The little things can mean a lot in a contact centre environment. Here are 5 ways you could unknowingly upset your frontline with small changes.
1. Banning agents from drinking water at their desks
From a management perspective, agents having drinks on their desks during a shift can ring alarm bells. What if endless sticky rings are left behind by soft drinks cans? What if a glass of water spills all over a brand-new keyboard?
An outright ban on all drinks can seem like the easiest solution, but can leave agents feeling parched during a shift and resenting their management team for treating water as a privilege.
If you are concerned about protecting your technology, invest in spill-proof cups, or ask that your agents only have small glasses of water on their desks.
2. Spontaneously moving an agent to a different team (or seat)
Having a best friend at work has been recognised as a key factor in improving employee engagement. Yet moving people away from their friends could have the opposite effect!
Working relationships exist in a delicate balance, and it is near impossible to ever really know if “new starter” Sophie only makes it through each shift because of “class clown” James.
Think carefully before pulling someone away from their friends – and if you do need to relocate someone, make sure they (and their team) have sufficient warning.
3. Adding a 15-minute team huddle to the start of every shift
In the name of improving communication, it might seem like a great idea to add a 15-minute huddle to the beginning of every shift.
Unfortunately, an “It’s only 15 minutes” attitude could risk upsetting a lot of agents – especially if you expect them to accommodate the earlier start immediately and not adjust pay in line with the additional working hours.
This is because most people have some kind of routine across the week, governed by the school run and public transport timetables, etc. that could be disrupted by the change in shift pattern.
To limit the damage, discuss this option with the team first (perhaps looking at adding it to the end of the day instead), and don’t assume everyone can make the necessary changes to their schedule overnight.
4. Introducing a new reward scheme for top performers
Agent awards are a great way to celebrate regular successes in the contact centre. However, they can quickly lose their impact – and breed resentment – if they consistently praise the same top 10% of your workforce.
If you do want to start up an inclusive awards scheme – or alter the one that you do have – try adding different categories such as “Most Improved”.
You could also try changing the focus of the awards each month to include attendance and schedule adherence, as well as key metrics such as Customer Satisfaction and First Contact Resolution, to give others the opportunity to shine.
5. Changing canteen or vending machine options
Everyone’s motivations for coming to work are different.
For some agents, this motivation could be as simple as being able to pay their household bills and enjoy their “2pm Mars Bar” from the vending machine every day.
For that individual, changing the vending machine options from Mars to Cadbury’s could take the spring out of their step – completely under the radar of their team leader.
Similar situations can also occur with your canteen options. Even if you think you are changing things for the better, there will probably be someone who feels they are “being robbed of their daily fry-up”.
The final word
All of these things seem inconsequential in themselves, but if too many little things change for the worse in a short period of time, you could see a full-scale mutiny of your frontline workforce without ever really understanding what’s caused it.
Think about the impact of the little changes you plan to put in place, and keep communication channels open so your agents can raise their concerns.
What small changes have you made in your contact centre that have had a negative impact on frontline morale?
Put your thoughts in an email to Call Centre Helper.