Back in my call center days, I paid a consultant a wad to tell me to, “Give your employees time after each call to debrief with their co-workers, and create a culture where they can turn to each other for advice and guidance for how to navigate a tough call.” Here are the top three things my consultant advised me to do immediately to achieve the goals she set for me.
1. Create a spider web type layout where all of your employees can see and interact with one another at once.
2. Encourage employees to place callers on hold while they seek advice from the team on how to manage tough situations.
3. Build in time after calls for employees to cool-down after a particularly grilling interaction, and to talk the situation through with colleagues.
I took the consultant’s advice, and here’s what happened.
The Empowerment Climate In My Call Center Changed
I noticed my employees went from making decisions solely based on rigid policies and procedures to flexibly making decisions based on the advice and guidance of experienced colleagues.
Stress Levels Seemed to Decrease
I didn’t measure pre-stress levels, so this isn’t scientific, but I sensed a change, and it was as concrete as the sidewalk in front of our building. People were more fluid and relaxed, fully present, and – dare I say, happy.
Fewer Escalated Calls
This benefit was on the level of having a spa experience on a Monday afternoon. I can tell you that unequivocally, I had a lot fewer escalated calls. This is because employees were assisting and coaching each other, and the guidance my people gave one another was so reliable, customers accepted employees’ answers as final.
When I get stuck with a Human Resources issue, I always text or call my sister. She’s a two-decade pro in HR. If I’m struggling with how to work through a sticky situation with a client I can’t afford to lose; I tap my Mastermind Group of five women entrepreneurs I trust.
When your customer service employees get thumbtacked by a demanding customer or a complicated situation, they need to be able to swivel around and get advice and guidance from their colleagues. Embolden your employees to tap each other for help, and they might experience less stress and feel more empowered, and just maybe, you’ll spend less time with escalated situations.