“Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have — and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up.” Flight of the Buffalo 1994

Whether you agree with that our not – the varied reaction to change, including clinging to what we had before – is certainly felt in our contact centres. Whether that change has been prompted by our customers or due to business need, it will start a journey for many.

One point I think most of us would agree on is that change keeps us healthy and profitable yet it can be very difficult to implement both from a customer and employee point of view, so why is this?

Well, I believe it’s because Call centres can be like families – and like any family, everyone will react differently. Add into that equation the reality that most change to be implemented in an environment like ours will not have been agreed democratically – will sometimes result in someone in the family rebelling. Understandable when you think about it, even in our personal lives I daresay very few of us like to be dictated to.

The change itself may be unavoidable, but how we build, deliver and foster the enthusiasm we need to land it, can very much be shaped to keep the family harmonious. At Sky, we have learnt that having the family help build the change where possible is crucial. More often than not now, the very next question I will ask is ‘why’? Does the training for the change help our family to understand ‘why’ the change has to happen, ‘why’ the change is needed for our customers and ‘why’ will it make our family life better. These questions carry an equal importance to the change itself, if we crack the answers to those, the change usually lands well….and sometimes, if we get it just right, the call centres feel they have instigated the change. Including my rebel, who now becomes my advocate.

Let me give you an example:

Early last year I attended a meeting with some of our Sky Customers, a ‘customer closeness event’. I was really excited to hear what our customers really thought of us face to face and overall whilst I was pleased with what I was hearing, one area still bothered me, it was taking us too long to diagnose customers issues with their broadband and no wonder. Our advisors had to use up to 14 different systems to do this!

We had already started a piece of work to build a front end system that would replace these systems, however after that event I realised that we were allowing other people to design this front end , when actually this needed to be designed by our people – we needed to involve the family in this otherwise it just may not work.

After a number of meetings it was agreed that this project should actually be led by our advisors, they should help design the system; after all they were going to be the ones using it.
There was another benefit of involving them, they became the real advocates, so when it came to implementation, they helped deliver training to their colleagues and really helped to embed the system – it was a brilliant success.

The team won 2 internal awards and were recognised by 2 external award bodies

We saw increased morale and Motivation within the teams
We saw higher levels of responsibility, thus improving measures such as Right First Time
And we saw less blame and more advocacies for Sky.

You may be reading this and thinking “So what, we do that all the time”…. but do you really? Even now with the success we achieved I sometimes have to remind myself to gain views and inputs from the advisors.

My advice, Involve your advisors in the change you are looking to make and watch your family grow and learn. A happy family can never be a bad thing!

Jason Photo2Jason Stanton
With a career spanning 20 years in contact centres, Jason currently holds the role of Head of Designing Excellence at BskyB.
Madly passionate about customer experience, Jason joined Sky 2 years ago to head up their Broadband Customer experience programme, which resulted in Sky being named best Broadband provider and least complained about provider by Ofcom and U Switch.
Focusing on making things simple for customers by involving front line advisors in process re-engineering and reducing customer effort is a key focus of his.
He truly believes customers stay with you and buy more from you if you make it brilliantly easy for customers to do business with you.
Jason previously held senior roles with RAC, O2 and Openreach and is a twice North West call centre awards winner and previously won National contact centre of the Year at The National Customer Service Awards

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