With call centre infrastructure technology changing on an almost daily basis and the need to ensure robust ROI values in all aspects of Call Centre operations, call centres themselves are fast becoming the hub of continual change and project deployment.
Projects in Contact Centres can be dynamic and as varied including:
- The sourcing of new 3rd party vendors for the provision of services,
- The request for, and introduction of new technology and platforms,
- Call centre best practice process reengineering and optimisation,
- Writing, reviewing and implementing tenders,
- Less complex projects (that may only take a couple of days to wrap up)
Every change in a call centre needs to be documented to some level. When next executing a project in your contact centre consider each of these types of documentation and include as makes sense for the size of the change.
Not only will you quickly realise the benefits for the first project you apply them to but I believe it won’t be long before you utilise the same tools in usual day to day Contact Centre operations to help provide stronger outcomes.
Before the start of the project (and for the life of it) you should adopt the practice of utilising formal Agendas, Minutes, Task lists, and Issues Logs for all project meetings.
This sounds pretty simple and basic but it really is amazing how effective these formal tools can be in ensuring ideas, issues and outcomes are easily communicated, and how they help to keep your project succinctly managed.
So Let’s have a look more closely at some of the type of documents you should be using throughout the lifecycle of every project:-
Risk Management Plan
As with all reasonably complex projects, performing a call centre infrastructure implementation needs to be performed with care and good operational planning. Failure to implement good project management documentation approaches and apply the right subject matter expertise to the project can easily results in delays and cost blow outs.
Change Management Plan
Larger changes to the contact center need to be communicated effectively. You cannot leave this to chance.
The project team should lead the change management process as they are most intimately involved and have the deepest understanding. They should consider who will be impacted upon by the rollout of the process and who will have the most impact on the success of the implementation.
Then a communication plan (see next section) should be created to address the needs and concerns of each group of staff.
Some organisations choose to create an internal brand for major changes and this can be a very effective tactic. The branding process serves as a way to bring all of the communication together into an effective package.
I have supported many clients to up a call centre and with call centre infrastructure projects. One of the first things I do is a health check on their internal formal communication skills.
One of the biggest factors for the success of a project is in terms of ensuring formal forms of communication exist within the business and in particular the Contact Centre environment.
I appreciate that because of the usual pace of Contact Centre life; quite often business communications and interactions may become less formal than usual and not necessarily recorded.
These should be drawn up for every project meeting and include all relevant topics matters that need to be tabled and discussed at the meeting.
The Agenda should also be time lined so that each topic has an allocated amount of time for discussion/resolution so that the meeting is kept on track and all topics are able to be discussed within the time frame.
Agendas should include details of the meeting location, time and date, and the expected participants.
Like the Agendas above, Minutes should be created for all project meetings. Minutes should be concise, factual and include all relevant detail pertaining to the discussion of the project meeting.
These should in turn be passed to all participants of the meeting as well as others involved in the project to keep them fully informed of project outcomes as they progress.
Make sure your minutes are dated, detailed and reviewed by participants for content confirmation before dispatch to a wider audience.
I have found minutes from meetings a valuable resource many times over when being asked to clarify specific outcomes or discussions from a project meeting.
In a nut shell they provide a valuable resource for all project participants to review, keep and refer too.
Task lists need to be drawn up as a result of meeting outcomes and specific project plan milestones.
Task lists should detail the specific tasks assigned to individuals, as well as the individual/group resource/s that will be working on the task.
A comprehensive task list will also include details of the task start date, the ongoing progress of the task and the task completion.
Task lists are a great way to identify what has to be achieved, who is to achieve the tasks and how much of each task has been achieved.
Task lists are also a great motivational tool which record and visually display what has been achieved over an extended period of time on a project.
Every project has at least one issue that can have a bearing on its overall success, so call centre best practice project management dictates that a log of any issues pertaining to a project should be tabled and formally noted in an Issues log.
Once again this sounds simple but amazing the number of times I have been asked to help a client where issues which have been made known to project participants have subsequently flown under the radar.
Either they have been forgotten or not acknowledged, and they tend to rear their heads to the detriment of the project at a later date.
Your issues log should be reviewed and updated on a weekly basis and all details of occurrences that have both a positive and a negative effect on the tabled issues should be included in the update detail.
The task list becomes a fantastic way to keep any issues at the “front of mind” for project Sponsors, Mangers and Stakeholders so they acknowledge that these have to be addressed for the success of the project outcomes.
On the other side, as you work through the issues and find resolution the document once again becomes a tool to show success and provide motivation.
Detailed project plans are another key document for the success of your project.
Again my experience has taught me that a lot of clients, even though they may have a formal project plan may not be utilising it to the best advantage.
Quite often it may not be reviewed and updated on a regular basis or indeed may not include all of the required process steps that a business needs to go through to achieve the desired outcomes.
A project plan which includes all of the relevant project steps, which is accurately time framed, continually updated and reviewed and discussed by all project participants becomes a forceful tool to aid the achievements of results.