5 Tips to Create a Positive Call Center Work Environment

Care for Your Staff and They’re More Likely to Care for You and Your Callers

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Staffing a call center is hard. Keeping it staffed is getting harder. With finding new staff becoming increasingly challenging, retaining existing staff is even more critical.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, Publisher and Editor of Connections Magazine

Here are five tips to create a positive call center work environment and boost agent retention:

1. Create a Team Attitude

To foster teamwork and collaboration between call center staff and with your operation, do occasional team-building activities. This will draw them together and grow camaraderie toward a shared purpose. Though these exercises generally carry an expense, don’t summarily dismiss them because of cost.

Also, look for ways agents can work together to support each other and achieve common goals. For example, instead of just focusing on individual agent metrics, consider collective stats for the entire shift as well.

2. Encourage Effective Communication

Consider an open-door policy to encourage agents to share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas. Listen to what they say. Whenever possible, act on it. And if you don’t or can’t act, let them know why.

Also, seek their feedback on your ideas to solve problems or improve performance. This shows respect and is more apt to earn their buy-in of changes.

3. Provide Ongoing Training

Most call centers do well at agent onboarding and initial training. But instruction should never end. Offer intermediary and advanced training to help call center agents improve their skills, increase their value to you, and ultimately boost their pay.

A related issue is to make agent coaching and career mentoring a priority, not an optional when-we-have-time intention.

4. Reward Achievements

Publicly recognize call center agents’ accomplishments. Praise them for their dedication, successes, and positive attitude—whatever stands out. Though this may mean money or other tangible rewards, this shouldn’t be the default assumption. Look for low cost, yet meaningful, ways to celebrate their success. The goal in this should be to encourage, motivate, and boost morale. This will go a long way toward building a positive call center work environment.

5. Promote Work-Life Balance

Stress the importance of work-life balance. To the degree possible, offer flexible scheduling, provide paid time off, and acknowledge the importance of the nonwork portion of their lives. In this, lead by example.

If you go the extra mile and create a positive call center work environment for your employees, they’re more apt to go the extra mile for you.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is the editor-in-chief of Connections Magazine. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time. Check out his latest book, Sticky Leadership and Management, along with Sticky Customer Service and Sticky Sales and Marketing.

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