More and more contact centers are part of multi-national enterprises. Either as a result of organic growth, or as a result of trans-border mergers, contact center managers are increasingly part of a polyglot corporate community. However, most managers live in their own cocoons, and don’t take advantage of the benefits their sibling centers can offer. In my experience, the links among contact centers in different countries and on different continents are not optimized by a long shot. A concerted effort to share best practices and adopt common technologies could save boatloads of money while making life more interesting for contact center managers.
If you are among those not leveraging your international sibling centers, consider the following actions:
- Form a working group made up of senior managers from all of your company’s contact centers.
- Set up quarterly conference calls and set an agenda of topics, based on what your colleagues are concerned about: turnover, workforce management, training, reporting - - whatever is troubling you.
- Benchmark all of your centers against others in your industry. Determine which metrics are key for each operation and find out what each center’s strengths and weaknesses are. Ideally, utilize automated benchmarking so that you can easily track performance over time in a structured, disciplined way.
- Catalogue the technology at each center and map functions across all centers. Include the age and capabilities of each technology.
- Catalogue processes across centers. Everything from recruiting to training to workforce management to quality assurance and coaching, etc.
- Determine where improvements can be made in both quality and costs for each center.
- Draw up improvement plans, execute and track your metrics. Share war stories during the conference calls. Determine where joint investments (e.g. in common technology platforms) are possible.
- Include computations of savings and indications of higher quality to share with your peers and show to management.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you can show this is working, you will be able to justify not only the quarterly conference calls, but also a nice annual junket to one of your sibling centers elsewhere in the world. Now that’s fun! Meeting face-to-face allows everyone to give high-impact presentations on initiatives they have implemented, and provides ample time to explore common problems together. You will be adding real value to your enterprise, and some memorable experiences to your career.
Naturally, you should expect some issues to arise on the political and cultural sides. I know; I have worked for multi-national organizations and have lived in three countries. However, if everyone approaches this in the right spirit, you will all get better over time. The financial benefits will be substantial and measurable. Ultimately, the enterprise, your customers, your colleagues and you will be the winners.
“Contact Center Economics 101” articles are written and have been refreshed by Bruce Belfiore, Senior Research Executive and CEO of BenchmarkPortal (Harvard MBA) to spotlight practical opportunities for financial improvement of contact center operations.