March 03, 2023
Whether you’re in a tech start-up, huge international conglomerate, or a small mom-and-pop company, accountability is hard! Do too little and employees are running all over the place with no real direction or consequences. Do too much and it can feel like micro-management that dictates every minute of every day.
Being in the contact center we have a ton of data at our fingertips. We think that simply because we have good data and clear goals that we’re successfully holding our agents accountable, but it isn’t enough. Holding our agents accountable is a start but we also need to be building a culture that promotes accountability throughout the center. So how do we hold our agents accountable and promote accountability in our contact centers?
First, how do we hold agents accountable?
1. Set clear expectations
You can’t expect your agents to be accountable if they don’t know what you need from them. Let each of your employees know what your desired outcomes are, what metrics they need to work towards reach these goals, as well as the consequences of not achieving them. Setting these expectations ensures you and your team are on the same page about what is required
2. Give clear feedback
Honest and ongoing feedback is critical to accountability. Your agents need to know if they are meeting expectations or not. Feedback coaching sessions are the perfect opportunity to realign their paths. With clear measurements and pre-determined goals, these conversations can be fact-based and simple. These meetings are also a great opportunity for your employees to give you feedback on processes to help keep you accountable as well.
3. Build clear consequences
If they are meeting outcomes and hitting metrics, reward them for their successes. If you think you haven’t explained yourself well, repeat the above process. If they’re continuously missing goals, it is most likely time to release them from the role. Regardless of which path you walk down the consequences (reward, repeat, release) need to be spelled out from the beginning and followed through with consistency.
Secondly, how do we promote accountability?
1. Intentionally build your culture
Whether you realize it or not, your culture is constantly being built and refined. Every action and interaction in your contact center is setting a tone and sending a message to your agents. If you want to promote accountability then you have to build it intentionally into your culture.
2. Build a culture of trust
To promote accountability you have to start with trust. If we do not trust our agents to perform or to do the right thing we’ve moved out of accountability and moved into micromanagement. When they don’t feel trusted they in turn won’t trust leadership and might even start to distrust their fellow employees. We need to build a culture that assumes positive intent, not negative, and give everyone (customers, peers, leadership, everyone!) the benefit of the doubt.
3. Build a culture of visibility
Trust is a great starting point but if that’s also the ending point then we aren’t promoting a culture of accountability we’re simply hoping for the best. Visibility means that everyone knows what is expected of everyone else. The sales agents know what is expected of the services agents and how they are performing. The marketing team knows what is expected of the workforce management team. When you build a culture of visibility you give your employees a chance to hold others accountable, not just themselves.
4. Empower accountability in all directions
To truly promote accountability it cannot simply be top down. We need to empower our agents to hold each other accountable and to hold leadership accountable. This means there needs to be clear expectations, consistent feedback, and consequences for when leadership, marketing, or the IT team doesn’t meet their goals. The best way to avoid micromanagement but still hold to accountability is to allow agents to call out the appropriate consequences for their peers and even leadership.
Holding employees accountable and promoting accountability in our organizations are not for the faint of heart. They require us to walk a fine line, making sure we don’t slip into micromanagement or go the other direction and land in hopeful chaos. We have to be intentional about building a culture and empowering accountability to happen top-down and down-top. When we nail accountability we take one step closer to having a workforce that is happy, productive, and aligned; and who doesn’t want that?
If you agree that this can be challenging and wish you had someone to help, well you’re in luck! Call Design has been helping contact centers optimize their processes, structures, and cultures for decades. Our team of consultants have been in the contact center trenches and know what it takes to develop a happy, productive, and aligned culture. You don’t have to go build accountability alone, reach out today and let us know what accountability challenges you have in your contact center.