Log into your programs, put your headset on and turn on your phone. That first call of the day means so little to you because you take hundreds of calls a week that are exactly like the one you are about to take. The work environment of a call center rep can make this moment worthless or worthwhile and can dictate your overall career with that company.
I work in a fairly large call center (over a hundred reps) that has no workplace morale or culture. I’m not just saying that to be dramatic – we actually received a letter from the president when we started that their job is not to build morale but to provide service for our customers. Truthfully, I didn’t know much about contact center culture until recently when a close friend of mine, a manager in a different call center, began dissecting my work complaints and dictating how I, a lowly tier one rep, should advise our management on changes. Truthfully I haven’t taken much of it to heart because I do not see myself with this company for an extended period of time. And this, as stated by my friend, is where the problem lies… decent and hardworking employees like me leaving companies because they do not empower or appreciate us.
Obviously, my center has a huge turnover rate. Since I was hired 7 months ago, we have taken on somewhere over a hundred new reps, granted to fill new shifts but nonetheless people are rolling in almost daily. Our company boasts strong customer service but honestly, we don’t track it. We don’t have any programs, surveys or data proving that our customers find our service strong. The way we are tracked is by the number of calls we take and the amount of time in “not ready” which includes break time and time doing any work related item that requires us to be off the phone. This alone sets the precedent for a lot of my coworkers as to how they spend their days. Most of them don’t care about call totals or not ready, because it has no impact on us. You don’t get an award for the most calls taken or even a nod from the manager – we are simply “drones” as my peers say.
The point of all this is that if your center is anything like mine, your employees are miserable and constantly looking for another job. They start to hate the customers, the management, and their coworkers. They complain about work all the time and consider becoming servers, retail workers, or even janitors (I have heard this before) to get out of this job. Creating a culture in your center and genuinely caring about your reps will make a huge difference and save your company a ton of money in the process. Hiring new people isn’t cheap and training them is practically a fortune – but if you try to keep the good employees around, they will then garner a positive work environment for the next round of reps (when you finally have to hire again). Simple things can create a sense of pride in their work and a better representative of your company on the phones. You will have stronger service if your reps enjoy coming to work and believe in your company. They may not be making any big decisions, but they are the voice of your company and if they aren’t treated with respect and appreciation, I guarantee they won’t treat your customers with it either. So make the choice to make their first call of the day worthless or worthwhile. If you were the rep, how would you feel about the call?
Today's contribution was made by an anonymous call center employee.