Seek to Control Whatever You Can to Produce Optimum Outcomes
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, Ph.D.
The last two years have been rough. And I’m ready to embrace the new year.
Though I hate to tap the too-often-stated label of unprecedented, it’s an apt description of what we’ve been through. Just as individuals have suffered, so too have the call centers that employ them and the customers they serve.
For most operations, it’s harder than ever to find and retain good employees. In general, clients and callers are less patient and more demanding than ever before. And there’s inflation to worry about too—something that’s not been an issue for several decades—that will drive prices and wages higher.
Yet I’m optimistic.
Not only do I want to be positive, but I must be. Though many subsist in the fog of ongoing shock, with a near-PTSD perspective, I’m excited about the opportunities I see. I’m looking forward to what the next twelve months will bring.
Here’s why I’m ready to embrace the new year:
Recent months have showed us what’s important. We’ve adjusted our perspective and adapted to changes that we didn’t want and had little control over. Though we miss what was, we now realize that some of that wasn’t so important, and we learned to accommodate our situation to pursue what really does matter in a new and fresh way.
This applies to both our personal lives and to our call center operations.
We’ve survived. We’re ready for whatever happens next and in whatever form it may take. We’ve proven to ourselves—and everyone else—that we can adjust. Using this as our foundation, we are ready to embrace the new year with confidence.
Some people, and some businesses, have hunkered down for the long haul, waiting for things to return to normal. Normal is nice, and I hope to one day fully realize it. But if normal never returns, I’m okay with that too.
This is because the future holds opportunity. It’s for us to seize these opportunities and make the most of them. As the old saying goes, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
In the call center industry, for instance, we can bemoan labor shortages, scheduling nightmares, and the upward pressure of wages, or we can seize it as an opportunity to shift into a new perspective, an enlightened mindset. Of course, I don’t have an example to share—at least not yet—but you get the point.
Shift from a problem mindset to an opportunity perspective so you can best embrace the new year.
We’re Only Limited by Ourselves
Walt Kelly’s comic strip Pogo gave us the classic line “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Though Kelly originally referred to pollution, the sentiment has broad applications. This includes our personal life and our call center operations. We can be our own worst enemy, limiting what we think, what we accomplish, and what we aspire to. Or with a shift in our outlook towards the possibilities before us, we can think, accomplish, and aspire to much. We’re only limited by ourselves.
Though I haven’t provided actionable recommendations, I do hope I’ve offered encouragement to step into and embrace the new year with an enlightened, optimistic perspective that you have the potential to make it an amazing year for yourself, your family, and your work. Your call center employees, clients, and customers will appreciate your efforts.
Read more in Peter’s Sticky series, including Sticky Sales and Marketing and Sticky Customer Service featuring his compelling story-driven insights and tips.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Connections Magazine, covering the call center teleservices industry. Read his latest book, Healthcare Call Center Essentials.