program, a performance management program, and will be overhauling our training program … please, on Christmas morning I would love to have CTI and screen capture for QA under the tree.”
  • “How about a phone system that works?!” And this leader adds, “Or just get the bugs out!”
  • “I really want a real Call Center technology package that does it all in one solution.”
  • Please help me to “SUCCESSFULLY implement Email and Click to Chat.”
  • “I would like a seat at the table when IT and Marketing plan and prepare for events so that I can ensure the Contact Center is prepared and all teams meet our goals.”
  • And from one of our Healthcare leaders, “… a more robust answering service system that does what it says it’s supposed to do.”
  • “My wish is for working phone lines … and a positive motivated staff.”
  • “I need some new templates for tasks and activities in my Contact Center” and “newly designed policies and procedures.”
  • How about “an integrated single platform customer management tool?”
  • “We would like workforce management software and … a mild winter!” And what about a “workforce management person to do all the reporting and scheduling?”
  • “I want an Interactive Intelligence system to make my job and rest of the Call Center’s job easier.”
  • “All I want for Christmas is reliable products and tools.”

Several folks asked for a bit of magic via a magic wand, an elf, or even a wizard …

  • “I would like a magic wand that would give IT the ability to understand how their systems may best serve the Contact Center and proactively offer feature functionality based on the Contact Center’s needs.” (Radical concept … I know Santa, but one that we really need.)
  • “I would ask for a report wizard that lets me create and run reports that have only the information I need.”
  • “All I want for Christmas is a workforce wizard elf with magical powers that knows what I need – staffing or reporting or analysis – before I need it and when appropriate, before I even know that I need it, and shows up to tell me so, explaining everything in plain English.” (Whew)
  • “I would ask for a magical spreadsheet that educates non-Contact Center executives and colleagues on Contact Center fundamentals.” This leader goes on to say, “Let’s keep in mind it is less expensive to answer a call than not answer (customer loyalty/lifetime value; value of the lost call). So provide appropriate resources.”
  • “A crystal ball please.”

And here are some nice wishes about staffing …

  • “I wish I were not the only member of my team so I could take a day off!”
  • “More representatives for high volumes!”
  • All I want for Christmas is STAFF!”

Santa, many talked about their facilities and work environment  …

  • “My staff would love new chairs, a big display board, and new headsets.” (Santa, do you think they might be interested in my choke collar headset? This is one that if agents attempt to abandon their position during their shift, the cord simply wraps around their neck and bungees them back into their seat!)
  • “I am asking business Santa for lower cubicle walls. We have tall walls and this discourages teamwork across cubes and blocks a lot of the natural sunlight that comes in on our floor.”
  • “Stand up and sit down desks for everyone!”

And you may have guessed there were many wishes about people and communication …

  • “I would like to inspire the frontline to be better than they think they are, to always strive to do more than what they think they can do, to help them listen with compassion and empathy, to be creative in their thinking, and truly understand the impact they have on customers day in and day out.”
  • “I would ask Santa for ways to bring out the best in our staff – to recognize and appreciate each person’s strengths and to respect qualities that each of us brings as adults.”
  • “Business Santa, could you bring us more fair compensation for our frontline based on all they do to build the brand and lead to the generation of revenue?”
  • Santa (another request for a magic wand), “A magic wand that gives all the frontline agents the skills to empathize and collaborate with callers.”
  • While we’re talking about magic wands, “Could we give all business partners in an organization the ability to understand and support the benefits of Call Center centralization?” I guess Santa, we can call that a better approach to change management!
  • “A revamped/redesigned new hire training program” and “a turnover rate that is less than 20%.” Can you throw in “a Call Center-specific training team that does only training and staff that are fully trained?”
  • How about “increased engagement and decreased idle time?”
  • “We are giving out fleece blankets to everyone so that when it gets cold and the office temperature isn’t warm enough, they have a little lap blanket to help stay warm. They will be embroidered with their names as well.”
  • “I would like training on how to promote my Call Center within my institution. My former boss has tried it for year, but it is now my job!”
  • “As a Call Center Operations Manager, I would ask Santa to provide me with regular meetings with senior management and executive sponsors that truly listen when I tell them what resources I need to meet the goals they have set for the year.”
  • And Santa, (this is from me) how about new language to address Contact Center performance? For example, could we please dump the term “adherence” and replace it with Contribution to Capacity?

Santa, you may not be able to grant all the wishes of my friends. But there is some advice I wish you would give us all … “Nurture your gifts; do not squander them.”

My Best and Happy Holidays,