What commonly distracts staff in every call center in the Philippines?

OABPO Blog Team Published on January 20, 2014

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There are common work distractions in every call center in the Philippines that could cost a business its customers and profits if left unfixed.

Market research firm uSamp claimed this when they found out through their survey that a business loses more than $10,000 per worker annually because of distractions. uSamp also revealed that more than 50% of the 500 surveyed employees waste over an hour each day on distractions.

As distractions could cost you more than just productivity, they should be identified and addressed accordingly. Here are five of the biggest call center distractions and ways to eliminate them:

Background Noise

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Background noise is probably the biggest hindrance not just to call center representatives but also to the callers they attend to. How so? Obviously, it’s because noise can be transmitted by the phone to the customer, thus making it hard for your agents to think, while making it difficult for the customer to hear or understand the conversation. What are the common sources of noise, and how can they be silenced?

Noise in a call center workplace can come from anything, anywhere, or anyoneโ€” from a noisy coworker, a loud office equipment, or the traffic from outside your office window. On your part, you can reduce the noise by devoting a space that’s intended solely for calls. Meaning, no meetings or trainings should be done on the floor; there should be a separate, closed space for those. Noisy printers should be placed away, checked, or replaced, and the same should also be done to air-conditioning units that emit humming along with air. It could also be advisable to ban personal mobile phones and music players, but you could be lenient on their use if your agents are responsible enough to use them sparingly, or if your call equipment have noise-cancelling features.

Physical discomforts

These discomforts include uneven temperature and uncomfortable sitting arrangements. Check if your agents are comfortable in their workstation because this is where they spend the entirety of their shift. If you found anything that causes physical discomforts, fix those immediately because these could take their attention away from work.

Multitasking

Yes, as much as multitasking is meant to make work more efficient, it can prevent work from being accomplished when not done right. When your call center agents do more than one thing all at once, they tend to lose focus and end up producing subpar results. However, multitasking can induce productivity if the tasks at hand are the same or related to each other. Hence, juggling between calls and encoding could lead to inaccuracy, unless the encoded information is about the call being taken.

Ask yourself if your staff should really be multitasking or if it is task-switching that they truly need. Should there be a part of the shift dedicated for a certain duty while the rest is dedicated on another task? It could help if you have different people handling specific tasks, but it could also be ideal to automate a part of the system, such as encoding, so that your people would only have to focus on the customer and not on file retrieval.

Faulty equipment

Just like physical discomforts, faulty equipment could distract your team and lessen their productivity. How would your agents hear the caller well if their headset is malfunctioning? How are they able to access customer information if the network connections are spotty? So don t just make sure that you have all the workstation essentials; invest in each device’s regular maintenance and repairs as well.

Unnecessary information

Most call centers point to information overload as one of the problems they commonly face. This happens when agents collect unnecessary data from customers. To avoid this from causing distraction, why don’t you resort to automation, too? You should also focus more on improving your service and less on gathering metrics for agent evaluation.

Do your employees encounter any of the mentioned distractions? What measures did you take to counter these? Chances are your call center in the Philippines has some of these productivity blocks, so look around and identify them to address these interruptions accordingly.

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