Published: January 09, 2013 | Comments
When people hear that I work in a contact center, they often assume the most important aspect of my job is to interact with customers and help resolve any problem they may be having. While that may be true, an equally important aspect of my job is to convey that same sense of value and compassion to my co-workers. When a sense of community and collaboration is established between you and your colleagues, both the customers and the agents in the contact center will reap the benefits.
A fundamental aspect of my job in the contact center is to approach phone conversations with a sense of empathy. One of the phrases that we emphasize at Sitel is to treat each customer as you would your own family member. Simply asking a customer "how are you doing today?" can start that conversation in a positive and productive way. I try to follow that same approach when interacting with my colleagues. By inquiring about their well-being or asking if there is anything I can get for them, that co-worker’s attitude will be uplifted and can change their whole approach to how they then interact with our callers that day.
The initial interaction with your colleagues is only one way to improve the culture and overall success rate in your call center. Camaraderie must be genuine and reinforced on a frequent basis. When done properly, a sense of community is reinforced and ultimately can result in improved employee performance. One suggestion is to occasionally rearrange the seats in a contact center so employees have the opportunity to interact with a variety of co-workers, including colleagues they may have never worked with previously. While it may seem like a small change, the benefits can be enormous. By interacting with others that share your experiences and challenges, individuals can discuss new ideas and perspectives.
Finally, positive reinforcements in our centers are the backbone to Sitel’s success. When one of our colleagues achieves something or makes a positive impact for their team, we let them know! Simply taking someone out to lunch or giving them a small gift card is an effective way to show them that their hard work is recognized and appreciated. And positive reinforcement often results in a ripple effect throughout the organization; when someone I have shown my appreciation for sees another colleague working hard and succeeding, they will often recognize their work in the same way.
Both the agents and the customers benefit when a sense of community is established within the contact center.
EDITOR'S NOTE: As Stella showed us, great leaders make great teams! How are you leading your team's culture? Email or Tweet us: @CallCenterICMI