Great strategy doesn’t often come from one great idea. It’s more likely that a highly-developed plan will emerge as an outcome of dedication to a strategy development process. Following a time-tested process will produce valuable information for good decision making, which is the cornerstone of great strategy. Don’t get me wrong, it helps tremendously to have great ideas, but great ideas after thoughtful analysis will produce significantly better outcomes.
Strategy Development Process
Below is a template that we have successfully used at CenterFirst in partnership with several pharmaceutical customers to help develop effective contact center strategy.
The steps are relatively straightforward, and the template provides the basic questions to be answered in each step of the process. Let’s take a quick walk through the template and I will provide some short examples of the outcome from each step.
Step 1 – Analyze
Look at the market for what opportunities exist. Assess which internal capabilities you have that take advantage of these opportunities. Understand what limitations your own organization may place on your ability to take advantage of these opportunities.
Example – Patients spend hours online researching their disease and only call your contact center with the most challenging of questions. What effect does that have on your agents? How does this affect your hiring and training program? What regulations and internal policies govern how you can respond?
Step 2 – Decide
Based on the opportunities in the marketplace and your ability to seize those opportunities, decide where to invest your resources. It’s equally important to decide where not to invest.
Example – In order to ensure we handle complex patient issues within our guidelines and with the appropriate empathy, we will take to specific action:
Use attrition to move towards a targeted mix of agent qualifications with 40% nurses, 40% social workers, and 20% other.
Add mock calls throughout our new hire training program to include real-life calls with complex patient issues. Use the mock call as part of the agent certification process.
Step 3 – Design
Implementing the strategy will require investment in capabilities. Internal organizations may need to be formed, partnerships developed, policies written, and technology updated.
Example – A cross therapeutic team from inside and outside the center will be formed to develop the staffing plan that has nurses and social workers handling the appropriate calls. Senior agents will be engaged to help develop mock calls for new-hire training.
Step 4 – Act
Strategy decisions made in Step 2 and designed in Step 3 flow down to actions in the form of performance objectives, budgets, and action plans.
Example – Our staffing plan will be developed and approved in Q1 and rolled out with modifications in Q2. Mock calls will be developed in Q2 and implemented into the training certification program in the same quarter.
I will admit that the examples are quite simplistic, but the process is very sound. Applying this template to even your largest strategic endeavors will help you make good decisions that lead to a great strategy.