Advisor in Customer Experience and Service Operations

Having the right people transforms your Customer Experience

Lessons from Good to Great: Do you have the right people on the bus?

Meeting customer service requirements in changing industries

Increasingly, I’m seeing Contact Centre clients relook at what’s required to meet the changes the industry is facing. With a big part of this involving their internal capability and capacity – and its ability to meet shifting demand and expectations.

When having these conversations, I find myself often referring back to Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great, and one of its key lessons – First Who, Then What.

After researching Fortune 500 companies Collins suggested that leaders of great businesses follow the principle – first the people, then the direction – no matter what. They said, “I don’t really know where we should take this bus. But I know if we get the right people on the bus, the right people in the right seats, and the wrong people off the bus then we’ll figure out how to take it someplace great.”

Below I’ve summarised a few of the key learnings for leaders of Contact Centres, as I thought they may be of value, particularly in these volatile times. Collins used the metaphor of a bus, and it helps to visualise Contact Centres in this way:

1. Get the right people on the bus

Whether it’s carefully hiring the right people, assessing internal talent, or looking to external partners to supplement any gaps – invest substantial time in finding the right people. Start by getting the right people on board, those who are able and willing to adapt.

And if in doubt, don’t bring the person onto the bus, let a seat go unfilled until you have the right person. It goes without saying, but when you do have the right person, ensure that your company does an exceptional job of retaining that person.

2. Get the right people in the right seats

It’s not enough to just have the right people, you also need to ensure you’ve got the right people in the right seats. Whether it’s CX, Operations or Workforce Management, you need to know that you have 100% of the key roles filled by the right people. This doesn’t mean 100% of ALL seats have the right people, but 100% of the key seats.

3. Get the wrong people off the bus

Equally as important to having the right people on the bus, is ensuring the wrong ones aren’t occupying the seats. And if they are, moving swiftly to make the necessary changes. Your bus might be heading in the right direction, but without the right people, you won’t be able to achieve greatness.

4. Put who, before what.

When confronted with any problem or opportunity, shift the decision from a “what” question “what should we do?” into a “who” decision “who would be the right person to take responsibility for this?”

So as you look to seize this moment, beginning with “who” rather than “what” may be a valuable place to start. Once you’ve filled the bus with the right people in the right seats, it becomes less of a question of where you’re headed – and instead how far you can go.

We’ve seen many Contact Centres transform their performance by pausing to ensure they have the right team in place. All the KPIs of Customer Satisfaction get easier with a bus full of people right for your team.