Wildly Important Goals & Putting the Caller First

Organizations that thrive and grow are the ones that live by the principles of high performance and put a strong focus on their mission and values, coupled with superb business execution. In any great organization, it is the people that make the difference – no organization can succeed until individuals within it succeed.  That brings me to the topic of establishing measurable goals that correlate directly to customer satisfaction. If your goals are tied directly to your end-customer’s satisfaction, by achieving your goals you achieve a higher level of customer satisfaction. In today’s call center environment, there are numerous metrics and goals created against those metrics but realistically, are they all of equal importance? One of the most fundamental principles of organizational activity is that human beings are genetically “hard-wired” to do one thing at a time with excellence, not 10 to 20 things all at once. The first discipline to singling out what is most important in your business is to focus only on your wildly important goals (WIGs), goals that put the Caller FirstSM.

There’s no better place to illustrate how this notion is honored than at the airport. Right now there could be more than 100 airplanes either approaching, landing, taking off or moving around. All of the planes are very, very important to an air traffic controller – especially if you happen to be in one of them. However, if you are in the control tower and you have a plane landing in front of you, landing that plane safely is the single most important objective you have at the moment. That is not to say that the other 20 planes in the air and on the ground are not important, they are all very important and lives are always at risk, however, focus has to be put on what is wildly important at that particular moment in time. This is the premise supporting the foundations of WIGs.

So how do you determine what is wildly important in your call center? Put all focus on the customer and/or the caller. At Angel.com, we call this the Caller FirstSM methodology to put the caller first with every call, enabling callers to get the information they need quickly and helping businesses of all kinds realize improved service levels and optimize business efficiency. Using this approach, call center managers should develop departmental goals that are most important to their customer or end caller. At a previous software company where I managed a global Technical Support organization for a Fortune 500 company, I ascertained that a customer’s primary concerns were the following:

  • Getting through to agents that are always available and accessible – no waiting (Angel systems/staffing/workflow)
  • Talking with educated, knowledgeable & helpful support reps (internal training & employee development)
  • Seeing thorough & well documented support tickets, roadmaps, reports & documents (quality measures)
  • Getting through to agents that are happy & proud to work there; great attitudes (motivation/recognition)
  • Sure there are many others that could be included but the goal here is not to dilute the list with goals of lesser significance but to single out goals that focus on putting the Caller FirstSM.

So, taking a step back, there has to be a strategy in place to execute all of this. FranklinCovey, Inc. developed The 4 Disciplines of Execution® — unleashing the power of your entire workforce by creating a high degree of alignment in your organization and focusing your people’s daily energies into delivering results that really matter to the strategic direction of your organization. Just as important as it is to get your team moving in the right direction, you have to make sure they’re all headed in the same direction. The 4 Disciplines of Execution gave me a set of tools and processes to bring my support organization into alignment with the objectives I listed above. In summary, after I created my Wildly Important Goals, my objective was to:

  1. Put all of our focus on my Wildly Important Goals (display them all over the center; createawareness)
  2. Act on the lead measures to make these goals happen (processes, workflows, etc.)
  3. Keep a compelling scorecard (measure weekly, report/display improvement)
  4. Hold agents accountable (everyone is a contributor, build these into their performanceobjectives)

Imagine the power of an entire organization that is focused — 100% of the time — on the things that drive your department, your division…your organization. It is very powerful. The 4 Disciplines of Execution are all about producing results. For me, this immediately translated into higher levels of customer satisfaction because I was focusing on the customer, the end caller. By applying the Angel.com Caller FirstSM methodology as your focal point, you are showing your customers that you care about them and their success, which ultimately will translate into business success for you. This was extremely successful for me and can be for you also, just focus on what is important by always putting your callers first.

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One Response to “Wildly Important Goals & Putting the Caller First”

  1. first call resolution says:

    Putting the caller first is the only way for a call center to operate. After all, the caller is a customer and the only reason that call center exists is to serve the parent company’s customers. Recently, I’ve been reading about call center benchmarking as a method to help me see how my call center is functioning and how I might be able to improve.

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