Aligning the C-Suite, Contact Center Culture and Voice of the Customer (Crisis Response Network Interview)

Brian Cantor

The best customer experiences are generated when there is complete alignment between the voice of the customer, contact center culture, and the C-suite perspective. Achieving that alignment is notoriously difficult.

Crisis Response Network has overcome that difficulty in its contact center, and it will be sharing its wisdom at Call Center Week Winter, January 26-29, 2016, Orlando, FL.

In advance of his presentation, CRN president and CEO Justin Chase (pictured) shared quick-fire thoughts, tips, and best practices. Those follow.


What are some methods of acquiring customer intelligence?

· Social Media

· Website

· Community Events (60/year)

· Community Forums (20/year)

· Satisfaction Surveys (25/month)

What about communicating that intelligence across all business units and to all seniority levels?

· I have an active initiative to "Tell More Stories" (good or bad)

· Every meeting is required to start with a story of "Inspiring Hope" to ensure we are focused and effectively meeting our organizational Mission

· These stories and feedback are communicated to all employees through monthly CEO messages, monthly employee newsletter and/or the company intranet

What about using that intelligence to drive actual change within the contact center?

· We use customer intelligence as a starting point for strategic planning and initiatives

· Urgent or concerning intelligence is brought to the Executive Management Team immediately

When it comes to the customer experience, we constantly hear about challenges getting "buy in" from the C-level. Yet when polled, the C-level almost universally declares the customer experience a top priority. Where is the disconnect? Why is a C-level that supposedly prioritizes the CX not already "bought in?"

· Disconnect: C-Levels think they know what the customers want but do not verify

· Either over- or under-react to anecdotal information regarding customer experience

· Disconnect between perception and reality

· We focus on the reality of "what is," but we need to put the same effort into what customers perceive as "what is."

What can be done to address that issue? How can you create better alignment between the C-Level and the contact center/customer experience teams?

· Trust, but verify.

· Take anecdotal customer feedback seriously, obtain details and verify their experience.

· Focus on perception as much as we focus on our reality

· To improve customer experience alignment:

· All executives are required to walk the contact center floor at least once per day engaging with employees casually

· Initiated an Employee Engagement and Innovation Committee that is comprised of contact center agents and meets monthly to provide direct feedback to the CEO on the employee and customer experience

· Executive team members are required to participate in community events and speaking engagements

· Hold bi-monthly forums with diverse stakeholder groups to discuss opportunities for improvement or identifying unmet needs directly with Senior Executives.

Whenever we hear about these "iconic" customer experiences, we often hear about the importance of culture. What does a winning contact center culture entail?

The best customer experiences mirror the employee experiences of the company representatives the customer interacts with. Invest in the employees to achieve the same goals in house as you desire with your customer based.

· Executives maintain a presence in employee work areas

· Be vulnerable and transparent with staff. Be a human being

· Leader is willing to take the blame and carry the team if necessary

· Consistency, Visionary, Trust, Integrity, Transparency, Courage, Compassion

· Focus on desired outcome and customer experience related to the Mission, Vision and Values of the organization

And how do you properly walk the line between creating a fun workplace environment (happy agents = happy customers, after all) and a productive workplace culture?

· Choose your battles – if performance metrics are being met and company policies are not being violated, where is the harm?

· Simplify expectations

· Focus – what are the well defined and publicized outcomes employees will be managed by?

· Ensure employees know

· What is expected of them

· Have the tools necessary to complete these tasks

· What will get them fired