Karen Stanton
An article by Karen Stanton, Partner Management Specialist, CCP

Through these unprecedented times has the contact centre industry seen governance between a client and its partners become less or more important? Have businesses considered how they are to shape this into their future ways of working?

In this article, I offer my thoughts on successful governance; some options for frameworks and share how I believe good governance can add real value to a relationship.

There are lots of definitions available about the meaning of governance, with some strong words such as authority, bureaucracy, command, control, direction, domination, dominion, empire, execution, executive, guidance and influence – but for me, it is simply having a structure to measure successes and opportunities with awareness and accountability.

You can download plenty of advice from the internet along with handbooks and frameworks, with good governance at the heart of any successful business. Effective governance is essential for a company or organisation to achieve its objectives and drive improvement, as well as maintain legal and ethical standing in the eyes of shareholders, regulators and the wider community.
So how has the current pandemic changed peoples view on governance?

  • Is it the first thing to go?
  • Is it more important now or a nice to have?
  • Have companies had to reconsider the amount and frequency of governance that takes place?
  • Has there been a greater and more frequent need for governance – such as daily war rooms?

From my past experience governance used to mean a monthly face-to-face meeting with some senior representatives from the business and its partners, where failings would be highlighted. Action plans were created, which usually resulted in a poor experience and a noneffective or productive use of time.

Thankfully over time, our approach to managing governance has improved, having experience of writing governance schedules for contracts and then ensuring full roll out I have clearly seen the benefits of getting it right.

Governance should be a two-way street with joint accountabilities and a clear path to working together to deliver the desired outcomes for the customer and both parties. It should be a method by which clear and transparent communication takes place, ensuring everyone has the same understanding and that the activity, once embedded, delivers gains and is a vehicle to celebrate success.

Particularly important right now is the content and frequency of governance sessions. Wouldn’t it be great for your partner to come to you with regular updates on customer sentiment and opportunities to add value? You may already have this in place but is the governance there to back up the statements and ensure effective decisions are being made based on proven insight? Have you got full transparency on operational performance during a time when a large proportion of staff are working from home?

Is there governance in place to track not only productivity but also data security, value add, innovation etc.? Insight provided through the correct governance framework will be invaluable right now and inform the future customer experience along with contact channels and product mix.

Having a strong governance model not only helps maintain a consistent and high level of service for your customers but also strengthens your partner relationships by allowing open dialogue to jointly work through areas of priority in an everchanging environment.

If you are looking to create a governance model that fits your requirements right now, I would advise that you consider the following:

  1. Purpose – What do you want to achieve from the governance framework? Is it to review metrics, provide updates or review the relationship? Make sure you are clear from the start to manage expectations. You may want several independent governance frameworks – depending on the size and complexity of the relationship.
  2. Frequency – Depending on the purpose you may have a series of interactions. Most will be periodic but also plan for the unexpected and build in flex.
  3. Method – Long gone are the days when all governance meetings took place face-to-face thankfully! A daily SMS is sufficient for quick performance updates and an in-depth monthly Zoom or Teams meeting works well.
  4. Attendees – Aim to get a mixture of decision-makers and those accountable for the objectives, plus someone to take a note of the actions and assign owners.
  5. Escalation routes – Be clear on the strategy for when the outcome is not what was expected. All too often I see companies continue in a circle of raising an issue in a governance meeting and not really resolving it and then it appears the month after.

Good practise has shown that it is never too late to take a review of your existing governance framework and adjust to suit the current situation. Being flexible and transparent will ensure the best outcomes are delivered for all parties.

Try to focus your objectives around trust and integrity, innovation for successful services and delivering value. Times are changing and so should your approach to effective governance.

If you need any support with your own governance approach or some ideas for alternative frameworks to suit your needs, get in touch as we can help.