Call Center Management Feature Article
August 12, 2014
Better Call Center Management When Agents Care
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
What does it mean to be caring in your job? Does it mean that you care about the bottom line or the guy sitting across from your cubical? Does it mean you demonstrate empathy for a customer or that you’ll go above and beyond standard expectations to achieve a goal? In the call center industry, has this been clearly defined by call center management so agents know how to perform?
A recent article posted on Monster pointed to this very topic. It highlighted the fact that most job descriptions are centered more on tasks and responsibilities than actual caring. This may be different for the elementary teacher or the prenatal nurse, but in the grand scheme of jobs, caring isn’t a priority requirement.
Call center management may easily see carrying as a soft skill and not one that is required in order for an agent to be successful. At times, it may even seem inappropriate for the agent to demonstrate caring. As such, many environments are created where employees are not given the tools or even the discretion to demonstrate caring.
It’s possible that this isn’t an oversight, but instead an intentional approach to management. It can get messy when caring is involved and it may just be easier to insist that agents follow a script and nothing else. The problem with this line of thinking, however, is that it robs the employee of the opportunity to generate purpose in their work. A caring workforce is likely to be more loyal and engaged at work – benefits the call center may be missing.
In general, society doesn’t view the call center agent as performing a high role. As a result, they can easily be disrespected on the job and on the phone. Call center management has the power to change this perception internally, but in environments of high turnover, it may be considered a waste of time. If caring has to be empowered through coaching and application demonstrated through training, it may add too much cost and time to the entire process.
This thinking, however, ignores the potential outcome. When agents are able to apply caring to their role, they find purpose in their jobs. They then see the contributions they make contribute to the bigger picture and are therefore encouraged to do more with these efforts. In the process, the customer enjoys a better experience, agent turnover decreases and overall productivity improves.
At the end of the day, caring alone won’t cure all ills plaguing call center management. It can, however, contribute to a better atmosphere in an industry where quality should be focused on customer care.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi