Off Center
 
Regardless of whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, it’s nice to take some time every now and then to give thanks for what you have. And even though you are currently fighting a war against agent burnout, a limited budget and customers with a bloated sense of self-importance, there are still plenty of things to be thankful for in the contact center industry. Here are just a few:

Increased respect.
Although execs aren’t exactly writing blank checks for the contact center, you should be thankful that most now recognize the invaluable insight and data the center captures daily, and the impact that the center has on customer loyalty and revenue. As a result, many C-level officers have stopped writing nasty graffiti about the contact center on executive washroom walls. Some now even allow agents and supervisors to look directly at them during their annual walk across the phone floor. 

Casual dress codes.
Until video calls come along and ruin everything, contact center pros can be grateful that nobody expects them to look classy. While folks in Marketing, Sales and other so-called "higher-profile" departments must contend with the daily stress of lining up an outfit that will impress clients and co-workers, contact center folks can slap on the same jeans or pleated khaki pants they’ve worn for the past month, with no fear of negatively impacting the customer experience or their career.      
Frontline task forces.
If you are a contact center manager or supervisor, you should thank your lucky stars for the fact that you have a whole host of agents who are totally desperate for a little job diversity and time off the phones. If you haven’t yet started to tap their desperation and put them to work on projects you don’t want to deal with, or let them come up with improved processes that you can take credit for, then you should be thankful that I just informed you of this brilliant strategy. 

Social media.
True, nobody in the contact center really knows how to handle social media as a customer care tool yet, but be thankful that the hype surrounding it has distracted senior management from the fact that your center hasn’t really figured out the phones, email or chat yet, either. Another reason to be thankful for social media is that, once you do figure it out and set things up right, your most avid customers will step in and start to handle most of your other customers’ online complaints for free.

Lack of windows.
While some contact centers these days have an ample number of windows, be thankful if yours is not one of those centers. There’s nothing worse than having a portal to the outside world that lets you see all you’re missing while you’re busy getting slammed by calls and berated by customers. You and your staff need to focus on the internal chaos – if you have birds and sunshine and trees and mountains distracting you, you’re never going to survive.

Helium balloons.
You show me a contact center pro who isn’t thankful for the abundance of colorful balloons floating around the phone floor, and I’ll show you a contact center pro who doesn’t know how to use them to full effect. The squeaky voice you get from inhaling helium is hilarious and stress-reducing no matter how many times you do it. Regardless of how burnt out and browbeaten you are on the job – having a constant supply of noble gas makes it all worth it.

One final thing that I, personally, am extremely thankful for is you – my readers – for tuning in to my ramblings each week and for not reporting me to the proper authorities.

Happy Thanksgiving to all (who celebrate it)!