How will you make the best of 2023?

Neville Doughty, Partnership Director, Contact Centre Panel

The circle of life may be a wheel of fortune, however as the economy gets tougher and disposable incomes reduce, those running sales contact centres cannot afford to leave anything to chance. Running effective sales operations has never been easy and I’m not sure this will change anytime soon. Delivering the buzz of a thriving sales environment can be tough. Costs are increasing; people, heat and light all cost more than they used to. So, when contacting a customer or potential customer, are you making the most of the opportunity?

Nobody can say that the last few years have been smooth. If we are honest, we’ve been subjected to unprecedented changes and uncertainty for more than half a decade now. Since the Brexit referendum, businesses have been subject to uncertainty long before the pandemic and the current financial challenges that we are seeing. So, as we enter 2023 what are your key goals and how do you intend to ensure that they are consistently delivered?

With so much time potentially lost due to uncertainty in recent years, is there a risk that people are trying to do too much too fast? In doing so, key items are overlooked, and processes become less efficient, as discussed in Steve’s article last month: Is it time to “move more slowly and maintain things”?

Narrowing our focus and prioritising is key to executing our plans. It all sounds so simple in Covey’s Four Disciplines of Execution; once you have established what your goals are; be sure to determine how you are measuring success; think about how you ensure that the key inputs are tracked so that your success can be predicted; keep score and check in regularly so that those accountable for delivery are indeed delivering.

We would do this on a daily basis with call centre agents, the metrics are all there in abundance:

  • “How many sales are you going to get me today Nev?”
  • “How are you going to reduce your AHT this week Nev?”
    (I know we don’t really talk about reducing AHT any longer as an industry, but when I was an agent, we did).
  • “How many repeat calls did you generate last week?”

These are items which are easy to commit to, track and report back on the following day or week. But this becomes harder to do when we move away from the calling floor.

Why is this?

Well, on one level the answer is simple; we make great efforts as managers (or we should be) to make the task of the front-line agent as easy as possible. You have one focus, (admittedly made up of lots of parts), but essentially answer the call, resolve the issue or make the sale. In some cases, resolve the issue and make the sale. But, once we step out of the operations and into the wider business, there are more moving parts, more conflicting priorities and many decisions that need to be made.

That being said, has the world of work changed in the material sense as much as we expected over the past couple of years? Or have we returned to the way things were, but with a different set of expectations?

So, my wish to you all is that you have a great holiday period, that you have time to recharge, reflect and celebrate your successes from recent years.

We have all been tested but consider this, could you achieve more if you focus on doing fewer things but with full commitment in 2023?

If that means outsourcing your contact centre operations or needing support in finding the right technologies to advance your business, we should have a chat.