Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I Want to Work at a Call Centre!

Today it seems call centres just don’t get any respect. We are loved (when we get rid of problems) yet despised when solutions don’t come quick enough or to our satisfaction. Most of us have experienced these highs and lows. So what makes one call centre stand-out against the others as a great place to work and in turn, a business that will shine? It's pretty simple, really, and those of us in the business, may need to be reminded about.....

These three things:

1. How we treat our front line staff

Treat staff fairly when it comes to life issues; be there when they need some advice; let them know right away when they handled a call really well (they probably just saved a valuable Customer after all); reward them for good performance (a free dinner or event is a very big deal for a Representative who rarely ever gets invited to these things).

2. Fair compensation for the work performed

Check local businesses with similar call centre requirements to make sure you are offering fair compensation (this includes the extras your organization offers such as discounts on your product or service, and benefits - money is a real issue for someone making $10-$15 per hour) - as a result there may be added stresses on the people in your call centre - be sensitive to this and you will come to understand the people in your call centre are actually a very resilient bunch.

3. It’s about the environment

Working in tight spaces exacerbate some of the common "people interaction" problems we all experience (you try having to sit 5 feet away from someone for 8 hours and you soon will realize how difficult this can be to deal with on a day to day basis); brighten up their area with sunlight, add plants, paint, art, let them brighten the area with their own creations; keep your centre extra clean and manage your "problem" people effectively to reduce the stress of others in your call centre (brightening the environment often improves attitudes, your customers will notice this as well).

In October, CMA's Contact Centre Council will be hosting a 1/2 day Best Practices Forum - bringing together senior Call Centre leaders with hands-on experience to share practices that have made a real difference in their Centres - the outcome will be documented and then shared with the call centre industry. If this is something you would like to participate in, please express your interest directly to contactcouncils@the-cma.org.

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