By Sherry Gouel
The priority in running a successful call center is keeping clients satisfied. Although the primary focus is customer service, the people who provide client satisfaction also should be acknowledged. The success of your business relies on the efficiency and professionalism of your staff. The agents who answer calls and interact with clients reflect the company. Business owners acknowledge and thank their staff for their efforts, particularly during the holiday season, but many things can be done throughout the year to show appreciation, too. It’s critical to communicate that your agents are important to your business and that their well-being matters.
Some common health concerns agents face are neck and shoulder tension, eyestrain from monitors, and back problems from sitting too much or a lack of movement. Some problems are less obvious but just as problematic – such as job monotony and feeling unappreciated.
Here are a few ideas to help agents who sit in front of a screen for extended periods.
Desks: Recent health news calls sitting the new smoking. Health professionals warn that too much time sitting is detrimental to your health. Research shows that excess sitting can cause health problems, such as increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, and cardiovascular diseases. In “What Are the Risks of Sitting Too Much,” Mayo Clinic’s Dr. James A. Levine explains, “Spending a few hours a week at the gym or otherwise engaged in moderate or vigorous activity doesn’t seem to significantly offset the risk.” Regular movement throughout the day is important.
Encourage agents to get up and move around regularly. Many desks address this by allowing users to alternate between sitting and standing while using a computer. These standing desks are height adjustable, which encourages workers to stand and move during work hours. Adjustable desks start at about $300. A less costly version sits on an existing desk. Its platforms (one for monitor and one for keyboard) can be raised or lowered to accommodate standing and sitting positions.
Chair Massage: Massages are always a welcome relief for tense neck and shoulder pain. Rather than send your staff to a massage therapist, why not bring the therapist to the office? Employers can surprise employees by offering a ten-minute chair massage. This helps alleviate neck and shoulder tension while at work, and it’s a great way to thank staff as you show concern for their well-being.
Change the Routine: Workplace monotony can have a number of negative consequences. Employees who repeat the same tasks every day can become unmotivated and uninterested in their work. Need proof? Listen to an agent’s voice at the beginning of his or her shift and again at the end. The latter will not have the same vitality and enthusiasm as the first.
Employee cross-training can benefit everyone. Employees trained to work on different aspects of the business can vary their work by performing different tasks throughout the week. Cross-training also creates versatile employees who can substitute for an absent or sick coworker.
A Little Flexibility: Having flexible schedules is difficult at call centers, but a little flexibility makes a big difference. Find out if an employee prefers to work early in the morning or later in the day, or if starting fifteen minutes later will provide relief since it will allow them to bring a child to school instead of having to find an alternative solution. If it’s easy to accommodate without affecting service levels, then why not allow it? Those extra fifteen minutes can greatly relieve a stressful situation. These little benefits are highly valued by employees and reduce turnovers.
Free but Invaluable: Another small gesture, cost-free yet invaluable, is engaging with employees and showing an interest in their personal life. Take the time to grab a coffee with a staff member and ask about his or her family or what would make that employee’s job easier. Do you know your agents’ birthdays? No one wants to feel invisible. Taking a few minutes to acknowledge an employee is crucial in making him or her feel like part of the team.
Sherry Gouel handles sales and marketing support for Szeto Technologies.