What can Silicon Valley trends teach the call centre industry?
Michelle Dinsmore _ February 2016
Being happy at work is definitely one of the most important things about any job. However, promoting happiness doesn’t just put a smile on the face of the agents that work in your call centre, but is a trend proven to have financial benefits for the company too- a win-win for anyone in the call centre industry.
Many companies in the most progressive sectors, like technology, understand that implementing workplace policies that foster and promote happiness have a great chance of increasing productivity, thereby increasing the company’s wealth.
The opposite can be said about typical rules intended to boost the quality of the contact centre, such has strict process adherence policies. These are generally put in place to increase productivity, and by doing so they disregard the happiness of the agent - creating unhappy staff who feel boxed in and limit the business’s ability to grow.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that in this case, happy agents create happy customers. Through focusing on agent happiness, you can create a contact centre that’s enjoyable to work in, and highly profitable.
Here are some examples of how Silicon Valley’s most successful companies never fail to keep their employees happy, engaged and productive.
Personal development and growth.
We all like to feel like we’re constantly evolving, growing and moving towards something better. When agents feel like they’re at a standstill it can create negativity and itchy feet. Amazon employees have a balance between improvement, growth and maintenance through regular meetings with their peers rather than a defunct annual review. Continual discussion in this way enables Amazon to quickly and effectively find the obstacles to happiness in their staff.
Agents who feel like their own personal and professional development is a priority of the contact centre will feel valued. This culture of inclusivity means agents will be constantly supported to do their very best work.
As a manager or Team Leader, all it takes is giving a little time to agents as individuals - show investment in them and their needs. Anything from spending a little extra time training someone who needs it, or simply asking them how their weekend was will work wonders for engagement.
Work with meaning.
Businesses that promote a culture of meaning generate happiness. If employees feel like the work they do has a direct and positive impact on others or the world they live in, they tend to work harder and enjoy the process a lot more.
Many companies in Silicon Valley constantly communicate to their staff the value of what they do on a day-to-day basis. The most successful companies in this area are the ones who value humanity and succeed in recognising purpose behind the most mundane of tasks.
In the contact centre, it’s important to demonstrate to agents that the customer experience has the ability to make or break someone’s day. Agents have the potential to delight customers, and enable considerable brand loyalty by leveraging the human element of interactions with a brand.
As a manager, you’re the link between agents and the rest of the business- always try to ensure the agent knows where they fit into the business as an individual.
Creating an environment where recognition is commonplace is an extremely cost-effective way to boost morale and improve the productivity of staff. Globoforce, a social-recognition software provider, claims that 82 percent of polled employees claim to be more satisfied with jobs when they received recognition.
A happy contact centre can be achieved not only when its culture promotes recognition, but when there is a structure and system in place for agents to receive acknowledgement for a job well done - one of the most effective to implement this is through gamification designed specifically for the contact centre.
Happiness in the call centre industry.
You might be thinking, ‘How do I put what I need in place to achieve all of this? I run a contact centre, not a multi-billion dollar tech giant in San Francisco.’ To get you started we’ve developed a guide to agent happiness for contact centre managers. You don’t need a big budget to make your staff happy, just the right tools to promote a culture of empowerment, development and recognition.