How To Power Contact Center Communication Culture

Encourage managers and agents to interact with one another.

As you observe the operation of your call center, watch your managers and administrative staff as they conduct their daily duties. Have you ever noticed that most of their work centers around one another?  Even most call center executives who truly interact with their agents still embody a sense of “me before they.”  Those managers, literally and symbolically, are not creating a communication culture that will ensure success.

If you were to take your supervisors and administrative staff aside and ask them what their jobs are, chances are that not one would answer that their jobs are to create a tremendous communication culture in the call center on behalf of their agents.  People don’t think that way!  They may say that they manage people, train people, support people and create an environment to meet and exceed performance standards.  While those are all accurate answers, those answers are not enough to generate the best possible call center.

Reform poor communication culture habits.

Here are some common examples of poor communication culture in the call center:

  1. An administrative assistant works to support the call center floor. She is a conduit of communication between agents and staff.  Her job is to support agents, but she doesn’t see it that way. Clearly, agents get more done when she is most helpful.  Yet, this administrative assistant sees agents as barriers to getting her work completed.  She puts up signs directing agents to go elsewhere when she is busy completing an important assignment.  She doesn’t recognize that agents are her first priority.  She complains to others when agents ask her for assistance.
  2. A supervisor wants to monitor agent calls.  He also wishes to spend time motivating his group.  However, he finds his time is disrupted with reports and paperwork.  His agents come to him often for help on various issues, but he begs their forgiveness and asks them to come back at a later date so he can complete his project.  He knows his first priority is his staff, but he recognizes the penalties if he doesn’t complete his other projects.  His other projects are deemed more important.
  3. A senior executive is losing her sense of what is going on in her call center, and she can’t help but enjoy her job more and more because of it.  When she first began working in this call center, she was intimately involved with everything going on.  Slowly, her duties caused her to drift away from operations, and her subordinates picked up the slack.  In today’s world, she is busy in meetings and planning sessions that directly involve her call center, but she is beginning to forget the names of various agents, and where they sit.  Agents who began working for the company two years ago are still considered “new” in her mind.

What you read above is typical of many call center organizations.  Management becomes engrossed in its duties at the expense of the employees.  Yet most managers don’t want this to be the case.  They understand that they need to address their agents more.  They simply have lost sight of how to begin implementation.

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