Building a Strategic Plan for your Contact Center
In our call center consulting engagements one recommendation comes up time and again and it is often the first one we tackle when working with our call center clients; the Strategic Call Center Plan. In a previous post we examined if a call center, contact center or customer service operation required a Strategic Plan and concluded that it is one of the most powerful tools to ensure alignment between what a company or organization is working to achieve and the support provided by the call center to realize these goals and objectives.
Of course if the company has defined their strategy then the exercise can be straightforward and can be completed as set out in our earlier post Is A Strategy For The Contact Center Necessary?
But what if no corporate strategy exists? Can we develop a call center strategic plan? The answer is that in some organizations you can and in others you likely cannot. In order to define the existing strategy you will access and active participation from the senior management and the company leadership team. Depending upon the size, industry and structure of the organization this may or may not be achievable. If the company however is of a size, structure, culture that could allow for the required participation and there is a willingness upon the senior management group to engage in this exercise then it is in fact possible to construct a call center strategic plan in the absence of a corporate strategic plan.
Of course, each organization is different as are the members of the leadership teams at any organization. Their individual experience with developing strategic plans will also vary, so our approach has been to employ pre-work for all of the participants and to set up facilitated meeting to work through the biggest strategic questions upon which the corporate and call center strategies depend. In these meetings we establish and gain agreement on a strategic framework upon which the call center strategic plan can be built.
So what are these questions? In our experience the answers to the following questions have been critical to establish that strategic framework:
1. Who is the Primary Customer? This question focuses the attention and efforts of the center against the customers deem most important to the business.
2. Who Comes First? The answer to this question establishes the hierarchy or priorities between Customers, Employees and Shareholders.
3. What are our Core Competencies? This question eliminates ambiguity surrounding what we are good at which provides and competitive advantage and what we may or may not be good at, without a competitive advantage.
4. What are our Core Values? Defining what we value and prize as an organization can help to prioritize call center and customer service decisions within the call center.
5. What will we not do? Establishing what we will not do as an organization is as important as what we will do. Strategic limits ensure that cycles and efforts are not wasted in areas that the organization has no interest in pursuing.
These five questions when combined with knowledgeable a facilitator with deep understanding of both strategic planning and call center operations can deliver a highly focused, and aligned call center strategic plan which better enables the call center operation to support the company and the brand.
For more information regarding Call Center Strategic Planning or The Taylor Reach Group call center consulting services, please contact the Colin Taylor.