Top 5 Posts in November

Illustration by Eric Jackson

This month, it was all about the human element in the contact center. Our five most-read blog posts in November focused on people-centric topics like frontline motivation, mentoring, the supervisor’s role, communication skills and leadership development.

Surprising Ways to Motivate Your Agents
I love movies. So, I was thrilled to win movie tickets as part of a contact center sales campaign back when I was an agent. However, the coworker sitting next to me hated movies and was not motivated at all by this contest. Everyone is different. What motivates one person may demotivate another. I am all in favor of running call center contests and rotating prizes every week/month in an attempt to motivate people. However, people are driven by deeper motives than the opportunity to win a contest.

Growing Leaders: The New Age of Mentoring
Mentorship is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, thanks largely to millennials and social networking. Mentoring is actually an age-old development concept with references reaching back as far as Ancient Greece and Homer’s Odyssey. As a learning technique, it has lasted the test of time due primarily to its effectiveness. Millennials, in particular, value having a mentor to help them expand their leadership skills.

Findings from the Frontline Supervisor Survey
I’ve always maintained that the frontline supervisor is the most critical role in a contact center. They have a tremendous impact on agent satisfaction and engagement, and are close enough to the customers that they have a great feel for their perspectives. We rely on them to feed communication up to the executive ranks, and also look to them to serve as change agents when new processes, technology or leadership comes along.

Mastering the “Fine Art” of Conversation in a Digital World
The idiom “fine art” (first half of the 1800s) is defined in the “American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms” as “something requiring highly developed techniques and skills.” Conversation certainly qualifies as “fine art.” Unfortunately, it appears that the fine art of conversation is at risk in today’s digital world. I have been reading the book, “Reclaiming Conversation,” by Sherry Turkle, and it makes me think that contact center leaders are facing a new threat.

Growing Leaders: A New Approach to Learning & Development
Many of this industry’s most successful leaders started out on the phones… and yet, many call centers still suffer from a reputation for being a dead-end job. True, most centers operate within a flat organizational structure, which means limited management positions and high competition for promotions. But let’s face it, call centers have not been known to invest a lot in leadership development. Often, promotions are used to reward top-performing agents, who are then thrust into a new role without sufficient training and support to succeed in that position. Those that thrive are usually the ones who take the initiative to educate themselves.