Know What Agents are Thinking: Look at the Job Through the Agents’ Eyes

It’s not an understatement to say that management’s perception of the call center and the way agents view it is quite different from what agents perceive. For instance, an analyst once asked a senior executive why agents in his call center didn’t turn over as rapidly as the industry average. (Retention was fantastic.) The executive said, “Because we provide an outstanding management team and we pay better than the competition.” However, when the analyst sampled the agents, their consensus was a little different: “Management doesn’t pay attention to extra lunches, leaving early and coming in late. We are asked to 101 Lessons Cover 192x300 Know What Agents are Thinking: Look at the Job Through the Agents’ Eyesperform, and we know performing is what we need to do. They provides us flexibility, they treat us like adults, they let us perform at our pace.”

Mediocre management looks at call centers through their own prisms. They see their world as one that can be impacted based on their decisions. They make decisions on seating arrangements, project assignments, compensation, policies and procedures, contests, etc, based on their assessments. Agents understand that management does this, and it bothers them immeasurably. In lunch meetings, break conversations and after work, agents talk to one another about how management makes decisions without bringing agents in the loop. In essence, management “makes decisions without consulting us on what is really going on.” And management makes decisions that, often, management can’t abide by, themselves. Such as, when management says no looking at cell phones during the shift, while management is on their phone the entire shift. Or, when management says to be on-time for your shift, while management comes in late for theirs.

How to build an amazing call center culture? First, strong management is perceptive about its call center team members. This means management recognizes the programs and policies it puts into place will impact the way agents perform. Also, management sets a culture of driving results and collaboration and confidence in one another. It means management understand that agents also set that culture through buying into the programs being established. Perception via one-another is very important. Relating, and empathy, putting yourself into one another shoes, really does go far in building amazing call center culture, and performance.

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