Attendees at CCMA's Customer Experience Leadership Summit were treated to a lineup of thought-provoking speakers who discussed why a fat horse sparked Paddy Power to become lean, how a person's voice is their instrument, and how a poorly defined and/or communicated strategy can cause everyone to end up in different places at different times, missing the party.
A Fat Horse won’t Win Cheltenham: Paddy Power on Becoming Lean
Head of Customer Operations at Paddy Power, Michael Nolan, told the audience about his battle to cut out waste in their customer operations to become a lean company. Their contact centre was growing at a phenomenal rate but they were constantly dealing with peaks and troughs of calls. They were firefighting problems as they came in the door instead of solving the problems at their root cause. Of the calls coming through there was a huge amount from prospects querying about Paddy Power free bet coupons. For the most part queries were coming in because prospects didn’t know how to use them properly and these calls were blocking up their phone lines.
The first obstacle Michael faced was gaining senior buy-in convincing others of a way to solve the problem. Michael tried pitching Six Sigma as a solution for process improvement but was met with slammed doors! Six Sigma didn’t fit Paddy Power’s psyche; they felt it was bureaucratic and would slow them down. Lean on the other hand is a management tactic used for removing waste, Paddy Power could relate to lean because it represented being agile, quick, reactive, customer orientated and constantly evolving.
Getting Strategy out of the Boardroom and into the "Centre" of Everything
What's your company's vision? What's its mission? Does everyone in the organisation know it... or is it something rolling around the CEO's head or data in a spreadsheet that has yet to be communicated verbally to the business's employees? Gary O'Sullivan of Pathfinder asked these questions to the attentive CCMA Summit audience as he described the best example of an employee knowing their organisation's BHAG (big hairy audicious goal)...
When John F. Kennedy visited NASA in 1962 he saw a janitor and asked him what he was doing to which the janitor replied "I'm helping to put a man on the moon, Mr President". The goal and mission in NASA was so clear that each person knew what exactly what their overarching aim was. When there is no clear strategy, people aren't mobilised around a common purpose, committment required for dealing with difficulties is lacking and employees aren't clear on what their role contributes to the overall goal.
Gary offered a 3 step solution to strategy problems;
1. Redefine Strategy: If you are experiencing misaligned strategy as described above its vital to go back to basics and refine your existing strategy.
2. Change Approach: Strategy is a group effort and it is defined by the actions of people in an organisation, its not just the obeying of orders from senior management.
3. Don't forget the most important step: Feedback and Listening. The future of an organisation needs to be well grounded in the present, listen to what your customers are telling you.
The Colour, Clarity and Credibility of your Voice Matters
Actress, Performer, Singer and Executive Voice Coach at Confidentspeak.com Maria Tecce gave what could be described as a voice workout to the contact centre professionals at the CCMA Summit. Maria had the crowd up on their feet doing stretches and lunges and shaking it out to demonstrate the requirement of energizers and body movement to help keep your body and mind alert and committed to the delivery of your words.
Maria gave a great example of how your sitting position informs your voice; imagine you were in the office having a slow and tiring day, you're slouched back in your seat hoping the phone won't ring. When it does you answer in a similar tone to how you feel... the person on the end of the phone happens to be your boss who needs you to do x, y and z. Immediately upon hearing that it is your boss, you bolt upright, clear your throat and your tone of voice changes completely.
People trust what they know and people trust what they are familiar with so when considering customer experience voice is very important because customers don't want to listen machines, they need to hear a human voice and in particular one that doesn't sound like a robot or like it's reading from a script. This is where colour, clarity and crebility come into play. The colour of a person's voice is unique, it shows their personality, their flare, it can be passionate and creative and it is often how people can make a connection with others on the phone.
TOP TIP: Scripts can often be a killer of voice colour so if its a requirement to use scripts why not get your agents to write their own interpretation of the script that is more personal, this way you can get the best of both worlds!
Clarity refers to having clear pronunciation of words, good articulation, knowing when to stress and being able to use varied intonation. All of these help a person understand the messgae trying to be comunicated to them. Having credibility in your voice means that how you sound and what you're saying is believeable, trustworthy and informed. Customers will feel more at ease if they get the impression that an agent is knowledgable and truthful.
To read more about other speakers at the event from BT Sport, Sky, Amárach Research and Clarity Advantage click here.