The Top 5 Ways to Build Great Contact Center Culture
We’ve noted many times how important it is to establish strong contact center culture, and why. Productivity goes up because employees are happier and more engaged in the context of a strong culture. Turnover goes down, and it becomes a nicer place to be overall. How do you accomplish this, though? What are the practical ways to develop a strong contact center culture that makes a difference in the life of your company and that of each person who works with you? Here’s what we know.
“Maintaining an effective culture is so important that it, in fact, trumps even strategy.”
– Howard Stevenson
5: Really Try Hard to Find the Right People for the Right Jobs
Seriously. Don’t hire phone agents just because they speak English and have a pulse. We acknowledge that working in a contact center isn’t likely to be most people’s idea of a dream job, but if you want your customers and clients to succeed, then the people who work for you and them need to at least be motivated. Look for people who genuinely feel good about doing the kind of work your company specializes in, whether it’s sales or customer service or polling, or what have you. Also, do your due diligence. Check the references provided by prospective employees. Use technology to verify their psychological aptitude and ability to work in the way you’ll need them to.
4: Make Your Contact Center Culture Genuinely Fun
One of the most effective current trends in business improvement is gamification. By integrating strategic elements of what makes games rewarding into your work processes, you can sharply increase your employees’ productivity and engagement. They’ll find the work itself more enjoyable in many ways, and look forward to greater achievements.
There are other ways to make the workplace more fun, though, that perhaps come more naturally. Help your coworkers build relationships with each other by providing ways for them to communicate and collaborate, both on and off the clock. This can be as simple as getting everyone on company-wide chat groups, and by organizing after-hours events.
3: Reward Your People in Ways That They Find Meaningful
Gift cards for top performers can be fun, but if the top performer is consistently the same person, it stops being motivating for everyone else. Sometimes, your employees do their very best work and yet feel utterly unrecognized. This is disheartening, and even breeds resentment.
Recognize that your individual workers are each different people. They have different strengths, weaknesses, capacities, and talents. They also have different ideas about what makes a great reward for their hard work. Take the time to get to know each of them, and train your middle management to do the same. Find ways to reward each one of them for their personal best performance and significant accomplishments, and not just with money. Some people want free books, and others want extra vacation days, and someone else wants lunch with the CEO.
These strategies might cost a little extra sometimes, but “give until it hurts” is a really, really good way to get people to like you. You don’t have to vaporize the bottom line; just show the people who spend their time and energy in your call center that you’re willing to sacrifice at least a little for their happiness. Do all you can to show them you care about them, with rewards that mean something to them.
2: Establish Core Values and Hold Yourself Accountable for Living by Them
Nothing destroys culture and relationships faster than double standards. “Do as I say, but not as I do” is absolutely horrible management. Make sure that you are never, ever asking your employees to do anything that you are not literally willing to do yourself. Even Jeff Bezos, the richest person in modern history, takes training in an Amazon call center for two days every year. Why? Because excellent customer service is one of his company’s core values. He knows that he needs to live that value if he expects anyone else to. To do otherwise would just be hypocrisy.
So, when you work with your staff: show, don’t tell.
1: Remember That Numbers Don’t Tell You Everything You Need to Know
There’s a lot to be said for gathering data. Big Data is changing the way the world does business. Artificial intelligence is sifting through the terabytes of information companies generate, and creating powerful new iterations of every product and strategy.
At the end of the day, though, everything is about people. Not numbers, and not even dollars. People. Without people, you have no one to sell anything to, no one to make the things worth selling, no one doing the selling, and no one solving your problems or anyone else’s.
So, listen to your people. Pay attention to what your employees tell you about their experiences. You’ll understand why it was necessary to spend 30 minutes working with that customer instead of 5. When you listen, you can determine better whether a worker needs better training or more public recognition. Listening is key to understanding, and understanding is key to contact center culture.
At Perfect Pitch, we believe in these principles, and we live them. Our solutions themselves are based on the power of listening with a human heart, while leveraging the power of high technology to deliver better service than anyone else. Contact us today to make your own contact center Perfect-Pitch certified or to use our own existing platforms and call centers!