Today’s episode provides you with an insight into how I use the Framework when on a fact finding mission to drive operational excellence in contact centres around the world.
Hello everyone! This is episode 25! We are listened to in 34 countries and by the time this episode airs we will have surpassed 1000 downloads! One of our raving fans – Morris – said recently “A brilliant series of podcasts! Marianne Rutz has built some of the best content available “ – Thank you Morris! Today I’m taking you behind the scenes of my LEAP Framework! What does LEAP stand for and how do I use it when conducting a 360 Degree Assessment of my clients’ contact center operation!
You have heard me talking about the LEAP Framework a couple of times by now. Today’s episode provides you with an insight into how I use the Framework when on a fact finding mission to drive operational excellence in contact centres around the world.
I created this framework for myself initially – to ensure I ALWAYS – always in capital letters put people first in my work.
LEAP stands for…
- Leading People
- Executing Process
- Amplifying Profit
…in that order
I am a firm believer that we must always centre our work around our people. Whether these are the front line advisors I’m responsible for, my direct supervisor, my client, my end customer. And in order to Lead – I have to show up, demonstrate leadership, walk the talk! When I am called into an operation, I follow this framework. Let me take you behind the scenes and tell you what I’m looking for in my initial 360 degrees LEAP Audit.
Even before I get on the contact centre floor – I read up on the firm I’m auditing. I always look at their values statements, take a note on my audit spread-sheet and I look at customer feedback – whatever I can find in the public space.
When I read a value statement “people are our greatest assets” – and I learn that the firm is at the bottom of the payscale, offers no benefits or professional / career advancement – then I know that there is an issue – In the audit document that’s a mark down.
One firm I worked with recently displayed their values in their staff’s break out area reading “we believe in trust and always act in transparency and integrity, demonstrating mutual respect. We encourage open and honest feedback.” – but… it turned out that the last employee satisfaction survey – where staff are encouraged to give open and honest feedback was blocked by the worker’s council. An airline I fly with a lot with and had the pleasure to do some work for, displays their customer Charter at airports and in their contact centres. One charter says “on your side – we see it from your point of view” – we don’t assume that we know best and we make decisions with you in mind. Yet – this airline doesn’t have any ground staff inside flight departure halls – so when your flight is cancelled or delayed – you either must rely on their app – which is time-delayed – or you have to leave the departures area and find their counter in the check-in/sales area. Very frustrating.
What’s wrong here? The leadership doesn’t follow through to the end. People are not empowered to help customers, Senior Executives in the firm came up with a great statement – but were clearly never on the receiving end of the service break down.
It pains me to hear from contact centre ambassadors that they NEVER sat side by side with the managing director, that their Ops director doesn’t know their names or what football club they support. It also pains me to hear that their training and personal development stops after the initial product training, that they have not been presented with a career plan after 2 years in the firm. That they have never learned what their strengths are and how to capitalise on them.
Leading people also requires an engaged recruitment department! After all – most of our staff’s first touchpoint is recruitment! When working with the recruitment team I’m looking for the completed recruitment and onboarding checklist. This list should cover the candidate’s details, Pre-Interview information such as CV review, skill set match etc. Followed by Offer information and First day at work Information covering Banking Details received, Welcome Pack ready, training scheduled and the like! Here I also look for some People First information (which should have come out of the interview process) such as Hobbies, Other Interests, Family information (ie does the new colleague have any children?)
Under Leading People I look for evidence that people are truly “the most treasured asset of the firm”.
I then move on to Executing Process!
Here my first port of call is the Operational Manual or Operations Handbook. I can just hear and see you cringe…
Let me ask you: Do you have an Operational Manual covering the day to day running of your operations? The one-stop-shop for phone numbers? The escalation tree? A link to the Business Continuity Plan? Guidelines on how to conduct your daily stand up meeting?
If you haven’t – you are not alone – in fact, most firms I’ve done a 360 Degree Assessment haven’t got a complete Ops Manual – and that’s okay, as long as there is a starting point. These documents are evolving, ever-changing documents, so you can argue they are never complete!
What am I looking for then? I’d usually ask for the Change Management Process, the Business Continuity Process or I’d ask for the annual Employee Satisfaction survey and it’s related action plan.
I would ask for the daily reporting and more importantly – what they do with the data on a daily basis. When I initially casually ask for processes and procedures – I get an enthusiastic yes – we have it all. But when I then look for the evidence, trying to link the process to the people often times there is a lot of room for improvement. In order to be able to assess what’s there and what isn’t there I always conduct a number of interviews – starting with the front-line advisor, then the team manager and then only the Operations Manager, the HR manager, the IT manager. Why? If your advisor – dealing day in and day out is telling me that his last two paychecks missed the overtime payments – I know that the processes are broken in more than one area. In this particular example, the MI reporting might be wrong, or the communication between Team Leader and Advisor didn’t work, or the salary payment process is incorrect etc. The good news is – if you know what’s broken – you can act and fix it!
Here we are talking money! If People and Process work – your firm makes money. If People and Process are broken – chances are your firm is losing money – or is leaving money on the table! So what am I looking for under the LEAP Framework? Firstly – and Always – I ask the teams for the Statement of Work and their understanding of the Key Performance Indicators they are contractually committed to deliver. I could probably spend an entire episode talking about a clean and clear statement of work – as a seasoned Contact Center Professional you probably know that these statements are crucial – but you also know that, if not very clearly defined – they can give you a big headache!
I also look for daily financial reporting. I call this the “Daily Contribution Report” which in my humble opinion should be known to the Operations Manager – in fact without it – he or she would never know how much their work is worth – or how much revenue they generated or lost.
I expect the Operations Manager to know exactly how much revenue he created the day before, what his team’s costs were, how much he lost through absence, what the GM contribution of the project is and what’s leftover after Tax. You may argue – that this is the finance directors issue. I beg to differ here. By the time the CFO looks at my team’s figures its too late to do anything about them! But if my Ops mgrs looks at yesterdays financial performance we can do something about it together, today!
Do you understand where I’m going with this? LEAP hangs together – starting with the first P – Leading People, followed by the second P – Executing Process, followed by the 3rd P – Amplifying Profit.
If you are wondering how you are doing in your operation – you might have a notion that not all is that well – but are unsure what it is or where to start – please get in touch!
The link to our contact form is below. There is also a link to the recruitment and on-boarding check-list I mentioned at the start of this episode! Go and download it – I’m sure you find it helpful!
ResourcesRutz Consulting Contact Form
Marianne Rutz on Linkedin
LEAP recruitment and on-boarding checklist
My Podcast is produced by Unavoided Media