We have all seen and continue to see the impact COVID has had on the call centre industry as a whole, from companies rushing to implement some sort of homeworker model to others struggling with increased staff absenteeism. One impact that is often overlooked is how this has impacted the culture in call centres, specifically those who have successfully implemented a homeworker model.
I have spoken to several clients who run their own in-house teams over the past few months and one topic that often comes up is how Telnet has managed to maintain a positive culture with 98% of our workforce working from home. Whilst already having a robust homeworker model in place before COVID hit certainly helped, but replicating the “call centre chatter” was an integral part of maintaining our identity and culture. We have been able to replicate this through extensive use of Facebook’s product “Workplace”. We have set up managed groups with agents for each group or campaign at Telnet as well as combined groups that all agents have access to. The managed groups are for agents to talk among themselves and with the managers of that group allowing them to get support specific to the campaign that group is made for, whilst the open group is wider discussions across the whole call centre.
It is important to not just create the groups and leave it to the agents, but to encourage engagement otherwise all this work can be for nothing. To this end we have call centre managers engaging with the teams all day every day to keep the team interacting with each other and replicating that call centre chatter that is synonymous with a productive workforce. This is how we manage to provide a positive and engaging environment for our staff regardless of where in the world they are based and let the agents feel like they are part of a team rather than a single person working from home by themselves.
As our industry moves into the new post COVID world it is imperative that we continue to evolve how we work and ensure that we are providing a positive and productive environment/culture for our staff. Regularly exploring new tools and ways of working should be a part of any business in this day and age, especially if we expect to stay ahead of the increasing speed of changes our industry has seen in the past few years.