Asking questions begins the process of forming outstanding communication culture. Asking questions is the key to building communication, and relationships, in the call center. You will likely spend thousands of days walking down one aisle of the call center and up the next aisle, stopping at each cubicle merely to ask questions of your employees: “How are you today? What is new in your world? How did you do yesterday? Whatever happened to the XYZ issue? Is there anything I can do to help you today? Is there anything you need from me? Are you having a good day?”
These questions, while extremely basic, form the basis of a relationship. They build environment. These questions demonstrate to agents that management believes in more than a “do what I say” approach to call center supervision. Even when agents don’t have any feedback to provide, the asking of questions begins the process of simple discovery. Asking questions, and discovering information about another person, is a strong principle which only the best supervisors recognize. People want to feel as if they are valued, and they want to believe that their supervisor values them in a way that their supervisor doesn’t value other people. Showing interest in agents by asking questions to discover information about them sends that message.
Sometimes you will have an agent who is very extroverted when he has issues to bring to your office. Yet, other than that, he stays out of management’s way and remains at his desk. Therefore, in order to communicate to him in a way that builds communication culture, you should stop by his desk each morning two hours after the shift begins just to say, “How’s the day going?”
Even if his response is consistently “Terrible,” and your response is “Good, good to hear it,” the very act of asking a simple question regularly each day will condition him to understand that two hours into the shift you will come by to check on him. Over time, you will be able to see how his day is really going. When he has a great day, his tone and inflection will change from the days that are truly awful.
The goal in building communication culture with this agent, through question and discovery, was to show up on time each day and spend seven seconds inquiring how he was doing by using a simple question to evoke a simple response. This basic level of fun communication will help your agents become comfortable with your management style, and allow them to prosper in the environment.
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