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From Boot Camp to Teamwork: How to Create a Positive and Profitable Call Center Culture

As a researcher and academic I have had a privilege that many others in the call center and contact center industry have not had and that is visiting a large number of centers of various sizes, formats, ownership and management styles all around the United States and abroad.

After visiting a large number of call centers the mind looks for patterns and starts to classify these centers into groups based on a variety of variables including size of center, layout, type of employees, purpose of the center, and most importantly for this post, what sort of culture exists within the center.

Think of the mind using an Excel spreadsheet and placing call centers in the left hand column and the variables of each center along the top. This is what my mind has done and continues to do, with each new call center I visit.

Based on the experience of visiting hundreds of call centers, specific traits of a well-run call center with a vibrant culture exist and conversely, traits of a poorly-run call center with a poor culture also exist. I will examine a few of the variables and traits of some of these well-run call centers with an active and vibrant positive culture.

The first thing that stands out in a call center with a strong and positive culture is that everyone is treated with respect, following the golden rule of treating others the way you would want to be treated. It is not just lip service; it is an active behavior that exists within the center. Whether it is the cleaning crew, the new call center agent, or the call center manager, all are treated and treat each other with respect. This respect is manifested in a large number of ways within the center.

A common item in these call centers with positive cultures is an active engagement of the management with the agents in the center. The manager knows the agents and the agents know the managers, all by name and sight. No one is a stranger to the other in the center.

The managers stand at the front of the door every day as the shifts start and welcome each agent, by name, to the center and thank them for coming to work. Often they inquire as to the agent’s family, how the kids are doing, the spouse, the sick parent and the like. This engagement with the agents sends a huge message to everyone that the management cares about them, how they are doing and appreciate that they show up to work.

In turn, the agents in these centers where the management goes out of their way to show appreciation to the agents receive the highest performance from the agents, lower turnover and a lower absenteeism. All of those items add up to a better run, more profitable and successful call center.


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