With so much emphasis placed on call metrics ("the numbers") these days, it's important to assess and optimize the environment in which representatives are supposed to achieve those numbers. Improving the work environment can have a substantial impact on call center operations and the behavior that impacts metrics.
To understand the environment you're trying to improve, start by observing. Walk the floor, noting what you see. Are reps covering one ear while trying to listen to callers? Are some people bundled up under big jackets? How close are they sitting to their monitors? Are people yawning, looking sleepy, or rubbing their eyes? The physical environment has an impact on call center operations and the performance of its representatives.
Pay particular attention to:
- Noise: Are cubicle dividers high enough to minimize noise distractions from other reps? If the ceilings are low, is there an acoustic tile "drop ceiling," and is there carpet to help absorb the sound?
- Temperature: Phone reps tend to feel colder due to the lack of movement in their jobs. If your reps are bundled up while sitting at their desk making calls, raise the temperature in the rooms in which they work. People who are cold will not be as focused on their work and will therefore be less productive than people who are comfortable.
- Lighting: Is the lighting adequate? Is there a combination of both sunlight and artificial light on the call center floor? Natural lighting, even when it's not sunny, makes for a more pleasant workplace, so keep window blinds open as much as possible.
- Air quality: The brain needs fresh oxygen to perform at its best. Make sure there is adequate air exchange, and encourage reps to get up, go outside and get a little fresh air on their breaks.
- Aesthetics: Utilize wall space to add visual stimulation to the room. Display posters and products branded with your company's logo, post pictures of employees, create exciting posters for team announcements and decorate for birthdays and special events.
Optimizing the environment leads to smoother call center operations and an opportunity for representatives to do their best work.