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Add Humor to the Contact Center

diverse meeting Contact centers can be pretty stressful, whether you are a manager, supervisor, or an agent. It can turn agents and leadership into disgruntled employees. When we have disgruntled employees around the contact center and who are considered to be the first contact for a customer inquiry, it’s unlikely the level of customer service offered is going to be what the customer expects.

Also, stress can take a toll on our agents or leadership teams. An international poll conducted by Monster in 2014 found that 42% of US respondents have left a job due to an overly stressful environment. Workplace stress has also caused an additional 35% to consider changing jobs. A related Monster US survey has found that 55% of respondents experience very stressful lives; this percentage rises to 57% when specifically related to work stress. Only 3% of respondents report experiencing no stress in their work life.

Maybe humor can help. A Psychology Today article quotes two different studies which found that overall use of humor tends to decrease stress. Positive forms of humor like telling jokes and using jokes to make people feel better about themselves were related to feelings of social support, which decreased stress.

Here are some of the benefits of humor in the workplace, according to a recent Forbes article:

  • People enjoy working with people they like
  • Humor is a good stress-buster
  • Brings supervisors and agents together
  • It puts people at ease
  • Increases creativity in the workplace
  • Builds trust and boost morale
  • Makes people more approachable
  • Increases productivity by placing people in a positive frame of mind
  • And the great thing about this de-stressor at work is that it's completely free.

This is why I've taken on the role of injecting some weekly (workplace-appropriate) humor into our contact center. Here are some tips on how I incorporate humor:

  • In the office or onSkype or MS Teams meetings, I try to have a little light fun with our staff.
  • Each week I send out an email with a funny meme followed by a few updates.
  • Our newsletters contain a joke section
  • Occasionally I send out funny JibJab videos with faces of the leadership team.
  • Training presentations include funny memes or YouTube videos

I believe these little interactions build a bond with agents and contact center leadership.

Adding humor to the contact center makes the workday feel a little more enjoyable, especially since we spend over eight hours of our day interacting with each other to get various tasks done, and some of these interactions can be quite challenging, or the calls our agents take which can be stressful. Having a reason to laugh when the humor isn’t directed at callers, fellow agents, or leadership helps to facilitate a positive work environment for everyone.