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Elephants Teach Leadership Lessons for the Head of Customer Service...


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What do elephants and successful contact centre managers have in common?
The African and the Asian elephant are the only two surviving species of what was in prehistoric times a diverse and populous group of large mammals. Their survival todate in spite of many hardships is testament to their adaptability and resilience to changing conditions.
The elephant is distinguished by its high level of intelligence, interesting behaviour, methods of communication and complex social structure. There are many parallels with this majestic beast and a successful contact centre.

Here are 5 of them…

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Elephants Teach Leadership Lessons for the Head of Customer Service...

  1. 1. Customer Services Audit has worked with over 1,700 customer contact centres around the world. During our seven years we have noticed a number of remarkable, shared qualities in the leaders. While recently in Africa, I took some time off to visit a local game reserve. There I became fascinated with a herd of elephants and watching them gave me an idea! This presentation is a light-hearted look at just five of the powerful qualities the most successful contact centre leaders share with these amazing animals. Let me know what you think. Please enjoy!
  2. 2. l Email: l l Elephants Teach Leadership Lessons for the Head of Customer Service… The Leader of a herd has the Vision. Yet they do not drive the others - they lead by example. They protect and nurture the young and old; engaging and communicating with each individual within their community. This ensures everyone understands what is happening before and during activities with a minimum of surprises. Snapshot Stat: Only 1 in 10 supervisor or team leader can verbalise key organisational goals. This causes disconnect and poor alignment between the operational centre and organisation.
  3. 3. l Email: l l Elephants, like humans, can’t always choose who they work with, but they can build relations with those in their herd. They can make sound choices about who they bring into the herd in the future and they can choose the best ways to manage “rogues”. Elephants develop and thrive on community with every one chipping in to support each other. Elephants Teach Leadership Lessons for the Head of Customer Service… Snapshot Stat: 3 out of 5 of your best agents leave because of flawed hiring, inadequate induction, overworked or inadequate supervision.
  4. 4. l Email: l l Elephants Teach Leadership Lessons for the Head of Customer Service… In every elephant herd, communication is key. Not something talked about - it is the way decisions are made and actions taken. Also, it is not about the leader telling everyone what they should do. The leader makes time to listen to the members of their herd and consider their perspective before changes are made that affect the entire herd. Snapshot Stat: Distrust of the leader of the centre is the leading cause of poor engagement amongst customer service staff.
  5. 5. l Email: l l Elephants Teach Leadership Lessons for the Head of Customer Service… Snapshot Stat: Centres with formal continuous improvement programmes records 30% more engagement from staff, higher productivity and significantly higher customer satisfaction than those without a programme in place. The leader of every elephant herd is constantly and unrelentingly focused on observing and making little improvements. They sense that every little improvement adds up to a stronger and sustainable herd. Elephant leaders encourage their group to make the effort to see new ways to weather hard times and seek out new food sources or ways to reach the food.
  6. 6. l Email: l l Elephants Teach Leadership Lessons for the Head of Customer Service… The sustainability of the herd is vital for survival. Elephant leaders know if they only focus on how things operate on a day-to- day basis it will never be enough. They have a long-term strategic focus to prepare the herd for the future. One without the other will cause the herd to drift apart and away, starve and/ or not know how to respond during times of challenge. Snapshot Stat: Only 1 in 10 centres have a formal plan for the future. The budget is not a plan, it is a budget.
  7. 7.  The world’s first web-based assessment and benchmarking tool for customer service centres.  Originally developed in New Zealand by Customer Services Audit in 2009.  Today, the research organisation draws together all globally-published standards to produce a checklist of over 700+ variables required to successfully manage a customer service environment.  They provide a team of senior consultants from around the world.  Their advisory board ensures benchmarks and practices are relevant and up-to-date.  Customer Service Associations around the world have recognised the depth and value of their structured approach and methodology and offer their members certification and accreditation employing the Snapshotz Online tool. UNIQUE FEATURES  Best practices of each centre is validated in real-time against data from the 1,700 plus organisations subscribed to Snapshotz.  Customer service organisations have a standard and accurate way to assess the current state of their activities  They can immediately validate their results against global best practices.  Snapshotz Online results provide recommendations for practical improvements that grow the strength of the centres continually  Tool is structured to be easy to use, enables organisations to complete a rigorous evaluation within two days. They receive instant reports, task lists and reports that pinpoint the top 50 opportunities for immediate improvements.
  8. 8. Take action today. Join the growing list of customer service organisations making a time-saving, focused, cost-effective and practical difference for their customers, employees and shareholders. Sincerely, Deepak Selvaratnam Contact us: or visit our website Customer Services Audit Ltd, TeleConsultants House 31 MacKelvie Street - Grey Lynn, Auckland PO Box 147210 Auckland 1144, New Zealand Phone: 0064 9 376 2806.