Believe it or not, but it is a proven fact that the physical layout of a call center actually creates a significant impact on its overall and individual performances. So when you are setting up a modern call center, it is important to carefully contemplate on the design, so that the performance of the agents can be maximized at all times.
Check out these five design techniques to improve agent performance. All the examples mentioned are based on real life examples where certain modern call centers made changes in their buildings and increased both retention and performance.
Importance of transparency
Transparency is a major factor in successful business relationships. You can take the case of Ceridian implementing it in its headquarter building in Glasgow.
Ceridian is into the outsourcing business. They did not want to simply shut their call center work floor from everyone’s out of sight. Rather, they constructed a glass wall around the floor so that their visiting clients could see the agents at work.
When transparency is adapted in the design of a call center, it also helps in breaking subconscious barriers of ‘them and us’ that may often emerge between the colleagues of the agents who usually work in a conventional office environment and the floors of the call center.
Open and wide space
A call center is a community by itself. Like any other community areas, the common areas have a vital role for sure.
Some examples of communal areas in a modern call center are a cafeteria or a kitchen as these areas draw employees from different departments of a company. They come close to each other and can have crucial face-to face interaction and communication.
LateRooms.com, a travel company had designed a huge community area at it’s headquarter in Manchester. This space had a Mediterranean piazza theme. Not only has the piazza reflected the brand aesthetic it also became the most important place for the offices of LateRooms.com. Networks soon started flourishing and the potential for exchange of ideas between departments, teams and people maximized as a result.
Learning environment in office
In a call center environment, both training, as well as, development is crucial to get people to excel in their work. For an organization that is into outsourcing business, proper investment in learning and training play a big role for maintaining quality service.
In a call center, the agents are the first people with whom their client’s customers interact. So they have to prove that the agent is highly skilled and well-trained.
It is true that the training areas should have some sort of privacy so that a calm atmosphere can be created in which proper and effective learning can be delivered. But at the same time it is not mandatory to completely shut them out of everyone’s sight.
In the case of LateRooms.com, the training facility inside its call center was open. Not only did it help in providing a dynamic training environment as it was constructed in the central hub of one of the busiest floors, it also acted as a constant reminder to all about how it is supporting the business of the call center.
Though operations in a call center reflect a high-degree of professionalism, it has often been an under-appreciated industry and shift in the perception is highly required.
Lately there has been a slow and steady transition from process-driven and factory-style job to a service-based sector whose goal is to solve problems and resolve issues.
So, that makes it pertinent to recruit and retain those employees who possess the necessary flexibility to promptly match the ever changing commercial goals of their employers. Accordingly the environment in a call center needs to reflect the change in culture.
Any contact center has fluid teams that can be created as promptly as they are dispersed. As a result, agents in a call center should have the necessary freedom of movement whenever and wherever required.
Moreover, there are many such call centers that are open round the clock and so it is not practical to have a single desk. Take the case of Hermes.
Hermes, one of the largest home delivery experts in Europe, designed a workspace with an open and bright ambiance. The move provided a high-quality environment that will motivate its employees to act as the brand ambassadors of their organization.
Home away from home
Most contact centers operate 24 hours a day. Many a times, employees have to spend long working hours outside the usual 9 to 5 hours.
It is for this particular reason; they should be designed as places that will make their staffs feel comfortable and relaxed and give their best performance. When you ask an agent about his current work environment, he would typically say two things most of the times; the work floors are too dark and hot.
Finally, call centers are not like other work spaces. A typical call center will have quiet areas but they are also social spaces. Don’t forget they are also training areas. A call center should be capable of adapting to changing work structures but at the same time, they should be comfortable spaces for people to spend long hours.