Over the past six months, the contact centre industry has faced challenges, change and COVID-19. We have seen a surge in agents working remotely, industry-wide restructures and an emphasis on customer retention. Subsequently, front line staff are experiencing increased monitoring, additional (or altered) responsibilities, and unprecedented change in customer demands.
Now, more than ever, contact centre culture needs to be at the forefront of organisational development discussions. Just as we view customer experience and the customer journey as a key factor in commercial success, the experience of the customer service representatives – who are essentially the ‘voice’ of this journey – should be seen as equally as important. This creates a virtuous cycle, where culture is key, and we see the effects of culture and engagement on performance, adherence, attrition and development.
This ‘culture cycle’ plays out in every aspect of an individual’s contact centre journey – from application, to interview, then through to induction and day-to-day work, before the cycle rounds off as an individual progresses or moves on. Candidate care throughout the recruitment process is crucial and sets the tone for their call centre journey. Transparency around the role and requirements is essential and application response, updates and feedback are vital parts of this cycle.
A contact centre culture that nurtures positive working relationships is also conducive to a productive environment. Front line staff bear the brunt of any changes an organisation makes or any news mentions. In a previous front line job, the slight rise in call volumes and escalations the day after a Fair Go TV story related to our industry was almost a running gag. Because of this, camaraderie on the call centre floor is essential, especially in terms of influencing individual resilience, staff churn and overall happiness among individuals. In office-based call centre environments, the odd shared lunch or team bonding sessions are simple, yet effective ways to shape team culture. For remote teams, making use of technology is another easy, tried and tested way to build and retain culture in front-line teams - think group emails/chats in the team, weekly Zoom/Facetime catch ups.
Partnering with an agency can also be a key element in fostering a positive contact centre culture. At Tribe, we think of our candidates and ‘temps’ as ambassadors of our agency. We often talk about individuals representing us in their assignments or their interviews – they are our extended Tribe team. This philosophy is not only an empowering experience for those going through their contact centre recruitment journey, but it also has a positive impact on performance, retention and engagement. As we see culture play out in areas like individual development and progression, Tribe candidates may become Tribe clients - and the cycle begins again!