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Outsource magazine: thought-leadership and outsourcing strategy | June 26, 2017

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The secrets of high-performing call centre teams (Part 1)

The secrets of high-performing call centre teams (Part 1)
Outsource Magazine

Are your employees, at all role levels, performing to their highest limits possible? I know your answer is a certain “yes”.

On the rare occasions they are not, how comfortable are you as a manager in supporting your employees to supercharge their performance?

Sometimes we don’t think of our business as a machine; like all machines, they have various mechanical contraptions inside. Within the mechanical contraption, you have even smaller cogs and gears: these are your individual staff members, which keep the whole thing running smoothly.

Without these small cogs, you have no business. It is essential that every single piece of machinery is maintained and cared for, from the smallest piece to the largest in order to keep the machine running in the way that it is supposed to. Every part is needed and valued equally; if any of the parts are not being looked after, over time, that part will break down, which as a result will affect the whole machine’s efficiency.

People often underestimate the importance of keeping teams engaged and operating as a unit. They may forget how important communication is to certain people and may not appreciate that people need to know detail to understand points. Also, some people want to feel fulfilled and need to care for people; it’s what people do.

Here are five simple methods that I will promise you will increase workers’ morale and productivity.

1) Management

I’ve found that there are often similarities in the ways in which call centre managers go wrong. These issues, although not glaringly obvious, often create unwanted stress within their team. More importantly, people do not know what they are doing wrong if they don’t know what they are doing wrong. That’s a mind-boggle in itself.

Here is what I mean through the facts I have discovered.

The link between poor management style and the subsequent affects it can have on workers mental health is undeniable: in 2013/14 work-related stress was the cause of 39% of cases of depression and anxiety. This led to total of 11.3 million days lost, or 23 days per case of stress/anxiety and depression. (www.hse.gov.uk).

The most common causes of work-related stress are mainly organisational factors: workload pressures, shift work and scheduling as well as changes within the working environment, for example the reduction of resources or staff numbers or the pressure of additional responsibilities.  This all could be easily resolved through communication and engaging staff in the company’s vision.

I would love to say I have only had one case of this, but that would be a lie. However, let’s pretend I have. There was one case where a Department Manager was experiencing pressure from his superiors about sales. This manager decided to match his seniors’ behaviours and pass the same pressure to his employees. This in return increased stress levels and he couldn’t understand why the sickness levels had increased by 50%. Not only did he increase pressure on himself, he then started to blame his employees for not performing. When they did perform, he would pick fault at other parts of their performance.

My question would be how different would it have been if:

  1. He engaged his staff with the department and company’s vision,
  2. He provided consistent coaching to his department in order to generate an increase in skill level at a steady pace.
  3. He used targets to help employees understand how well they are doing and at the same time generate constant feel-good factor within the area.

Another issue, which can cause employees stress and lead to the deterioration in their mental health, is difficulties in interpersonal relationships with superiors: bullying and or harassment.

These statistics from www.workplacebullying.org show the full extent of the issue: 56% of bullies are managers, 20% of people are being bullied, 23% of people are aware of bullying and 21% of people have witnessed instances where bullying has taken place. Some 29% of victims of bullying are also willing to quit their jobs avoid further mistreatment.

That is not to say that all managers are bullies and that all instances of poor performances or stress are as a result of bullying and/or harassment.

The most common problem within the call centre environment is the breakdown of clear communication between managers and teams. I believe that they simply do not know how to correctly manage and engage their teams in order to get the best out of their workers.

One of their biggest let-downs is their failure to get to know and build rapport with each individual member of their team; the delegation of tasks and instructions are often rushed leaving workers confused and they feel that they do not know their manager well enough to approach them and ask for assistance.

Seventy-one per cent of employees say that they feel that their managers do not spend enough time explaining goals and plans (www.slideshare.net). This has real implications on the success of the company. Melcrum have been quoted as saying that “when employees understand their overall role within the business, 91% will work towards that success, but the number plummets to 23% if they don’t.” Essentially, poor relations between managers and team members as a result of poor managing style have personal implications for employees and cost implication for the company.

One massive point I would love you to remember is to build rapport and engage your employees in your vision. Also remind them how important they are to your mission. People need to feel valued and wanted. Instantly, you have the ingredients of making your team a success right there.

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About the Author

Paula Wingate 150Paula Wingate is the founder of Influential Minds (www.influentialminds.co.uk). She is an energetic Performance Coach with 18 years’ experience of designing world-class Coaching and Learning programmes for Sales and Customer Service teams in the Financial Services sector. For First Direct and HSBC, Paula has personally coached, managed and developed over 75 Senior Managers and 40 Team Leaders enabling them to consistently exceed their KPIs transforming their personal performance and directly impacting the banks’ bottom lines.

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