In today’s competitive professional marketplace, company culture is often the dividing line between keeping rock star employees or losing them to competitors. Some roles are particularly important to foster a positive company culture, and customer service agents in your call center are one of these critical roles. Your call center is the front line of your business and often the only people who will interact with paying customers. A positive, vibrant and collaborative call center is more successful than a group of bored, burnt-out customer service agents.
When building a call center culture, it’s important to take steps to recognize each agent individually, but also create a culture where everyone is working together for a common goal. Follow these tips we’ve gathered on how to achieve this goal and build a positive call center culture:
Games are a great way to boost morale and incite fun competition among agents. They can also do double duty for you by training your call center staff. Think of a goal that breeds healthy competition but also moves your business goals forward. Do you want to upsell more customers? Make this the purpose of the game. Do you want to retain more customers who threaten to leave? Make this the goal. Then pick a game for your agents to race against each other during a set timeframe. Or think about how you could leverage age-old games you played as a kid for your call center:
To pull together the competition and make it easier for you and more centralized for your call center, consider implementing call center software if you haven’t already. This type of software can share real-time performance against key metrics with the entire organization so that agents know how they are performing both as an individual and as a team.
Despite the frequent customer interactions, being a customer service agent can feel like a lonely job. If you can get agents collaborating with each other, they’ll feel more connected to both the team and the company goals. Start building your call center collaboration by integrating your call center software with collaborative chat tools like Slack. When employees are able to chat with each other and keep in contact, it’s easier for them to ask for help, give fast answers, build camaraderie, get coached and avoid being alone, even if they aren’t physically co-located with their colleagues.
You can also create collaboration through training — send agents to a professional networking event, have them listen to a webinar or take online courses together then participate in a discussion afterward. Host monthly meetings where everyone is encouraged to share positive and negative feedback and kudos with their colleagues. Creating team projects or assigning tasks to groups of people can also foster a collaborative culture while helping to knock-off some bigger projects you might want to get done this year.
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By offering specialization to your customer service agents, you’re accomplishing two things:
Given that 67% of customer churn is preventable if the customer issue was resolved at the first engagement, it benefits your business to spend the money on training agents to become specialized. They’ll be able to solve issues on the first call and prevent customers from leaving.
A lot of great tools exist today to allow coworkers to chat and network online. Some of the most popular are Slack, HipChat or Facebook Groups. Set up an internal company chat and specialized rooms to share jokes, articles, kudos or company news. Create a private Facebook Group that agents can join and use to set up team softball nights, happy hours or celebrate birthdays. These types of social networking tools are how most people connect with their friends and family, so allowing your customer service agents to communicate with each other in these ways will help cultivate workplace friendships and goodwill.
If you looked around the call center, how does it appear? Are there gray walls and cubicles? If you have to sit in a cubicle on the phone for eight hours and look at gray walls, this probably wouldn’t be very motivating. It’s inexpensive to decorate a call center and can work wonders to boost morale. Think about how you can add motivational balloons and posters. Consider painting the walls an uplifting color. Add a “Quote Board” whiteboard where agents can write down funny things colleagues have said. Host an Adult Coloring Party after work or at lunch one day, then use all of the colored images to cover a boring, white wall.
Follow these five tips, and your company will have an awesome call center culture that every agent will brag about to their friends. This will increase employee job satisfaction, prevent you from spending money on finding and hiring new employees, and just make your company an overall better place to work.