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Leadership And Productivity: A Chat With Microsoft’s Former Contact Center Leader

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Matt Wujciak


“We know our customers… [We have] better data-driven decisions….The biggest mistake people are making [today] is they’re not also invested in the employee level too.” - Former senior manager and contact center leader at Microsoft, Dee Nilles. 

The cost of poor management and lost productivity from employees in the U.S. who are not engaged or actively disengaged is estimated to be between $960 billion and $1.2 trillion per year, according to one meta-analysis.

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Recently, I had the chance to sit down with Dee at a CCW event in Nashville. With over 20 years of experience at Microsoft, managing thousands of front-line, client-facing employees, Dee holds an abundance of knowledge when it comes to corporate culture, managerial psychology, and marrying automation with humanization to deliver optimal productivity in the contact center. 

“You have to invest in them [your front-line employees] in a different manner… First and foremost what we want to do is engage with employees on a whole new level, where they want to come to work every day.” 

New Podcast Series: Former Microsoft Leader On The Future Of The Contact Center

“[The goal is to make your employees] want to come in and it’s not just for a paycheck. ‘Hey I’m meeting target!’ … ‘Great you’re just meeting the bare minimum requirements of your job, then,’” she described modern, problematic incentives. 

“In any environment, you need to create a culture of learning.. Gamification is actually a big way of resolving that these days… In a gamification platform, it becomes more of a progression of learning versus another training session,” Dee told me beginning to get into some of her managerial tactics. 

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As the conversation progressed, she began reflecting on some of the most positive and negative spiraling effects she has seen in the contact center throughout her career. 

Click here for the full podcast.