When you walk through your call center, do you hear the happy buzz of agents having friendly conversations? Or is it more like a frantic roar? If it’s the latter, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time for staffing changes.
If your customer service agents are frazzled, it may not be their fault.
The truth is, it can be mentally and emotionally exhausting to field concerns and complaints all day. And this drain can have a major impact on employee morale. The most dangerous thing about poor morale is that bad attitudes are contagious. You can bet that when your workers feel it, your customers do as well. So, it’s important to do what you can to keep your call center staff calm and content.
Redesigning your call center layout is one thing you can do that will have a major impact.
Make the Space Attractive and Inviting
Where we work makes a difference in how we work. It’s a proven fact that we work better in more aesthetically pleasing environments. So although it’s tempting to try to cram as many cubicles into a space as you can, more employees per square inch may not give you the return you expect.
The key is to find a design that is appealing to everyone. And the answer lies with nature.
Let’s start with the color green. Just a glance at this color can boost creativity and motivation. On a deeper level, green reminds us of nourishment, as it’s the color of lush food-bearing vegetation.
Just a two-second glance at the shade of green found in nature may help your employees find more creative solutions to problems. This could result in happier customers and happier agents.
TAKEAWAY: Do what you can to expose your call center staff to natural or natural-like greenery. Keeping the call center near windows may help. If this isn’t an option, consider adding green accents to your design and/or well-placed landscape pictures.
Focus on Ergonomics
It may seem counterintuitive to encourage your workers to relax when you want to increase productivity, but these changes can have a positive impact on your bottom line.
Let’s look at an example. Bob the customer service representative has the perfect temperament for the job and a laugh that is downright infectious. He handles irate customers with the utmost patience and understanding, so everyone sends the “challenges” his way.
You wouldn’t know it, but Bob isn’t as calm on the inside as he appears. With each screaming customer, Bob’s muscles tighten and his teeth clench. On the surface, Bob is calm and collected. But beneath the surface, a musculoskeletal disorder is brewing. This is a common hazard of the job. Constant stress and tensing muscles can take a toll on anyone.
Why should you care? Well, Bob’s discomfort can have an impact on his behavior and patience. Just think about how you react to something when you’re feeling well versus when you’re under the weather. There’s a noticeable difference. And you can trust that customers will be less satisfied with the outcome.
Bob can be any or every customer service representative on your team. And while you can’t exactly change customer attitudes to help the Bobs of your organization, you can soften the impact by helping your employees feel more comfortable at work.
TAKEAWAY: Comfort can have long and short-term effects on employee happiness. Provide ergonomic and adjustable seating and workspaces with footrests, so call center employees can find a healthy, comfortable position while fielding calls and working on their computers.
Create Communal Areas
Communal areas are popular for collaborative work, but they are often dismissed by call centers. Customer service representatives don’t necessarily need to collaborate with each other, but they could definitely benefit from intermittent breaks in these spaces.
Modern managers and office workers agree that breaks play an important role in productivity, according to a Staples Advantage poll. The downtime fosters a better work attitude by allowing healthy mental breaks and an opportunity to refuel with casual conversation.
An interesting MIT study shows that call center employees with stronger social groups at work are more productive. Researchers tested giving more breaks and encouraging social interaction and found that productivity improved as a result.
TAKEAWAY: You can benefit from providing communal break areas in or near a call center. Just be sure the break areas are far enough from workstations, so noise doesn’t become a distraction for anyone who may be on a call.
Streamline Hardware and Technology
The call center workstation has evolved a great deal in the past 10 years, thanks in part to technology. Each workstation requires less space than ever before, and this can leave room to create a more open area for agents to make their space their own.
Physical clutter can impact your ability to focus and process information, according to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience.
Another benefit to the extra space is that you can give workers room to add personal effects, which has been shown to have positive effects for both the employee and the employer.
TAKEAWAY: Give your employees more space to spread out without taking up more space in the room with newer technologies. Replace traditional phones with VOIP headsets, use thin flat screen monitors instead of old bulky units and keep your files on a secure remote server instead of burying workers in paperwork. Encourage employees to fill the space (within reason) with personal effects.
How Does This Help Retain Customers?
Keeping your staff happy has obvious benefits on customer satisfaction. Because just like Bob’s laugh, happiness is contagious.
Think about it this way. Are you more likely to go somewhere if you like the people there? Or have you ever switched providers because you received poor customer service? These things happen all the time, but they don’t have to happen in your business.
By taking these suggestions into account when you work on your call center design, you can give your employees the support they need to keep customers coming back time and time again. If you’re moving or expanding, Interior Concepts is here to help with your call center layout and furnishing needs. Fill out the Request a Quote form or call us at 800-678-5550.