performance

Huddle the Team for better performance

Low angle view looking up at a team huddle

I urge every business which operates with inside sales and service teams, especially in Contact Center settings, to make sure that whoever is leading those teams daily, supervisors, managers, or team leads, is having a daily Team Huddle at the start of each shift.

Companies that support, encourage and hold Team Huddles correctly, end up with better team performance over time. But, invariably, team huddles can turn into mundane, “Leadership said we have to do this every day,” uninspired wastes of precious time, which is the exact opposite of what you are trying to accomplish with a start of shift Team Huddle.

To those who run daily team huddles, I have this advice:

Ask yourself the important question, “Who is talking more at my Team Huddle? ME or my Team members?

Your Team members should be doing most of the talking and most people should be encouraged to participate. Any participation is good. Short and to the point works well.

Huddles are not a great time for a speech, but, if you are going to give a speech, make it a motivational talk. The idea of a daily, start of shift huddle is to motivate, encourage and energize. This is not the format for long discussions about any topic. Save housekeeping and too much detail about numbers for longer Team meetings.

You can talk about KPI goals for the day but getting into a detailed discussion of KPIs is not what Huddles are for.

What is the best use of the daily huddle? The huddle is your pre-game opportunity to get people fired up for the day’s performance in about 5 minutes! A chance to rally your team to work individually and as one cohesive unit to meet today’s team objectives.

Talk about things like getting to the top of the department’s Team Leader Board; Point out your top performers and challenge others to match or beat them today; Ask your top performers to share some brief success tips and challenge them to do better.

Get the team talking about what they are going to accomplish today individually and as a group!

If today falls on the last week of the month or quarter, will the team set records or miss goals?

Where will your team end up as a business within the business? The numbers are a result of preparation and execution. If your team is trained and prepared properly to do the job, then you should focus on inspiring their execution of the work they’ve been trained to do.  Rather than focusing on the numbers so much, focus on motivation, energy and effort.

If folks don’t leave your huddle ready to jump on the phone or into the project and make a difference, it’s not been worth the effort.  If their first thought is, “glad that is over, time to get a coffee,” your huddle has failed.

Use this opportunity to engage your team member’s competitive and winning spirit!

Make a difference today!!

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Better Mondays = Better Performance!

When I start working with Contact Center owners, I always tell them I’ll be at the site 

better call center performance

bright and early on Monday morning. I usually get responses like, “…well, Monday’s aren’t the best day to visit because everyone is just getting back from the weekend and things are a little slow. ”Why don’t you start on Tuesday?”

Yikes! no wonder they are calling me for help to boost their call center’s performance. Top Call Center Operators that I’ve worked with make it a point to hit the ground running on Monday mornings. There is not warm up or ramp up time in the Customer Experience industry where your company and brand (or your client’s company and brand if you are a BPO), are as good as your last call.

As a Call Center leader, do you allow your team to leisurely wander into the office, grab some coffee, talk about the games this past weekend, and, eventually get around to thinking about planning for their day? Monday or any other day of the week?

A word to front line leadership. If you want to be a successful Call Center Leader, grow in your career, break records and develop a loyal and high performing team while and separating yourself from the pack, one simple change can propel you way ahead. Be ready to go on Monday Morning. You should be rehearsing the plan you’ve created on Sunday night in your mind as you drive into the office. In fact, some top operators are holding conference calls with their team on the way in.

If you are a front line Supervisor, Manager or Director, if you get to work wondering what you are going to do on Monday morning, you’ve missed it completely. And, holding a staff meeting on Monday morning without an agenda and no goals does not count. Staff meetings on Mondays often are used to plan the week. By Noon the plan is getting rolled out to the floor. Too late to have a positive impact on Monday’s performance, and possibly, the week’s performance.

If you need a planning meeting, have it on Friday afternoon (another very valuable time period that is often wasted – more on that in a future post). Plan for next week so everyone comes in Monday morning with a game plan and ready to go. 

Some of you may be thinking, “Wait Mike, I don’t get paid for Sunday night work.” I say, “oh yes you do! You get paid to bring value to the company and to your team. And that means you plan your work in advance so you have a plan and a direction the minute you are in the building.”

If you want to be paid only for the time you spend clocked in, I’m sure your company has some agent seats they need to fill with good people like you. However, once you accepted a leadership position, you chose a different path. You have a direct stake in the success of the company. You are now a role model. You set the tone, the pace and the energy level for your responsible area. Whether it’s a team of 12 agents or a department of 100, you are in control of the performance and success levels which are directly impacted by the preparation you bring to the job each day.

Those around you, direct reports, Sr. Leaders and Colleagues will see the energy and seriousness you bring to the job. This is not a make it up as you go industry and when others see your approach they will know what you expect and will follow your lead. If not, you’ll have a place to start as a mentor and leader.

Let’s all plan to bring our A-game to Monday Mornings and watch the performance needle move.