How Running a Marathon Will Inspire Your Contact Center Team global running day

How Running a Marathon Will Inspire Your Contact Center Team

Global Running Day celebrates the history of running. It highlights the runners’ skills, challenges, and the passion of those who have chosen this discipline as a hobby or profession. On the occasion of this global celebration held in June, we bring together the stories of three running enthusiasts at Playvox who conquer marathons worldwide and learn from their running experiences how to fuel their personal and professional ambitions. Explore how Laurens Weekenstroo, Daniela Lopez, and Jana Debusk will inspire your contact center team to prepare for their next sprint and foster a winning culture, learning from continuous improvement.  

How are running disciplines similar to the hectic life of a contact center, and what has the Playvox team learned from this global movement?

Runners Unlock Their Full Potential

The most competitive runners have extensive experience conquering various distances, styles, and terrains. Creating a training plan with milestones helps you measure your progress and identify activities you feel most comfortable with. A winning mentality is built from small victories, and the key is to save a recurring space in your agenda with which you can commit and be constant. 

How Running a Marathon Will Inspire Your Contact Center Team global running day

For Laurens Weekenstroo, Senior Support Engineer at Playvox, finding a supportive team between the crowd and the finishing line motivates his race experiences.  During his last race in Barcelona, his family cheered for him on one side of the track, encouraging him through the last mile.  “When I run, I am focused on results. My last 10K exceeded all my expectations, and that was magical. I started fast, and I was waiting for a clash to happen. But I was in the zone, focused on the people around me. I had friends running with me, and I never got tired. The last few kilometers of a marathon are always biblical because of your emotions. The number of people on the sidelines and music everywhere is energizing”.

Like Laurens, agents also experience moments of running that last sprint where engaging with people cheering is critical. The contact center space requires extra engagement and collaboration since agents and supervisors support each other to meet collective targets.  

Laurens found his greatest passion while doing his minor in Creative Technology and believes that setting clear goals fuels his running. He started his training based on a Playvox Fit challenge to run 100k in a month.  “Running has taught me discipline. It is not easy to get better; you put in much effort and sacrifice, change your habits, and learn to adhere to a schedule. I ate a sandwich for my first race and took the metro to the start line; I had no idea what I was going into. I didn’t even warm up. Now I eat spaghetti for breakfast before the start, and a thorough warm-up including some stretching and sprints”.

Runners collect memories of journeys, races, photos in the final stretch, t-shirts, and medals, and for Laurens, having people motivating and encouraging runners is fundamental. In his races, he looks for pacesetters and encourages other athletes to make it to the finish line.  “There is an interesting story about a marathon runner that says that whenever he is in pain, he starts smiling; the emotion of joy reduces the pain just by smiling,” says Laurens, reinforcing the importance of attitude and maintaining focus to face his challenges. 

The same approach that keeps Laurens training for his next race resembles how contact center professionals could adapt to challenges and deal with unexpected situations. Overpassing an obstacle requires consistency and a mindset change to exceed your expectations. “Follow your heart and do what you love. Enjoy the little things. We work to live and not the other way around. We will have different weather; there might be rain and hard terrain, but we will move forward”. 

Runners Adapt and Embrace the Journey

Daniela Lopez, Onboarding Manager at Playvox has been in our global team for three years supporting our customers’ experience. Running at the best time, reaching the finish line in good physical condition, and overcoming the mental barrier of fatigue and the pressure of reaching the final stretch are skills she had acquired over time.

Like any sporting discipline, running has a technical dimension and requires physical and socio-emotional abilities. Physical and mental preparation are equally important. 

“Goal setting is part of the mindset that comes with lifelong learning. The discipline of running teaches you to overcome challenges and prepare for new experiences”, adds Daniela, reinforcing how having a coach in your career is essential for improvement and feedback. 

Daniela started running during the pandemic. During the quarantine and with isolation, she was determined to change her habits to manage confinement and her sedentary lifestyle. She started going for a walk, then she tried jogging, and soon after, she discovered that she liked running.  In November 2023, Daniela started preparing for her favorite distance, her first 21 kilometers. She started following nutrition plans, caring for her physical condition, and investing more time in training.  Suddenly, Daniela shifted from preparing for interval sprints and longer distances to learning from a coach and joining a team of runners to create a plan with realistic goals.

How Running a Marathon Will Inspire Your Contact Center Team global running day

She is passionate about training discipline and it  has also left her with great lessons for her professional career. “My meditation is running. When I run, I am free,” she explains. The same discipline that Daniela acquired in her training has helped her identify the importance of commitment, time management, and prioritization, significantly benefiting her emotional well-being.

Runners Prepare in Advance for Their Next Sprint 

For Jana Debusk, Sr. Manager of Product Operations, running teaches her about goal-setting, patience, and appreciating incremental improvement.  “I recently took on a slew of new responsibilities here at Playvox, and I found that the lessons I’d learned in the running carried over to expanding my horizons professionally”, says Jana.

Starting with the Indy half marathon three years ago allowed Jana to overcome her fear and resistance and sign up for new challenges even though she didn’t consider herself a “runner”.  She also participated in a race against racism in Northwest Indiana. On this track, runners showed up for community support, showing how races are also a great way to express support for social causes.   

“For half marathons, I’ll follow a plan where I run 2-3 miles three times a week, cross-train on my non-running days, and then do one long run per week. Each week, I’ll add a mile”, describing her monthly training.  “I reached out to everyone I knew who had done endurance training and devoured articles, podcasts… any running resources I could get my hands on,” explains Jana, who usually trains 12 weeks in advance for every race. Though grueling at first, she now enjoys her outdoor long runs in what she describes as “looking up at the sky and noticing how the tops of the trees make shapes against the blue.”

How Running a Marathon Will Inspire Your Contact Center Team global running day

One of the most significant learnings for runners is that you can identify aspects that lead you to improve daily in each race. Runners try new shoes, clothing, and techniques based on the learnings and mistakes of their previous races. Practice makes perfect by helping them identify how to improve their cadence, speed, acceleration, and mental attitude. 

“A favorite mentor and former boss used to tell me, ‘It’s a marathon, not a sprint!’ This allowed me to release the pressure I’d built up around myself and give myself more grace. I advise young professionals to train up, keep your competitive edge, try your absolute best, and don’t forget to enjoy the scenery as you’re running it!”

How Running a Marathon Will Inspire Your Contact Center Team global running day

Steady Runs Prepare You for Faster Races

Coaches suggest runners eat carbs to fuel their bodies with energy. The same happens in the workplace. Companies must find their spark to fuel their team’s motivation. The best practices in the running field can translate to training for the best performance of your contact center. Many business leaders, entrepreneurs, and organizations use daily routines and lean methodologies to improve productivity and build high-performance teams. 

Start by creating a steady run plan for your team and your business inspired by the running discipline by following these three steps: 

1. In a Contact Center Environment, the Right Leader Will Motivate Your Team

  • In running, it is usual to become obsessed with winning and surpassing one’s record. If you lead a team or support your colleagues to accomplish a quarterly goal, remember that every team member needs motivation and empowerment.
  • Stick with what works best for you. Best management practices include incorporating habits for prioritization, decluttering your email inbox, communicating with remote teams, stakeholders, and employees, or enhancing your work with the right tools and real-time intelligence. 

2. Implement Daily Workplace Routines to Increase Personal and Team Productivity

  • If you were training for a race, you should build up your training and increase your time every week. Start with 15 minutes and then progress to an hour. Like running requires consistency,  business environments require business support, assessing and diagnosing incremental and achievable goals. 
  • When teams collaborate to achieve results and embed agile methodologies in their daily work, they create a culture where improvement and failure are possible. All team members are running the extra mile, adapting to habits, and delivering better results, but they must also enjoy the process. 
  • Many athletes prepare demandingly to train without considering their limits, so it is also essential to be attentive to signs of fatigue, manage pain, or even monitor the state of your joints.  A better diet and rest are a must to improve your results.

3. Inspire a Running Discipline to Foster Creativity and Team Building in Your Next Gamification Strategy

Distance is not an obstacle to encourage your colleagues to prepare for their next challenge. For remote teams, your agents can share their running experiences and how they prepare for the next race. You can also spark innovation and creativity in the workplace while guiding your people through the hard miles of system outages, technical problems, demanding customers, and objection handling. 

  • Create a gamification campaign or an internal contest inspired by a race where your agents accomplish virtual kilometers and medals while improving their metrics.
  • Create internal campaigns to boost sales, manage high call volume, or improve customer experience. Identify your Help Desk team’s motivation and define incremental changes through coaching. 

A supportive team in the workplace and the running field will ignite any athlete’s potential, reinforcing the importance of collaboration, learning from your peers, and encouraging active listening.  An agent’s personal best or race completion will require adaptability, a constant pace, continuous effort and resilience. 

When was the last time you joined a race? Sign up today for the best sprint preparing your team with the best tools for success! Prepare for a successful race by trusting Playvox to build your team’s performance. Discover more about how our solutions help you improve your agent and customer experience here.

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