All about yourself
What is your background (past industries, skill sets, companies, etc.)?
I've had about 3 or 4 different careers, depending on how you slice them: professional services manager, product manager & solutions consultant for marketing software companies; independent web developer; customer service call center manager; music publisher & publicist.
What is your VoiceOps “why” (what drew you to Voiceops, why does VoiceOps matter to you?)
I enjoy translating the subtleties of human conversation into decisioning logic for our systems. And I love the satisfaction of helping our clients solve real business needs with the "can-do" energy of a startup.
All about coaching
How do you feel VoiceOps is changing the coaching enablement industry?
Coaching has been largely anecdotal due to lack of data. Evaluating a bunch of behaviors on a few random calls has left agents feeling that their performance is based on luck of the draw, which undermines trust. When coaches can look across a large number of calls, spot behavior trends for each agent and focus coaching on one behavior with a lot of examples, agents have something much more tangible to work on. And the ability to trend their improvement on each behavior over time gives a feeling of satisfaction.
Why do you think coaching is such an important element for businesses?
There's typically a wide disparity between top and bottom performers with a lot of really capable agents somewhere in between. With targeted, data-driven coaching, these agents can perform better, drive business KPIs and reduce employee churn.
How has coaching (whether good or bad) had an impact on you personally?
A lot of facts and information can be learned from books and online, but human interaction is a fine art. Several mentors have coached me along the way to better understand psychology and motivation to become a much better communicator and negotiator.
If you could meet & learn from one famous coach (whether currently living or not), who would it be and why?
This might turn off some sports fans, but I really look up to Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K) for his ability to motivate high performance and help teens mature into articulate and well-rounded young men.
All about conversation
What is one memorable or impactful conversation you remember having? What about this specific conversation was so memorable and important to you? In what ways does that conversation emphasize the importance of conversation?
Very early in my career, I attended an office holiday party where the husband of one of my co-workers had a job that I thought was really cool and impressive while I was just a lowly intern. But he kept asking my wife and me open-ended questions and listened intently as if we were the most interesting people in the room. As we drove home, I realized how our impression of him wasn't driven by what he said about himself -- but by how well he made us feel heard and valued. I vowed to always try to be more like him.
What types of conversations do you enjoy the most? What types do you enjoy the least? Why?
I enjoy learning people's stories. The best conversations are when all parties listen and appreciate different perspectives without judgment or giving in to the urge to "one-up" someone else's story with a "better" one of their own.
All about VoiceOps
How do you envision the call center industry changing in the next 3-5 years?
Many companies will continue to try to replace human contact by using chatbots and IVR systems to reduce call center volumes, and they will suffer. Smart companies will understand the importance of human contact with their customers, and instead use technology to improve the quality of these conversations to improve not only their short-term transactional metrics, but more importantly drive brand loyalty and customer lifetime value.
How have you seen VoiceOps help/create results for its customers?
We have some really great quantifiable success stories, but in my personal role I've seen teams of coaches and managers use our calibration process to align on exactly what behaviors to encourage and expect from their agents. This clarity and consistency is a great first step toward tangibly measuring behaviors and connecting them to business KPIs.
Why is VoiceOps important? (for its customers, in the world, etc.)
There's tremendous value in human conversation, and as John Naisbitt observed way before our modern internet, the more technology we have in our lives, the more personal touch we crave. The opportunity before us is to use technology to improve that personal touch rather than trying to replace it. Customers crave relationship, and they will do business with companies that cultivate that rather than trying to replace it.
Learn more about Dan and his team's work in the ebook, "The Benefits of Behavior-Based Coaching: Build Trust and Create a Consultative, Customer-Centric Team."