A few months back, my team and I had a conversation with a brilliant author, Susanne Jacobs. Susanne recently published the book DRIVERS: Creating Trust and Motivation at Work. It compiles years of first-hand research and other data to delve into what motivates us as humans.
As it happens, we all have the same seven drivers that keep us engaged, productive, happy and safe at work and in life. And when one starts to slip, so do the rest. Susanne chatted with us on how it’s so important to be a continuous architect of the environment and the culture you want at work. And as I read DRIVERS, I found myself feverishly underlining quotes and phrases to sear them into my brain. The more I read, the more I felt the immense value Susanne’s findings could bring to the contact center.
So much of leading a team is how you build trust and motivation with each person. You could have the best ideas for improved performance, but if you don’t support your team your business will suffer.
Turns out, one of the leading risk factors to our happiness and engagement is change. That got me thinking, how you handle change when you implement new strategies in your contact center. On trend with our latest obsession, omnichannel, I started thinking through how you can keep agents involved, and support their drivers, as you plot your omnichannel strategy and revamp your customer experience.
Here are seven things you can do, recommended by Susanne, to ease the burden of change for your next omnichannel strategy. .
1. Your omnichannel strategy must start with an end goal.
“Teams, communities and groups work best when complementary skills, strengths and experience combine to deliver on a shared goal.”
When you craft your omnichannel strategy, start by setting an end goal. Do you want to deliver a seamless customer experience? Do you want to increase brand loyalty? How about fix gaps in your broken systems? Maybe, it’s all of the above. No matter your reason for fleshing out an omnichannel strategy, set a clear destination and intention for why you’re making changes in your contact center. Setting a common goal for your team rallies agents around a specific purpose, which spikes productivity, commitment and team morale.
2. Create a checklist for what you need to implement successful omnichannel.
“Despite expertise and experience, we can overlook the basics as pressure rises or we rely on autopilot. But rigorously, consciously applied checklists mitigate the risk of missing crucial yet seemingly obvious and thus forgettable tasks.”
Putting pen to paper and documenting your customer experience strategies is critical to success in the contact center. When all your visions and missions live in your brain only, you risk working in a vacuum. And, you risk missing crucial steps in plotting and implementing your strategies.
Build a list of criteria to accomplish your omnichannel goals. Working from the end goal you outlined in step one, what action items do you and your team need to knock out to reach that goal?
If you’re trying to connect all your data to inform customer conversations, criteria on your list might be:
- Invest in new systems that integrate with each other
- Sync reporting across all my channels
- Make data easily accessible by my agents
3. Add “eliminate silos” to your list of omnichannel criteria.
“Silos can appear on the same floor or with teams that sit within a yard of each other.”
Silos crop in business no matter your environment. In true omnichannel fashion, your systems have to work together to dissolve the silos that are so prominent in business. Even when we’re sitting less than 6 feet apart.
Eliminating disjointed technology in favor of an omnichannel strategy helps you piece together scattered customer data for a crystal-clear view of what your customers want. So, you can deliver on higher customer expectations and then prove the ROI of your contact center.
4. Center your omnichannel around better relationships and conversations.
“Businesses run on trusted relationships and their conversations.”
Your omnichannel systems help agents harvest the information they need, collecting context from every path of communication with your customer to power relationship-building conversations.
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Turns out, a friendly and knowledgeable service interaction has the power to save a lost customer relationship. Some 73% of customers fall in love with a brand and remain loyal because of friendly customer service reps. And, 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies who offer excellent customer service.
When your agents deliver seamless service, having positive conversations backed by context from your omnichannel systems, you build trust with your customers.
5. Get input from other departments.
“Bringing together individuals from across different specialisms rather than just tackling a problem within a team can add greater depth and perspective.”
Companies who don’t include their employees and frontline managers in digital transformation (also see: omnichannel strategy) projects only see a 3% success rate. Ouch.
Use your omnichannel strategy to bridge communication gaps between departments, so your entire company can collaborate to help customers. The more perspectives you have, the better chance you’ll build a cohesive customer journey that doesn’t miss crucial steps.
Work with your peer leaders to map out a customer journey across every touchpoint a customer has with your brand. Then, think through how your omnichannel systems can intertwine to share customer information, provide ample communication channels, and unify your data.
6. Involve your team in creating your omnichannel strategy.
“In the workplace, providing an environment of perceived choice, autonomy and control is a necessary function for high-performing teams.”
Similar to pulling in other departments for intel, you need to involve your agents in the creation of your omnichannel strategy, too.
Tons of research proves that giving your employees a voice in strategies at work leads to higher productivity and better business outcomes.
During digital transformation projects, companies who asked their employees to experiment with new ideas saw success 1.7x more than those who didn’t. And in the book The Power of Habit, researcher Charles Duhigg found that giving employees a small amount of autonomy – like the ability to set their own schedules or choose what they wear – improved productivity by 20%. Even when pay scales and processes stayed the same.
7. Don’t create experiences that overburden your team or customers.
“Ever felt like there’s too much to do: the mounting housework, the tile that’s fallen off and needs repairing, the playdate you owe…? And, on top of these nagging concerns, there are the fast-approaching work deadlines, the meeting you need to present at, the never-ending conveyor belt of emails jamming your inbox… Does any of this resonate?”
This quote underpins the importance of a seamless omnichannel strategy, for both you and your customers. We’re all swept up in competing priorities. And, as consumers, the last thing we need on top of all that housework, all those deadlines and that forever-clogged inbox is to chase down answers when we’re struggling with a product or service we pay for. And the last thing you and your agents need is a disjointed experience that adds more work to your plates instead of removing the hassle.