Cultivating a productive call center environment involves optimizing many different facets of its operations. From facility design to computer systems and software integrations, all aspects of your call center that impact its internal atmosphere can affect employee performance.
The power your call center environment has over your staff’s overall level of productivity cannot be overestimated. Abiding by the various best practices covered in this article can help in keeping your call center’s environment both welcoming and productive. Read on for actionable tips and advice.
Training for a Better Workplace
Your call center is only as good as its agents. After all, they are the ones on the front lines, listening to callers’ concerns and helping them reach successful solutions throughout the day.
A better call center environment begins with properly trained and well-adjusted personnel. Here are a few key ideas to consider that can help your staff consistently achieve more:
Not merely allowing agents to cooperate in solving their callers’ problems, but actively encouraging them to do so helps boost employee satisfaction across the board, it helps foster a more social spirit of camaraderie across your workforce.
As agents interact with peers on their team, they learn from one another, leverage each other’s strengths and derive greater satisfaction from their daily work. By acknowledging and encouraging such open cooperation between your team members, you nurture all manner of positive associations they have with their jobs and coworkers.
An important facet of cooperation among call center employees is the way in which they communicate with each other and their clients.
The most apparent element of communication that affects the environment in your call center is loudness. The raw decibels individual agents produce should be kept to a minimum. Loud noises break agents’ ability to focus, potentially disrupting multiple caller interactions at once.
Break-Time and Shift Management
Another pivotal role played by your employees in maintaining a functional call center environment involves when, where and how they take breaks from their work. Breaks are incredibly important throughout the day to help your agents stave off burnout and sensory overload; however, if their break time is particularly frequent and spent alongside coworkers who are still on the clock, problems with performance can quickly arise.
To keep things working smoothly while individual team members are taking a break, you should ensure there is a suitable space away from the main floor that they can retreat to. This liberates active agents from unneeded distractions and provides employees on break with a more satisfying, refreshing period away from their stations.
When it comes to fostering better behavior and improving morale across your workforce, rewards play a particularly important role. Through thoughtful acknowledgement of performance, you can incentivize team members to take their own actions on the job more seriously. This makes putting effort into theirs jobs more promising for your agents, boosting their enjoyment and the resultant emotional atmosphere of your call center in the process.
For customer support representatives, ambiguity is the thief of joy. However, this applies to more than their dealings with peers and people with product or service-related questions. Unclear goals make a customer support representative’s daily job more stressful than it needs to be.
Should your employees attend to a higher quantity of callers or focus on deeply satisfying each caller with whom they interact? Should they limit the times they put callers on hold or favor frequent holds over transfers? These are the types of concerns and potential dilemmas that create distance between individual employees and their jobs. Expectations need to be laid out as clearly as possible early on.
Clearly establish your agents’ performance objectives right from the start to ensure they are empowered to grow into their roles. A robust speech analytics solution can help call center managers monitor agent performance and take action to implement additional training and development to support excellent agent performance. With real-time call quality monitoring, managers can provide personalized feedback and coaching, ultimately resulting in better-performing agents and increased customer satisfaction.
For information on call center agent attrition and how interaction analytics can help to curb it, take a look at our white paper, Understanding How Interaction Analytics Can Reduce Agent Attrition.
Focusing on the physical design of your call center can drastically improve your team members’ perceptions of it as a work environment.
Here are a few helpful things you can incorporate into the design of your call center’s space:
Seating and Desks
Providing your personnel with comfortable seats and ample space to work at their desks keeps their physical stress to a minimum, making them much more likely to achieve greater focus on the job.
The space that individual team leaders and managers occupy is often an overlooked element in the design of a call center; however, it is especially important that care be taken not to place managers in poor locations. If team leaders are to have offices of their own, then it is imperative that they have clear visibility of the floor and easy access to other team members’ workspaces for more effective monitoring.
Technology and Infrastructure
Although technological investments in VoIP systems and related gear may seem obvious for a call center to operate, there are a few less obvious investments worth keeping in mind if you are looking to improve your center’s internal environment.
Investing in a high-quality climate control system for your floor can do wonders for the comfort level of your workforce and keep them from feeling distracted by extreme temperatures while they work.
The right lighting system makes a genuine difference in everyone’s perception of your workspace, but this concept extends beyond mere fixtures. You should consider incorporating the use of natural light wherever possible to help naturally regulate your team members’ moods. Long periods spent indoors without access to any natural light can make many people feel depressed, which negatively impacts their lives in many ways — including their time spent at work.
Wherever natural lighting is not an option, you can make use of LED lights instead of fluorescent ones to better mimic sunlight.
Creating an optimal call center environment for your staff members may not be easy, but it is well worth the effort and planning. The best practices in this article should serve you well in optimizing your call center’s operations.
How does your call center maintain a productive environment?