“Begin with the end in mind.”
In his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen Covey writes the first habit of highly effective people as having a clear goal, a direction, a cause that makes successful and effective people who they are. They are goal driven. They set their sights on a goal, and all plans made and tasks performed are aimed at it.
But how does one even begin to set goals? A good place to start is identifying what is important to you. Toward this end, you dig up your VALUES.
It is important for individuals to be in touch with their values, but even more important for an organization composed of individuals with diverse personalities, work habits and personal goals to be guided by a common cause, a governing constitution to which everyone is expected to adhere. What is the organization’s reason for being? What does it stand for? What differentiates it from other similar organizations? What is its MISSION STATEMENT?
All contact centers are service organizations: post– sales support and cross-selling are just some of the primary services they offer. But how they offer them and the values they live by are what set them apart. One big word that we often see in many organizations, for example, is EXCELLENCE. That is a core value. And from this core value, a mission statement can thus be written:
“We are the contact center OF CHOICE because we go the EXTRA MILE. We do not stop at problem solved. We do not stop when the customer stops complaining. We stop when he is DELIGHTED. We do not comply. We excel.”
By having every contact center agent oriented to this mission statement and core value as early as the pre-hiring stage, an organization is already laying the groundwork for goals and what is expected of every single member of the team to achieve that goal. This will also be an invaluable mantra in getting everyone involved and in forming one cohesive team singing the same tune.
Another area where having a mission statement becomes important is when it is used as a tool – a metric – for agent performance. List down certain actions or tasks related to the core value, and look at agent adherence to each, with a corresponding rating assigned to each. Example:
CORE VALUE: EXCELLENCE
- Handles calls with proficiency.
- Consistently able to cross sell.
- Manages difficult situations with the proper attitude.
- Exhibits sincerity and genuine concern for customers.
- Attends continuous learning programs
- Rarely or Never
- Once in a while
- Fairly Often
- Very frequently or Always
During agent appraisal or periodic performance assessments, these may be valuable tools in determining where agents can improve on, and a good opportunity to re-orient them to the whys of what they do and what the organization, and the customers they serve, expect of them.
Performance in contact centers is measurable, thanks to the various metrics used and widely accepted by the industry. But it should not be forgotten that it is still all about service, for people, by people, and should proceed with a sense of purpose and a clear sense of what’s important.