COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. — Kirk Weisler, chief morale officer of RightNow Technologies, delivered a keynote here at the recent RightNow Summit ‘10 that highlighted the importance of leadership and employee culture.
Weisler recounted his early days in contact centers in 2000, remembering the devastating effects of the infamous "I love you" email virus. Weisler says that he and his team worked tirelessly that May, providing pizza and sodas to workers committed to isolating the virus.
"For a young contact center less than a year old, this was bloodletting," Weisler said.
Weisler recalled Art Coombs, President & CEO at KomBea Corp, rushing about the office, running through halls and to desks simply to "express some urgency" to his fellow employees.
"Not only did Art impacted the urgency that day but as the story of what he has done spread, he impacted the urgency of our contact center for many many days, even years to come," Weisler explained. "Great leaders impact the culture in a positive powerful way. They create a legacy and a cultural norm that creates a higher standard and a better experience for everyone."
Weisler pointed out that, in the midst of the virus, many agents had different shifts and were unintentionally executing the virus within the contact center.
"Our first attempt was to send everyone an email saying don't open your email," he paused as the audience laughed. "Has anyone ever tried anything ineffective like that?"
The next attempt made by the contact center was to paper the entire building with fliers, most of which went unread by employees. "We were self-inflicting [the virus] in a miserable way," he remembered.
The final attempt, Weisler said, was to go desk to desk, employee to employee, and explain the situation and effective tactics against the virus.
"What should have been a first resort was sadly our last resort," Weisler regretted. "....The most important thing we can do is care enough to connect....All the cool things we create just magnify the culture we create together."
Weisler mentioned Zappos as an example, the online shoe and clothing store, known for good customer service and a fun employee atmosphere. "Leaders change lives for the better. Forever....The more that we invest in doing that, the more we'll see that investment pay off as it rolls out to the customers we are impacted by that experience."
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