August 07, 2015
Looking at the average consumer company today, who knows the company best?” Chances are pretty good that it may be the people who work in the contact center. After all, they are the workers on the front lines. They spend their days talking to customers, listening to complaints, smoothing speed bumps, solving problems and answering product and service questions.
This fact prompts an interesting question: is the contact center the best possible place to train for more senior-level jobs in a company? Quite possibly, according to a recent article by Forbes’ contributor Blake Morgan.
“Working in the contact center is not easy,” wrote Morgan. “The contact center is a place where flaws in the product are identified. The company can gather valuable feedback on how to improve products and services. This is the place where the company gains an understanding of the persona of your most valuable stakeholder; your customer.”
Think about it: according to sales, advertising and marketing, everything about the company and its products and services is rosy. It’s a bit like learning about real life while visiting Disney (News – Alert) World. Marketers are seldom exposed to people who didn’t like the message they sent out. When users don’t like a product, they seldom pick up the phone to call the sales department. They call the contact center to air grievances, make suggestions or demand solutions. Effective contact center workers must find a host of ways to placate customers and retain their business, and they need to work off knowledge they’ve already gained helping other customers through similar scenarios.
At least a few Fortune 100 executives would seem to agree. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos once famously said, “Everyone has to be able to work in a call center.” Bezos revealed in an interview in 2013 that he asks thousands of Amazon managers to attend two days of call center training a year, and he attends them himself. The goal is to really understand where customers are coming from, what they want, and what they expect in the future. There’s a reason call center turnover is often very high: the jobs are often poorly paid, but the work is also very arduous. If you have contact center workers that have logged years with your organization, consider tapping these people for promotions and deep insight into your organization.
“In the contact center, from the beginning you are at the bottom of an arduous hill you need to climb,” wrote Morgan. “Every day you get on the phone, Twitter (News – Alert), email, chat, or in person, and you know there will be people who are unhappy about something with the product. This is the harder route. However bad the bad days are in the contact center, there is nothing that will teach you as much about your products and services.”