Embracing Humanity in the Contact Center Space


In a recent virtual member town hall discussion led by Dan, the focus was on an essential topic in the contact center industry: the intricate interplay between Employee Experience (EX), Customer Experience (CX), and Financial Strength. The conversation revolved around the importance of maintaining this equilibrium while emphasizing the need to put people at the forefront of these numerical metrics.

1. Recognizing the Three Pillars

Dan initiated the dialogue by highlighting the three foundational pillars that lie at the core of contact center operations:

Employee Experience (EX): This encompasses an employee’s journey within the organization, covering engagement, fulfillment, and alignment.

Customer Experience (CX): CX encompasses the overall satisfaction and perception of customers when interacting with the company, a factor that significantly impacts loyalty and brand reputation.

Financial Strength: This term denotes the organization’s ability to maintain fiscal health, crucial for long-term sustainability and growth.

2. The Nexus of EX, CX, and Financial Strength

Dan underscored the interconnectedness of these three aspects. A contented and engaged workforce is more likely to deliver exceptional customer experiences, which, in turn, can positively influence financial strength through increased customer loyalty and referrals. However, a lack of focus on any of these areas can lead to problems down the line.

3. The Perils of Overemphasizing EX and CX

While EX and CX are undoubtedly critical, Dan cautioned against an excessive focus on them that could compromise financial strength. Overly generous exceptions for employees or customers may lead to unsustainable practices and eventual financial instability. He stressed the importance of setting boundaries within which these exceptions can occur.

4. Employee Experience Strategies

The conversation delved into specific strategies for enhancing employee experiences. Dan highlighted schedule flexibility as a key component, advocating for a progressive approach. This entails offering variable shifts and empowering employees to self-select overtime or time off when staffing permits. Creative initiatives, such as rewarding employees with “points” for taking time off even when it might not be convenient for the organization, can foster a positive EX.

5. Empowering Employee Development

Dan emphasized the significance of employee development plans that extend beyond job-related skills. These plans should support employees in pursuing personal interests and goals, even if they don’t directly align with their current roles. Being able to provide development opportunities, even outside of the role, helps the employee to see that the company genuinely cares for them. It’s one thing for the company to invest in what will benefit them, it’s another thing when they invest in something that only benefits the employee.

6. The Power of Exceptional Customer Experience

The discussion highlighted the pivotal role of exceptional customer experiences. Dan cited Chewy, an e-commerce company renowned for going above and beyond to delight its customers. They send birthday cards for customers’ pets and, when a customer cancels a subscription due to a pet passing away, they send flowers and a card. Such experiences create loyal customers who enthusiastically share their positive encounters.

7. Balancing Financial Strength

Financial strength, though less emotionally resonant, is undeniably vital. Dan acknowledged the necessity of maintaining financial stability, especially in uncertain economic times. The key is messaging the reason for the financial strength and being able to get the employees to buy into the vision. Financial improvement just to increase profitability won’t move the dial with employees, but helping them see that the organization needs to increase their coffers to weather economic uncertainty (as an example) helps the employees buy-in.

8. Striking a Balance between Consistency and Exception

A recurring theme in the discussion was the importance of balance in decision-making. One voice advocated for being consistently fair rather than rigidly adhering to consistency, emphasizing that sometimes exceptions to rules are necessary. Trustworthy leadership plays a crucial role in making these judgment calls and ensuring that fairness prevails in unique situations.

9. Embracing Humanity in the Numbers

In conclusion, Dan stressed the significance of balancing EX, CX, and Financial Strength while embracing the human aspect within these metrics. Data-driven decisions are essential, but they should always be connected to how they impact individuals, whether employees or customers. This approach ensures that organizations are not just achieving numerical goals but also creating meaningful and empathetic relationships.

10. Wrapping It Up

Dan concluded the town hall by expressing appreciation for the participants’ focus on employee experience and customer experience. He emphasized that these aspects are essential but must always be considered in conjunction with financial strength. In uncertain times, organizations may need to prioritize financial stability, which directly contributes to job security.

In the world of contact centers, finding the right balance between EX, CX, and Financial Strength remains an ongoing challenge. Organizations that can successfully navigate these waters while valuing the human experience within their metrics are poised for long-term success and sustainability.

See below video clips from this Town Hall led by Dan…and for the full one hour Town Hall recording, visit the CCNG website – CCNG.com / Resources / Recorded Town Hall Events.

Dan Smitley is a regular contributing CCNG member, he is a WFM evangelist, public speaker, and industry expert who has been in the contact center space for over 20 years.

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