For most contact center leaders, time is not on their side. The rate of change combined with unrelenting competitive pressure forces decision making at light speed. Deadlines loom before they’ve had time to consider and evaluate alternatives. Moreover, the breadth of their operational responsibilities and daily dose of fire-fighting often rob them of precious time to take stock of their circumstances, envision a desired future state, and chart the course to get there.
In Technology Selection at Today’s Speed, we’ve provided expert guidance on how to find the right solution fast. Yet sometimes, the critical issue doesn’t involve an impending purchase. It may be a gnarly challenge for which there isn’t an obvious answer. It may point to performance, process, or organizational initiatives that need strategies. Resolution may call for third party expertise, an outside view, and solid facilitation skills to assess options and develop action plans.
We’ve responded to these circumstances and to budget constraints by using our most seasoned consultants to facilitate “Contact Center Executive Sessions.” These affordable sessions focus on a few targeted issues on which the client can make key decisions and/or define specific actions to resolve a problem, institute operational improvements, and/or move an initiative forward. The client provides an engaged leadership team that is willing to participate in the session and commit to defining and implementing solutions.
So how do these sessions work?
We start with a brief information request through which we can get up to speed on the issues and ask any clarifying questions. Then we prepare a high-level agenda for a three day site visit (depending on the project scope) and review it with the client. Time on site typically includes leadership discussions, observations, and focus groups, as appropriate. It culminates with a facilitated working session to address the identified topics.
While the facilitator may prepare talking points to get the working session rolling, the principal activity involves “white boarding” with active engagement and contribution from each attendee. As the group examines each possible decision or course of action, the facilitator challenges the group to push through the implications, pros/cons, likely resource requirements, and critical success factors. This back-and-forth interplay proceeds until the group has one or more “breakthroughs” that illuminate the way forward.
After the working session, we document outcomes (decisions, priorities, action plans) for each topic. We also make ourselves available via email or conference calls as the defined changes are implemented.
In a perfect world, clients invest in larger projects with greater discovery and analysis that yield more comprehensive recommendations, priorities, and action plans. In today’s world, this highly abbreviated assessment and planning process makes the best use of available time and resources to help the center move forward.