How to Build a Stronger Team Culture – Using These Proven Techniques

What I've Learned from Running a Contact Centre - building a stronger team culture Alex McConville
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Want to build a stronger team culture in your contact centre?

Whether you’re managing in office, hybrid working, or fully remote teams, Alex McConville, Head of Central Sales for Yopa Property, shares the core principles he’s learned during his time as a contact centre leader – directly managing agents, team leaders, and full contact centres.

1. Create Team Roles and Responsibilities

It is always beneficial to empower your team to adopt certain roles and responsibilities, such as:

  • Head of Upselling
  • Team Motivator
  • Master of Incentives
  • Product Expert

By assigning team members with additional roles, you give individuals something of their own to become passionate about.

What I’ve found when implementing this within multiple teams is that the individuals are more creative and spend more time than the team leader typically would in planning and executing these supplementary tasks.

It splits the workload, and team meetings move from the team leader talking at the team, to four or five people giving their updates or talking about the incentive for the day in the buzz meeting.

By assigning team members with additional roles, you give individuals something of their own to become passionate about.

Furthermore, in most cases, the individual’s performance increases. Yes, you might lose a bit of productivity throughout the week by giving them an allocated time slot to work on their additional responsibilities, but stats still increase as they become passionate about their area.

2. Treat Everyone the Same, Whilst Managing Them All Uniquely

Treat everyone the same, whilst managing them all uniquely, based on what they need.

Leadership goals and aims concept with target and team
You should be able to identify what
your individuals need to thrive.

The trick here is that everyone in your team will need something slightly different from you: a shoulder, a motivational word, a sounding board.

And, as you develop your leadership skills, you should be able to identify what your individuals need to thrive.

You hit the leadership jackpot once you can do this whilst treating them all fairly.

For example, Stephen might need additional follow-up from his regular coaching sessions, whereas Jenny might always require you to run through any brief on a 1-2-1 basis with her after a group session.

Neither is receiving preferential treatment, such as extra time at lunch, but rather both are getting the time they need in order to achieve their key metrics.

Looking for some suggestions to hone your leadership style? Read our article: An Introduction to Leadership Styles

3. Coach People for Life – Not Just the Role

It’s great teaching your employees about sales techniques and empathy strategies, but from time to time some of your team will require life skills in order to thrive within and outside of their career.

From time to time some of your team will require life skills in order to thrive within and outside of their career.

This can often come from sharing your life experiences and lessons with your team – tips on how to manage their household bills and budgets, for example.

Why? These things always lead back to employee wellness.

As a side note, it’s important to share the right kind of advice. Never try to give advice on topics outside of your understanding.

In such instances, I’d always recommend that you guide the individual towards professional or more experienced help/support.

Whether you are looking to implement a new coaching programme or refresh an existing one, read our article: How to Structure a Quality Coaching Session

4. Have Clear Expectations and Non-Negotiables

I have always found that having some sort of contract or team agreement is key. It can be a document or poster or note that explains what your non-negotiables are as a leader.

Mine have always included things like punctuality and honesty. It should also contain what your team can expect from you as a leader, like dedicated time if your team ask you for it, 1-2-1 coaching, and personalized support.

This section is important, as you need to be brave enough to allow your team to call you out should you veer off from any of your promises.

It reminds you day after day that ego is simply not necessary, and that success is everyone’s responsibility.

5. Don’t Move Goal Posts

Goal posts on football field
Make the goal posts clear
and keep them fixed

This one is simple.

Make the goal posts clear and keep them fixed.

State clearly, and early doors, the criteria and expectations – whether it be within a team brief or incentive.

Even if, sometimes, it means that you as the leader lose out due to unforeseen circumstances, personal sacrifices are worth it for the good of your team.

6. Defend and Promote Your People

Think of yourself as the head cheerleader for your team. If they do a good job, YOU need to shout about it! It’s your responsibility to show up at every opportunity with the choreography, pom-poms, and all.

After all, nothing keeps a key team member from seeking opportunities elsewhere quite like you putting them forward for each relevant opportunity within the business.

Alongside this, when the business looks at efficiency savings or questions quality and output, you have to be the voice to defend your team or department and prove their worth.

For information on the skills needed for great team leadership and where a good team leader focuses most of their time, read our article: Team Leadership: What Makes a Great Leader?

7. Be Consistent

And finally, I think the most important thing, and maybe the hardest lesson that I’ve learnt over the years, is that you have to do what you say you’ll do, and be consistent with it so that your team knows what to expect.

I fell short of this in my early years as a team leader. Your role is busy and fast paced, involving lots of interactions.

If one of your team mentions something in passing and you agree to it or say you will look into it for them, you’d better ensure you do.

I’ve been guilty of not remembering or not writing down what was asked of me, simply agreeing to a request nonchalantly, albeit in good faith.

Equally, never overpromise but instead manage expectations and aim to deliver the best possible outcome.

For example, if the request concerns something outside of your control, ALWAYS say you will look into it and get back to them promptly.

Never promise to fulfil the request and then investigate the possibility, as this can lead to disappointment and breed distrust.

You have to do what you say you’ll do, and be consistent with it so that your team knows what to expect.

Embedded within this is the golden rule that you cannot break in order to have a great contact centre culture…

Holidays and pay are sacred to your agents! You must ensure, above all else, that both of these run smoothly with no surprises.

By respecting these two things, you begin building strong foundations that earn, nurture and secure the trust (and hopefully respect) of your team.

Alex McConville, Head of Central Sales for Yopa Property
Alex McConville

This isn’t always easy. You will, at times, have to go out of your way to lobby and liaise with other departments like R&P, HR and payroll to deliver on your first rule. But I promise it’ll be worth it.

Written by: Alex McConville, Head of Central Sales for Yopa Property

Want to learn more about how to develop your staff and develop a great working environment? Then read these articles next:

Author: Alex McConville
Reviewed by: Megan Jones

Published On: 14th Feb 2024
Read more about - Call Centre Management, , , , , ,

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