By Mike Aoki, President of Reflective Keynotes & Contact Center Expert
“Take on challenges to help you grow,” says Eric Scipio Del Campo, a contact center Vice-President at one of Canada’s largest banks. I interviewed Eric for a recent Uniphore podcast when he mentioned a past assignment from his bank. It provided him with the opportunity to move to Bogota, Columbia, and be entrepreneurial in a 180-year-old plus organization. Eric’s task was to create a campus that would serve multiple countries, in multiple languages. How did that help him grow as a leader? Eric said, “I thought I was adaptable and agile when I went.” However, he learned to be more nimble, adaptable and, leverage intuition and judgment more.
Eric learned to be curious and ask better questions to find the answers he needed. That foreign assignment for the bank he said, “Made me not only a better version of myself professionally but a better version of myself as a person because I had to adapt to the culture. I was now the foreigner going into another culture.”
Building Your Own Contact Center Culture
When it comes to building your own contact center culture, Eric advises,
“If you get the right culture, you’re unstoppable. People will take of the issues if you take care of them first”
How can you build that culture? One element is curiosity.
“We are trying to always be better for our customers,” says Eric.
Ensure team members are asking the right questions to understand why your organization is doing certain things. So, they understand what they need to do to reinforce that.
Trust is another cornerstone of great culture. He advises, “Don’t be the flavor of the day when it comes to trust.” That includes praising, rather than punishing, people who bring up unpopular issues.
Day as a Contact Center Leader
When it comes to a typical “Day in the life”, Eric is an early riser, who reserves early morning for, “Thinking time.” 6:30-7:30 AM is spent reviewing metrics and preparing for meetings. Once that preparatory work is done, he spends 7:30-8:30 AM thinking about deeper issues that affect the business. Eric says that helps with, “Being on the offensive. That thinking time helps me stay ahead of the game.” He quotes one of his company’s past CEOs saying, “It worries me when I see our executives running from meeting to meeting. Where is the improvement in strategy, if we are always reacting to the next meeting in our calendar?”
Like any executive, Eric also has multiple meetings per day. That includes conversations with direct reports and connecting with the overall team. To be productive, he is an advocate of shorter meetings, with a clear agenda and decision points. He likes seeing any decks in advance. So, he can analyze it and prepare any questions. In a typical week, he also has conversations with vendors and colleagues from other businesses to exchange best practices.
Investing in Your Mental Health
Given the hectic pace of his workday, how does Eric stay refreshed? He invests 20-30 minutes of his lunchtime to take a walk or a short run. “It hits the reset button for me”, says Eric. He adds, “Mental health has to be at the center of what we do.” Working from home is losing its charm and constant videoconferencing can be draining. So, Eric feels leaders need to support mental wellness. One of the lessons he learned while setting up a contact center in Bogota was the Latin custom of connecting with someone for the first five minutes of a meeting, rather than rushing immediately into a business topic. Eric tries to connect with someone personally, as well as professionally. He recognizes team members and thanks to them for their contributions. He also has virtual coffees to build relationships, as well as sending quick, humorous videos to make people laugh.
Leaders need to be role models for healthy behaviors. For example, Eric says when a leader sends a late-night email, subordinates may feel they have to respond immediately. What you do as a leader sets the tone for your team. In Eric’s case, he tries to end his workday at 6:00 PM. That shows he places priority on his personal life, and his team can, as well. While emergencies happen and you cannot always avoid late-night work challenges, Eric says, “My brother gave me advice: don’t try to force a decision in a moment of haste.” He adds, “Don’t try to force productivity by gaining more hours, sometimes you actually get the short end of the stick that way.”
Role Modeling the Right Behaviors
One of his goals is to, “Be as good as I am with my (work) team, with my own family.” Eric believes, “Being the best version of yourself … is hard to do when you are constantly sacrificing on one side.” Being able to have a nice family dinner, play a board or have a nice chat with family gives you mental space to be “clear of mind.” It also role models the right behaviors for your team and gives them permission to have balance.
Role modeling the right behaviors, creating the best culture, building relationships, reserving time to focus on the big picture and spending time with his family are important parts of a typical day in life for Eric.
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