The “Squeaky Wheel” – A Contact Center’s Best Implementation Friend

Every contact center team has that “one” person - the ringleader, the group gossiper, the self-appointed team advocate, the squeaky wheel. Regardless of what you call them, this person can be the biggest thorn in your side or your biggest advocate. When it comes to implementing a new technology solution, engaging this individual in the process can go a long way in ensuring success and adoption in your contact center, turning them into your best implementation friend.

As we’ve discussed previously, when it comes to implementation, effective change management is critical, as even the best-laid plans go awry without thoughtful and deliberate execution. Involving Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), like agents, in your scoping and implementation processes reap post go-live benefits. This SME group should include a diverse cross-section of agents, representing varying tenures, performance levels, and expertise. While your squeaky wheel might not feel like an obvious first-choice for SME, including them can help for the following reasons:

They are candid.

Your squeaky wheel is usually the first to tell you when a process is broken, the first to challenge a new change rolled down from the top, and usually doesn’t mince words while doing so. While that might usually make your skin crawl, this honest and transparent feedback is exactly what you need when you are building requirements and designing your new solution. This individual will not hide their feelings, and will openly tell you what the agents’ true and biggest pain points are. This feedback can help you remediate these issues with the new system.

They spread the word, and people follow their lead.

If you ever want to know the “word on the street” in your contact center, just ask your squeaky wheel. They can be the noisiest – and nosiest – person on the team. Nonetheless, their team members usually listen to what they have to say and follow their lead. Thus, if this individual is positively involved in your project, and vocally discusses its benefits to their colleagues at the water cooler, you not only have a SME, but a project hype man! Generating excitement about the project prior to launch will help drive adoption by agents later.

If they’re not for you, they may be against you

Sometimes the squeaky wheel craves involvement, and just like kids at school, if they aren’t “in the know” about what’s going on, then “it” must not be cool. Sounds immature, but not involving them as an SME might make them feel left out, and thus resistant to the change. The last thing you need during implementation is a begrudging, vocally cynical agent creating unnecessary fires.

While identifying your SMEs, consider selecting not only your highest performing and most amenable agents, but also your outspoken, sometimes difficult to love SME as well. This alerting individual will bring the noise and advocacy during your implementations, and hopefully promote buy-in and success.