May 31, 2019

Hiring the Best Call Center Associates Based on Your Organization’s Culture

Today we will be discussing a very important topic for your call center: culture. This includes defining and/or evolving your center’s culture if you don’t like where it is now. We’ll discuss how you can accomplish this.

Define Your Culture

Google’s Definition of Company Culture – The personality of a company. It defines the environment in which employees work. Company culture includes a variety of elements, including work environment, company mission, values, ethics, expectations, goals, blah, blah, blah.

Our Definition of Company Culture – How you operate, how you treat people from a management perspective. This applies to not only those who work under you, but your peers as well. Your employees notice things about how you work like how you talk, who you tend to spend time with, etc.

It also encompasses how your call centers representatives treat people: what is accepted on the call center floor, how you talk to them, and how they can talk to you. Do you have a positive and exciting floor, where you’re doing high-fives and rah rah,  or do you have a culture that’s more refined and conservative? It doesn’t necessarily have to be one of the other. What’s important is that it’s right for you.

Regardless, your company culture needs to be defined and it needs to be thought out. Once your culture is defined, it will start to become something that your employees will self-monitor. They will start to buy into it, if you do it right. When your associates buy into your call center’s culture, the entire center, that stems from your HR personnel, who you hire, how you act, how you train, how the management team deals with the associates, and how the associates treat their peers and their management.

When your call center has a positive culture, it can have an amazing effect on the customer experience, the employee experience, and employee turnover. In good companies, the management leads. If your management is leading a buying into of your company’s culture, you will have a good company. But in great companies and great call centers, the employees carry that baton. The employees are the ones self-policing and pushing that culture.

Refine Your Hiring Process

Do you and your HR team look at some resumes, ask a few questions, do an interview, administer a test, and decide from this if that person is a “fit”? For most organizations, a fit is simply someone who can do the job. That is not what you should be looking for.

You need to look for someone who is the right person for your organization, not just the best call center rep. To get that, look at what’s important to you. You must define your culture.

At Expivia, our culture is, “A sunshine attitude with an entrepreneurial mindset”. That means, at its core, attitude and effort. Those are the two pillars we based new hires on. Everything is based around these two concepts. Everything we do must either be advancing or embodying attitude and effort.

We try to pull a personality out of potential hires, such as by asking them odd questions like, “If you were a Crayon, what color would you be?” We’ve worked hard to come up with a list of about 25-30 questions that get at if someone has the right culture for us. Experience does not matter to us. If our training and education is good enough, we should be able to help you get where you need to be if you bring an awesome attitude and give maximum effort.

Incent Off of Your Culture

While sales goals and KPIs are important, it’s also important to make sure everything you do adds to your culture. To incent our reps, we have what we call “proficiency pay”. This does not mean commission, or hitting your service level, or getting a certain amount of sale. We look at the things that are important to us: attitude and effort.

Number one is attendance. Clearly, you can’t show attitude and effort if you’re not here. So every week, our employees have to work 100% of their schedule. If they don’t, they’re not up for proficiency pay.

It is also based a small amount on KPIs, likes sales and service programs, and hitting those numbers.

We also use speech analytics to score our reps based on their sentiment: positive or negative. Reps know that if they’re in a bad mood, their scores will show it. This is a great way to incent attitude.

Next we score on engagement. We do a weekly agent analysis with all our associates, talk to them, and find out if they’re into getting positive feedback, training, and education. They must be giving that effort. People who fit our culture and don’t give that effort don’t last long. Those who do, get recognized for it with proficiency pay.

Be sure you’re incenting the right things for your associates, otherwise you may be sending them mixed signals about your company culture.

Engaging Your Associates

Your call center has leaders. Treat them like gold. If they are always very helpful, people respect them, listen to them, they’re leaders, make sure you talk to them weekly. Have a relationship with them and get their opinion and get their buy-in to your company culture. Others will follow.

Make your employees feel involved by considering their suggestions. We use a suggestion AKA Culture Board where we have a dry erase board that any one can add a suggestion to if it enhances our company culture. Once a month we vote on what ones we want to implement. We create a committee to implement the changes and help employees feel more involved and come to care about your company culture on a personal level.

In Closing

You are the leader. You can either enhance your call center, or be someone who stifles everything. Look around on your call center floor and really ask yourself if your employees are enjoying themselves, if there’s cliques, what the interactions between supervisors and reps are like. Do you like it? Talk to your HR people and think about what is important to you and important in hiring. Once you have a culture you like, it’s easier to maintain it. Consider a referral program, so you get more hires who fit your culture. Your company culture should be your number one concern, and all the rest will follow.

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Advice from a Call Center Geek is a weekly podcast with a focus on all things call center and contact center. We discuss topics such as call center operations, hiring, culture, technology, and training and have fun doing it! #callcenter #contactcenter #CX #custserv #callcentergeek


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