A company’s work environment isn’t just about air conditioning, water cooler chats, and table tennis. Employees, especially call center agents, spend a significant portion of their lives at work. Your call center or contact center environment plays a big role in how engaged your agents are in their day-to-day work.
What is a healthy work environment?
Healthy work environments are usually positive workplaces that value employee health and wellness, education, growth, and goal achievement. Employees that work in positive environments usually perform better, and feel more happy and comfortable.
Some common attributes of a healthy work environment include:
- Recognition and praise.
- Physically comfortable workspace.
- Open communication.
- Encouraging career growth.
- Work-life balance.
Some common attributes of an unhealthy work environment include:
- Workplace gossip.
- Burnt out employees.
- Little to no career growth or learning opportunities.
- High employee turnover.
How does a call center environment affect agents?
A work environment plays a great role in a company’s culture, productivity, and overall success. It also impacts employee engagement and retention. Did you know that 58% of employees who have quit their jobs cited negative office politics as a reason? Contrarily, 58% of employees said they would stay working for a company with a lower salary if they had a great boss.
Here are some ways that your work environment affects your agents:
- Customer experience.
- Agent morale.
- Agent turnover.
DID YOU KNOW?
Web Call-Backs (formerly Visual IVR), Voice Call-Backs, and Smart Routing are all great tools to decrease call volume, improve customer satisfaction, and in turn, improve agent productivity and overall work experience.
8 tips for creating an ideal call center environment.
Your call center environment affects so many key functions of your operations. Agent turnover, customer experience, morale, and productivity are all vital components of a call center that you should make sure are in a good state. Here are some tips to improve your call center environment:
1. Have a clear vision and values.
Your team vision and values are great tools to motivate call center agents, assist them in decision-making, and unite them as a team.
A clear vision defines a call center’s purpose and future goals. Strong values guide your workplace culture, and help you attract talent with similar values. Your management team should be transparent on how agents can adopt these values and answer any questions they might have.
2. Create a comfortable and inviting workspace.
Do you feel at ease physically and emotionally in the call center? If you don’t, chances are your agents don’t either.
Your work environment should be comfortable because your agents spend so much time there. Evaluate the desks, chairs, lighting, air quality, and noise levels to ensure they’re conducive to a productive environment for your team.
If anything feels uncomfortable, make some upgrades. Improve your air ventilation, or invest in some ergonomic chairs. These upgrades can make agents feel drastically better at work each day. Also, give your agents some freedom in how they personalize their space. Photos of loved ones and plants might make them feel more comfortable.
3. Recognize agents for strong performance.
Don’t just focus on sales goals and revenue. Your agents will not appreciate being seen as workhorses. Recognition and praise are part of any healthy work environment, and also improve agent engagement. Your agents provide excellent customer support and go above and beyond to ensure a great customer experience.
Find ways to recognize your agents for the great work they do each day. If you notice impeccable service in your call monitoring or see positive customer service reviews online, use that as an excuse to celebrate! Say thank you, and offer your agents praise and rewards for a job well done. It can be as small as a free lunch or an earlier end to a shift. Or, you could go one step further and develop a performance incentive program.
4. Encourage collaboration.
Your work environment is more positive when people are collaborating. As a manager, you’re responsible for giving your agents opportunities to come together and feel connected, while also fulfilling your call center goals.
Make time for team-building exercises, group projects, joint outings, parties, and other events to keep your team connected. This is especially necessary if any of your team is working from home.
5. Offer training and learning opportunities.
Your agents will have more confidence in serving customers if they have the proper training. Don’t just provide training during onboarding – put focus on providing ongoing learning opportunities so your agents can stay up to date with product/service knowledge, best practices, and more.
By offering your agents tips and tricks throughout their tenure, it gives them the opportunity to consistently improve. Explore call center training workshops, conferences, and mentoring to provide more learning opportunities.
6. Communicate well, and often.
Your agents spend most of their workday on the front lines talking to customers. So, it’s easy for them to feel disconnected from management and the team – especially if they are working remotely.
Managers and leaders must communicate well and often with their agents, especially before making decisions about call center operations. Lack of communication can breed distrust and low morale, both of which contribute to a negative work environment.
Host regular meetings to listen to your agents’ feedback, observations, and opinions. In turn, managers can discuss their operational goals and use agents’ input to inform operational decisions. You might also consider investing in strong messaging chat software to encourage communication between team members.
Regular communication is great, but it should also be clear. Make sure you share your call center’s performance goals and desired agent objectives immediately. Your agents should know exactly what you expect from them, and feel empowered to pursue their goals.
7. Schedule effectively.
Strategic scheduling makes a world of a difference in agent satisfaction and call center productivity. Ensure you have a proper call volume forecast set up to aid your scheduling efforts.
Make sure you have enough agents, including agents with experience, for times of immense call volume. Avoid scheduling newer agents during peak periods, so they aren’t left overwhelmed. You should also account for regular breaks to ensure your agents don’t burn out.
8. Invest in technology.
Proper technology is essential for agents to do their jobs well. If your office computers are slow and outdated, your agents will find difficulty even in the most straightforward tasks. That’s why it’s so important to assess your technology regularly and make the required upgrades.
You should also invest in the right call center technology to keep your call center operations productive and your agents at top efficiency. This will improve your work environment, since your team members will have one less reason to find something negative about work.
Your call center’s efficiency and productivity come down to how your agents feel in their work environment. Improve agent morale and satisfaction by investing in their workspace and taking the time to improve their day-to-day work.