Regifting for 2018

FROM THE DECEMBER 2017 ISSUE

Regifting Contact Center Tips
Illustration by Joe Mortell for Contact Center Pipeline

Yet another year is coming to a close, and I can think of no better way to prepare for 2018 than with a round of regifting! This annual tradition here at the Agility Factor column has been a real boon to the industry over the years. We’ve cleaned out some of the biggest messes in our contact centers, from overgrown agent turnover to invalid performance objectives to canceled training sessions. It’s been a lot of heavy lifting, but our contact centers have been transformed from yesterday’s dark, hollow chambers to the enlightened hubs of joy we all covet today.

In researching our past achievements, though, I found that much of the focus was on the agent position. As I scanned the vast expanse of all our contact centers around the globe, I realized that our leadership teams needed some attention. So we have dedicated this round of regifting to fixes that will bring sunshine and warmth to those in leadership positions.

Meeting a Need

I pulled into the side lot where the management team usually parks, and the years of neglect were readily apparent. The parking lot was a minefield of potholes, so bad that I could barely make it to the door without turning an ankle. I crouched down to get a better look at one, and discovered that every useless meeting created its own pothole, with the power to suck in those that are even just marginally associated with the meeting topic. And the situation is only getting worse—as I stood there, another 7,000 potholes were created.

The impact on the management team is truly devastating. Instead of spending time doing actual work, these leaders spend all day trying to avoid potholes. It’s an impossible task—getting out of one simply opens you up to get sucked into another. And even though everyone who calls a meeting thinks it is really, really important, it turns out they are really, really wrong pretty much every time.

Believe me, folks, I tried to find a way to separate the truly valuable meetings from all the others, but it was impossible. So instead, I just hacked into everyone’s email and deleted all meetings for 2018. Then I reprogrammed all the different meeting notice applications being used in contact centers. I was going to delete them entirely, but then I realized that without meetings I would pretty much be out of business. And the heady position of Czar of Contact Center Regifting comes with certain perks. So now you will find that you can’t set up a meeting unless it involves an external contact center consultant. Because, as we all know, meetings with consultants are always wonderful.

Of course, I was now left with having to regift all 4.3 billion deleted meetings for 2018. Who could possibly want this many meetings? National Football League officials, that’s who! Why just make a good call in a timely manner when you could instead discuss it with 20 other people, waste a bunch of time, still get it wrong, and in so doing ruin the fan experience? I made a good cash deal on the meetings, then took the money and shorted the market for each of the 32 NFL teams. I figure by this time next year, the value of each team will be depleted enough that we will own the entire NFL. Since they mainly only work on Sundays, we can use all the owners, players, and officials to man the phones during peak traffic periods. I, for one, look forward to having Tom Brady help me with a password reset.

Thinning the Stacks

Once I got in the door, things were not much better. There were so many reports stacked up that I could barely make it back to the meeting room. And when I started asking questions like, “What are the top five contact reasons?”, no one was able to access a report to provide this valuable tidbit of insight. Despite all the time and money spent on things like BI systems and data warehouses, contact center leaders were gaining precious little knowledge from the reports. Fortunately, I was able to locate some agents on the floor that kept track of why people called using something called “paper and pencil.” Weird format, but apparently it is pretty cheap and it gave us what we needed.

So all the old reports needed regifting, and that was easy. Politicians always need some questionable data to back up their policies, so I sold half of the reports to one party and the other half to the other. You will know when it is being used when you hear them start their argument by saying, “According to our data…”

The Written Word

The wonderful people here at Contact Center Pipeline have allowed me to rant and rave in this column every month for the past eight years. So my final act of regifting is a real one. I want to thank Linda, Susan and the rest of the team at the Pipeline immensely for the honor, and give the space back to them so minds brighter than mine can fill it.

No, I am not leaving the industry. I will write the occasional column for Pipeline and will continue with speaking and training engagements. I’ll also be dedicating more time to my consulting work, focusing on strategic projects with contact center leaders as well as enhancing the many tools and models I build to improve forecasting, long-term modeling and skills-based routing outcomes.

And to those that have taken the time to read and converse with me about the column over the years, thank you. Writing can be both a challenge and a risk, but knowing that you can occasionally connect with good people and help them move forward makes it all worthwhile. Keep reading and progressing, and have a terrific 2018 and beyond!

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