If your call center rewards employees’ individual achievements more than team success, it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate your workplace engagement techniques.
As productivity-driven companies, most contact centers encourage agent productivity by rewarding individual employees’ exemplary performance. Agents are asked to end calls within a set time limit, handle an x number of transactions in a day, and so on. Those with the highest productivity as defined by these metrics are incentivized and hailed as “Agents of the Month.”
While this recognition-driven employee engagement approach can indeed drive up productivity, it comes with a cost. A highly competitive workplace leaves little room for collaboration. It breeds the mentality that customer support reps must outshine their colleagues for their hard work to be recognized. You may not think it matters at first, but this type of organizational culture can get in the way of teamwork.
Team collaboration is essential in customer service companies. It’s the key to solving big issues that keep resurfacing and finding creative solutions to the most common customer problems.
Here are four tips to build a more collaborative call center.
1. Reward collaborative efforts.
Instead of setting targets for individual employees, set team goals. Come up with tasks that will require your agents to work with one another. You can then incentivize your employees based on their collaborative efforts.
If your employees are used to working on their own, they might find it difficult to do this at first. So make sure to focus on team building tactics as well. Organize dinner parties, company outings, and other events to encourage your agents to get to know one another.
2. Promote transparency.
Building a collaborative workplace all boils down to effective leadership. You need to create trust among employees by promoting transparency in the company. You can do this by welcoming constructive criticisms and widening agents’ access to work-related information.
3. Ask employees to identify the barriers to teamwork.
Sometimes, managers have a narrow view of what it’s really like for call center agents to work on the production floor. So make sure to ask your employees about the practices, processes, or policies that are getting in the way of team collaboration. It could be your office’s layout, your no-chatting policy, or your overly hierarchical structure. Whatever the barriers may be, make sure to eliminate them in order to make it easy for agents to communicate with one another.
4. Brainstorm as a team.
The bottom line is, you need to create an environment where your customer service reps feel comfortable sharing their insights, opinions, or suggestions. One way to do this is to brainstorm with them. Discuss an issue together, and solicit their ideas. Apart from making them feel at ease with their colleagues, this is also a great way to make them feel that the organization values their inputs.