Moderated by Kandy White
Senior Vice President, Operations

Today’s contact centers are complex, with many stakeholders, many opinions, and many objectives. Read on for key insights from an interactive session conducted at the 15th Anniversary Customer Contact West: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange, where participants discussed tools and communications strategies for improving the enterprise contact center.


  • Learn how to deploy a data driven decision model to remove bias from disparate organizational biases
  • Blueprint of strategies for leveraging data to drive change to overcome transformational adversity
  • Tips for gaining buy in more creative way – program branding


Moderator Kandy White shared her varied contact center experience: she has worked at a Verizon contact center that moved to a mega center model with 24/7 support; she has worked for ADP which was very regionalized and geared to small business owners; and she currently works at Altisource, where there is one small center that serves everyone. Kandy asked the group a series of discussion questions, starting with this one:

Do you think of the enterprise contact center as internal? Or as unified, serving all of the enterprise?

  • Most participants said unified
  • Customer-facing was emphasized
  • One participant said external rather than internal facing

When you tried something that didn’t work, how did you improve it?

  • By coaching our customer sales reps, using peer coaching
  • Realized it was the right concept, but needed a different flavor
  • Technology was a determinant
  • Managers had a weekly escalation channel, they talked to teams
  • Recognized that the agents wanted to learn from each other, they were more open and this made escalations go down

Ideas for keeping the C-suite connected to the front line

One participant shared that T- Mobile’s tight pods environment was successful because of an atmosphere of direct, close work with the customers and the teams

Ideas for keeping employees motivated and dealing with employee complaints

  • Use the Career Ladder Program for employee promotions–it goes both ways, up anddown
  • Remember to show employees appreciation and bring the C suite on the floor to help bring up the energy
  • Try gamification; it helps employees to be more engaged and can also aid in the on-boarding and training process
  • Coach employees, and also employ the right technology
  • Use weekly, consistent reviews that encourage employees to discuss and fix their mistakes, and be okay with talking about it

Comments on the contact center

  • It takes approximately six weeks to get an employee on the phone
  • It takes a full six months for employees to be exposed to everything – including those
  • Issues that rarely come up
  • People don’t always follow the IVR

Make the training more fun

  • Use role play scenarios
  • Show videos
  • Several organizations used gamification in training and found it was well received. Was viewed as non-threatening, less boring, etc.

How to improve the call center

  • Lots of coaching needed, address a particular customer set
  • Some people are great at chat versus phone, and usually the same person is not good at both
  • Culture is critical
  • Try a compliance-oriented approach; people drive the metrics more than the technology
  • Publish employee’s career route; one company is trying that with six different levels
  • Including guaranteed promotions at a certain level
  • If you stop performing, you start to drop in the ladder, including salary (eek!)

Show appreciation

  • At one company, since no opportunity for a raise, the manager tried an appreciation approach
  • Consider a Customer Service week that included raffles, food
  • Another call center focused on coaching, not metrics
  • Work towards getting call center employees to be solution oriented, as opposed to just complaining
  • Allow venting as long as it’s not excessive

What is success rate to become a subject matter expert and maintain it?

  • One organization required two training sessions a month. Then learnings must be shared
  • Assessments at SME level, matters at a certain level, not initially
  • Build their competency, proficiency comes over time, minimum of six months

How do you keep your C-Suite connected to the front line?

  • Bring them in; when the C-Suite is in the center, it actually builds the energy there
  • Recommend having monthly listening calls, listening to a few calls, mapping out calls
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