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Have you ever thought about what makes a leader different from a manager? Is it skills and experience? Expertise? Natural talent?

Think about it this way. Loggers in a forest are working away at their task of felling trees and trying to find the best way forward to clear out their allotted space effectively and on schedule. Attempting to get some perspective on the issue, one logger climbs a nearby tree and, after surveying the area, yells, “We’re in the wrong forest!”

Another logger on the ground level turns and yells back, “Shut up, we’re making progress!”

The logger on the ground is a manager, only able to see what is directly in front of them, while the logger in the trees tries to lead their team with intelligence, wisdom, and clarity of vision. The difference is that the latter used a better perspective to help their team do their jobs better and avoid problems.

Likewise, leaders in business use insights and intelligence to help their teams with customer engagement and sales.

Shifting from management to leadership mindsets with insight

In call centers, many leaders at all levels end up acting as managers because they don’t have access to a better perspective, whether that is through new strategies or tools and technologies. Insight, in the case of call centers, is what gives you that better perspective. And it helps you avoid seeing things only from the ground level.

Consider how your company responds to changes in customer purchasing behaviors. Often, marketing will look at broader trends or survey data to better understand changing consumer wants and needs. Ultimately, market testing and revision will lead to a new, released product. That kind of response cycle can take a long time in a digital sales environment, and that’s because this approach is only from the limited scope of view for marketers that want to build an agile sales operation.

However, unlike our leader in the tree, you’re getting a lot of data all the time. Data comes in like a fast-running stream, and the sales trends, customer behaviors, and actionable insights are hidden in that data stream. Most of us will miss key trends because we default to looking at urgent issues rather than the broader—and often more important—trends. Responsiveness to broader trends can be reflected in changes to products, services, and customer treatment approaches. The ability to identify actionable insights from the data stream helps keep leaders focused on building a better business.

Leading your people to drive engagement and satisfaction

Of course, recognizing changing consumer trends is important, but how does that impact your agents? While ongoing training programs can help them respond more effectively to shifting trends, real responsiveness calls for flexibility in your processes that agents can leverage to capitalize on new data insights as they happen. Even better, you can launch proactive campaigns to empower your agents and satisfy customers with useful, customized service.

For example, what if you expect a high number of loan defaults? Using insights based on data around loan default numbers and other metrics, you can more accurately identify those who are likely to default and initiate a proactive outreach program. Customers are relieved because you’re willing to work with them on a resolution, and your agents are happier because they’re not perceived as villains but rather as part of an effort to work with families who are already under tremendous stress.

This example is one of potentially dozens of scenarios that show how useful data can inform insights, create a better perspective for you and your team, and open up unseen opportunities (or even help avoid challenging situations).  Consider insights like the following:

Example of a profile dashboard

Not only do you see real-time activity, but you also see things such as potential brand affinity and interests. This kind of intelligence is your way to see the forest despite the trees, to get a bigger picture of your operations to truly guide your team—to step up from being a manager to being a leader. Instead of managing with limited information, a new leadership approach is possible. With data-driven tools like Microsoft Azure and Dynamics 365, you can get agile, always-on customer engagement powered with AI to give you a true 360-degree view of your business operations.

In this series of articles, we have discussed how insight can impact your business operations. Getting access to that insight and making it actionable allows you to drive real value in your company.

Read other articles in this series. [link]