Call centre culture: do you walk the walk or simply talk the talk?


Only the brave (or foolish) would argue against the notion that behind every great company is a great corporate culture. These forward-thinking organisations reap many rewards including: recruiting and retaining the very best employees, motivating every level to work in the best interests of the organisation and its customers, and inspiring the very best customer service.

While most business leaders realise the value of a strong corporate culture, they often are at a loss as to exactly how they can implement one that is robust and long-lasting. Research from Bain & Company uncovered that 65% of business leaders accept that they need to change their corporate culture, while 81% believe that without a strong corporate culture their business will undoubtedly suffer.

Yet even so, less than 10% of organisations actually succeed in building and maintaining a winning strategy.

When the culture is just plain wrong.

Having a culture code in place doesn’t necessarily produce the desired effect.

You only have to look at the practices of GoGen, the telephone fundraising agency at the centre of the Daily Mail’s investigation into fundraising cold-calling. It revealed that employees were forced to use high-pressure tactics, even on vulnerable people; a vicious target-driven culture that does nothing to benefit the call centre industry.

So while on the face of it culture can be seen to drive a business forward, sometimes it can cause unforeseen problems that can seriously undermine an organisations’ standing with its customers.

When it’s all just talk.

Even if you manage to identify a positive culture code, it means little if it isn’t actually adhered to.

Some organisations proudly set out the core elements of their culture into a culture code statement or document. But there’s little point in management saying one thing in theory and then demonstrating the opposite in practice; this can actually have the opposite effect and significantly demotivate staff.

A great example of this is the annual Enron report to shareholders, which listed its core values as follows:

At the end of 2001, it was revealed that its reported financial condition was sustained by institutionalized, systematic, and creatively planned accounting fraud, many of us have known since as the Enron scandal.

So what makes a great call centre culture code?

To start with any call centre culture code needs to reflect the values people within the organisation hold dear; values such as loyalty, trust and openness.

But it’s not simply a case of producing a code and then simply ignoring it. According to Forbes, there are six essential steps to building a great company culture in order to maximise its effectiveness.

Make no mistake, developing a winning culture is no easy task. But if successfully created and implemented, the right culture can have a powerful impact on performance.

It can also deliver one of the greatest sources of competitive advantage for an organisation; providing the ‘glue’ that binds an organisation together and the hardest thing for competitors to copy.

At EvaluAgent we firmly believe in the benefits of a positive culture and furthermore we are proud to say that we practice what we preach. Here is our very own culture code, and see for yourself how much we value our employees and our clients in equal measure.

By Tom Palmer
Tom is EvaluAgent’s Head of Digital and takes the lead on developing and implementing our digital and content management strategies which results in creating a compelling, digital-first customer marketing experience.

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