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How Change in Call Center Culture can Root out Negativity


Work culture inside a call center necessarily means a state where employees would love to come to work and have pleasant interactions with customers. If the work culture in a call center is not good, the employees will not feel motivated to come to work. This, in turn, can have negative consequences in the long run.

Some people opine that work culture is a fluffy terminology and although is used quite often – is hardly understood. Promoting change in a call center culture would involve improving the morale of the call center employees so that negativity can be properly dealt with. This would have a reflection in the form of improved customer service and increased bottom line.

Poor Call Center Culture Leads to Poor Customer Service

Work culture in a call center can have a negative impact on the standards of the customer service and its reputation for a period of 6 to 9 months before getting reflected in the balance sheet of an organization. There are several call centers that are highly dependent on numerical performance indicators to measure the standards of their customer service. Very often, these are the only figures that are taken note by the managers of call centers.

Managing by Figures is Inadequate

Most call centers manage their performance by simply looking at, and managing the figures. Examples of these include AHT (Average Call Handling Time) or service levels. Perhaps, that is the key reason for the failure of a lot of call centers. When call center agents feel that their team leaders or managers are not providing them with a proper framework to do their work, they will start nurturing resentment, leading to negativity. If a bad call center culture prevails for a long time, it becomes tougher to return to a positive work environment.

Managing Agents and Team Leaders

There are very few call centers that do proper development activities with their team leaders, and so there is a great variation in terms of quality among them. In fact, there is no consistency as far as the call center industry is taken into consideration. It should be noted that the team leaders in call centers can be the biggest obstacles and disruptors for promoting change in your call center and so you have to work hard with them.

Many a time, Poor Culture is the Result of Poor Leadership

When a call center is built, a poor culture is not incorporated into it. Its emergence takes place over a period of time due to poor leadership. Accomplishing a good work culture in a call center cannot happen simply by managing action plans, or taking disciplinary actions. Therefore, call center managers and team leaders need to step out of their cabins and offices, be accessible to the agents and engage them in continuous communication.

On the other hand, team leaders need to be ready to take actions on what their agents tell them, even though it may be uncomfortable at times. The call center agents are frontline staff as they have to interact with customers on a daily basis. Their managers do not have to do this. So, it becomes more important that all these agents should feel a strong sense of positive work environment and work culture so that a great job can be done.

Promoting Change in a Call Center Culture

Managers need to be both accessible and visible: When a call center manager decides to work from home, it can be possibly the biggest mistake. It has been proved time and again that a manager cannot manage a contact center by staying inside his cabin and going through the numbers for the entire day. Also as a call center manager, you just cannot promote a change if you are working from your home. Such activities will only increase resentment among your call center staff as they will presume that different sets of rules are applicable for managers and agents.

Involving people is the key to success: If you want to promote change in the work environment of your call center, you have to do something radical. Try to have an honest and candid discussion with the staff on the various issues along with the effects. Such actions can give a proper context to the changes that you intend to make for your front-line employees. They will also appreciate why those changes are important and should be made at the earliest.

Furthermore, keep in mind the following important pointers:-

  • You do not need to spend your money to promote a change in culture. There are so many changes that can be implemented absolutely free of cost. For others, you may have to spend peanuts, to create a difference.
  • The reward/incentive schemes should be linked to quality. However, make sure that certain major factors like absence are taken into consideration.
  • When you are unable to launch a formal recognition or incentive scheme, reward can be given in other ways. Some examples include giving time off when the call load is relatively low at your call center.
  • Develop and coach your team leaders.
  • The maintenance of air conditioning should be done at regular intervals.
  • The rest area should be improved so that the agents can relax when they are unoccupied.


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