The Knowledge Growth Path
Recently CCNG members gathered and talked about personal development, knowledge exchange and thought leadership in their field of customer care and contact center management. They place high value in learning with/from peers and the importance in sharing their customer service knowledge. Below is an outline of the knowledge pathway discussed.
In the beginning, most people come to group exchanges to “observe” the conversation. This is the early stage of participation, somewhat passive, perhaps not certain how to inject ideas or what is the protocol. Many events in our industry offer up presentation content with this type of “observer” attendee in mind…a rather don’t ask / don’t tell approach…leaving the attendee as an observer not a participant.
As customer care people development their experience and continue involvement in peer group meetings, they begin asking questions of the presenters / leaders, looking to validate ideas, issues, etc. As they become more active and in asking the “experts” they hear different perspectives and best practices. A good example of this can be heard from a webcast exchange with Barry O’Sullivan with Five9 talking about Optimizing Contact Center Solutions. With so much expert presentation content available on the topic of Cloud Contact Center Solutions, it is refreshing to hear Q&A from interested peers. In a recent CCNG event during the Town Hall, a question was asked by an attendee – “explain the Cloud” in the context of the contact center…she understood music stored in the Cloud as well as her Apps but could not make the connection to her contact center. Questions usually engage the audience and allow presenters to better understand perspectives from attendees. Unfortunately the questions usually follow the presentation and Q&A is often allotted minimal time. The result is some learning from both parties experience.
Things start getting interesting and learning grows when you are afforded time to question the answers given to what was initially offered up in a Q&A session. This typically only happens in a one-on-one after the presentation in complete…if at all, missing group feedback. Exchanging ideas often leads to more strategic – less tactical conversation or leading into other topics. This is a key in knowledge exchange…versus knowledge dump. As an example of a peer exchange on customer service business issues, Matt Woody, VP Contact Center at Fifth Third Bank, talks about Removing the Social Bacteria Dividing Customer Service Cultures. Peer exchange is a key element to receiving value from all parties involved in the conversation…and the beginning to building valuable relationships.
In depth discussion on a particular subject or concentration of interest is the next step on this pathway of knowledge development. Most contact center people don’t have an opportunity, or make time to talk about a specific area with peers that share a passion for a topic. Contact center quality programs or WFM are good examples of areas with many passionate people with a high interest in peer dialogue. A broad topic like fighting for budget in a contact center will surely create great dialogue from all parties as in the recent Virtual Town Hall featuring contribution from Todd Hixson of Intuit and Jesse Jackson of RealPage. Everyone can relate and share experiences in a group dialogue or discussion on a particular area of interest
Lastly (full circle) these contact center people felt strongly to give back…leading industry conversations, presentations and knowledge share…as in the webcast by industry thought leader Larry Streeter, (former) VP Support at Constant Contact. Larry shares his experience using Customer Engagement to Drive Contact Center Performance with viewers and encourages their feedback and personal connection.
CCNG is fortunate to have many contributing members that drive the conversations at all levels…always inviting new Observers and challenging members to be Thought Leaders.
Where do you stand in your industry knowledge? Observer? Thought Leader? A key to knowledge growth as a contact center and customer care professional is continuing to move down the knowledge path to find outlets for sharing your knowledge with peers. Simply put – to give back from what you have learned.