Staying on the Same Wavelength


Staying on the Same Wavelength

The idiom “on the same wavelength” conveys the idea of mutual understanding from a shared perspective and highlights the significance of harmony in viewpoints. Within the context of Contact Center leadership, achieving this unity of perspective can be akin to navigating a tempest of competing viewpoints. These can lead to potential friction and operational discord. In the August 2023 issue of Pipeline, my article Developing a Strategic Game Plan spotlighted executive, financial, and consumer perspectives related to strategy. Here, I propose the inclusion of the “operational perspective” to foster operational harmony.

“Know that your work speaks only to those on the same wavelength as you.” —Jean Cocteau, French Writer

I have spearheaded a consultancy focused on “operationalizing the Customer Experience” for several decades. I recognize the potency of adopting an operational perspective, particularly critical in managing growth and transformation. This perspective is future-oriented and serves as the conduit through which visionary objectives materialize into tangible outcomes. Various business units must work both individually and collectively to realize enterprise strategic goals. When cross-functional teams diverge, friction emerges and a host of challenges may follow.

Gaining an Operational Perspective

The term “operational” pertains to a process aimed at achieving specific results, while “perspective” refers to a point of view. Every department within an organization naturally possesses its own perspective. The essence of the operational perspective lies in its focus on activities and tasks essential for realizing strategic objectives. It assesses the existing operational infrastructure’s capability to support these objectives and offers recommendations for optimization.

Often, relationships among departments show that they are not on the same wavelength.

The initial step involves identifying the myriad perspectives impacting the Contact Center and evaluating the outcomes that result from the current relationship dynamics, from the C-Suite to the cubicles. It can be an eye-opening exercise to map out these interactions.

I have included an anonymized map from an e-commerce client engagement that highlights the numerous external and cross-functional perspectives influencing the Contact Center. This visual emphasizes the Contact Center’s role as an operational hub, where the efforts of various units can either converge harmoniously or collide disruptively in pursuit of enterprise objectives.

Perspectives Map

Constructing a “Perspectives Map” sheds light on the intricate dependencies Contact Center leaders must navigate to achieve their goals. Often, relationships among departments show that they are not on the same wavelength. Hence, contextualizing any operational assessment optimistically is crucial. Launching an operational optimization effort, rather than framing it as mere improvement, assessment, or audit, can garner consensus. Optimization perpetually remains a worthy pursuit. Additionally, as cross-functional partners rely on the Contact Center, any enhancement within the Center translates into improvements for all parties involved. It is critical to direct focus toward the future and its potential; acknowledge the constant changes in technology, culture, and operations; and call for a continuous evaluation of operational readiness.

A primary benefit of embracing an operational perspective is an increased likelihood of fulfilling Contact Center needs. Understanding the Center’s role in fulfilling the needs of others becomes evident through the lens of operational optimization. Consider this … in order to meet Contact Center needs, you must be able to understand the need that the Contact Center fulfills for others. This is what you gain when an operational optimization is undertaken. The effort discloses the contributing factors and responsible parties to deliver on outcomes.

The Value of “Multi-Perspectivity”

It may seem that gaining multiple perspectives is overwhelming, especially if these have been previously neglected. If it is time to shift the narrative, an operational focus is a good place to begin. Broadcasting the operational optimization effort is important to gaining cross-functional support. It is best when senior level executives initiate the effort and support it by providing strategic governance.

A primary benefit of embracing an operational perspective is an increased likelihood of fulfilling Contact Center needs.

It is important to understand another’s perspective when operational dependencies exist. An optimization effort creates a forum to come together and discuss (first and foremost) the Customer Experience and other strategic goals that are shared and where dependencies exist!

When we can see ourselves with shared goals and clear dependencies, friction is removed from the relationship and the process benefits all involved. When the Contact Center aligns its needs with those of other departments, mutual rewards abound.

The real beauty of an operational perspective lies in its foundation on the realities of the present state.

As the effort gains momentum, the project team defines the key focus areas, outlines the departments to be included, establishes timelines, and devises interview guides for consistency.

Operational Perspective Analysis

The chart below illustrates sample focus areas and information to yield for an Operational Perspective Analysis. Its objective is to gauge how effectively current operational conditions support the Customer Experience and other strategic goals. Identified gaps prompt joint deliberations and recommendations to be presented for governance consideration.

Perspectives Map

The Contact Center operates within a cause-and-effect environment that is characterized by sometimes imperceptible dependencies. The optimization effort serves to expose gaps and provide opportunities for improvement. Leaders must consider that recommendations may necessitate substantial operational or organizational changes to enhance processes, management, or overall experience. When considering recommendations, options such as standardization, centralization, reorganization, or technology optimization must be included and thoroughly explored.

The real beauty of an operational perspective lies in its foundation on the realities of the present state. It enables a vantage point that transcends internal conflicts that often impede operational excellence. It also allows for a comprehensive examination of activities, tasks, processes, technologies, organizational models, and other contributory factors affecting outcomes.

Embracing the operational perspective could indeed mark a profound way to commence the new year in which all are “on the same wavelength.”

SOURCEContact Center Pipeline December 2023
Kathleen Peterson
Kathleen M. Peterson is the Founder and Chief Vision Officer of PowerHouse Consulting. Kathleen is an acclaimed Contact Center consultant and recognized industry visionary. She offers a refreshing and sometimes challenging philosophy to positioning the Contact Center as the true lifeline of the enterprise—believing that vision, brand, leadership and execution combine to deliver a powerful customer experience. Kathleen has emerged as one of the most sought-after experts and consulting partner in the field of customer experience working with the world’s top customer-focused companies, and is published widely in the most prestigious industry journals in the U.S. and abroad. As a featured speaker at conferences and Fortune 500 companies, she has shared her humor, knowledge, and experience across four continents, including Contact Center conference keynotes in the United States, London, Paris, Turkey, Dubai, and Hong Kong. Kathleen also served as Conference Chair for the North American Conference on Customer Service Management.