TMCnet - World's Largest Communications and Technology Community



Optimizing Human Behavior in the Call Center with Reduced Stress, Disruptions and Conflicts

TMCnews Featured Article

June 21, 2006

Optimizing Human Behavior in the Call Center with Reduced Stress, Disruptions and Conflicts

By Special Guest
C. Sorensn, Marketing Manager, OPC-Marketing

The idea is typically that the behavior of an individual adheres to the same fundamental principles in a number of different areas--- OR, can we break the pattern were most comfortable with? "Economy is the art of making the most of life".
Helping Coworkers
We all have busy lives. Most times we find that we need a vacation from our vacations. The fact is that the 'working-world' demands so much that workers can rarely, if ever, leave at the end of the day having completed everything with the ability to start fresh the next day. Similarly, call centers are busy environments. Sales have to keep going onward and upward.
Most jobs today feel like balancing acts that require the constant juggling of tasks and projects, more, more, more.
Mostly we are in charge of several projects at the same time, working to resolve the most urgent problem (fires), or keeping problems from becoming larger than they actually are.
In such an environment, it is easy to feel so overwhelmed with your own work that you have no time to help others. Good teamwork, though, demands that you offer to help a coworker in various situations.
Don't offer help in ways that say you really don't want to help.
Your manner and words should communicate the sincerity of your offer.
For example, "Can I help you with that?" is better than "You don't need any help with that do you?"
Don't force your help on people who resist your offers. Don’t smother people with big hugs.
Respect their wish to do things on their own, but leave them with a sincere "If you change your mind, just ask." Remember, you are more likely to receive help from others if you offer help to them.
Thanking Others
Make a point of thanking everyone who helps you. Make sure, however, that the way you express your thanks is not excessive in relation to the help you receive. Excessive thanks may make the other person feel uncomfortable and reluctant to help you again.
Respecting Peers
When you look for the good in everyone, people feel better being around you and you bring out the best in people.
Respect, a positive attitude, and an avoidance of the 'negatives' are all critical for dealing effectively with customers and they are essential for positive relationships with coworkers as well.
**Wear a suit of positive Teflon, so that when negative energies come at you-- they’ll slide right off.**
Sharing Information and Ideas
A call center representative may come across information or a resource that is useful for certain types of customers, or she or he may stumble across a technique that works particularly well. Yet some reps persistently refuse to share their information with others. Frankly, this information, resource, or technique could be useful to the rest of the call center team.
When people lie to a coworker or supervisor to protect them or put down someone else, the morale of the team is brought down and the general level of trust is damaged. When the lie is exposed, the liar's credibility is damaged and her or his effectiveness as a team member is undermined. In Hawaiian culture they say “consider the source of the rumor, before you pass judgment on the subject”. The consequences of the lie get bigger with each additional deceit. Whatever the immediate benefit of lying, it's not worth it in the long run—for the individual or for the team. Fixing a wrong with truths is more beneficial than trying to patch the mounting miss-information, it's best to just confess, apologize, explain, and promise not to do it again.
Minimalists are people who have convinced themselves that they should do no more than is absolutely necessary to keep their job. These people often see their employer as the enemy, and to do more than the minimum feels to them like selling out to the other side. In a call center, where everyone is responsible for handling a share of the calls, this attitude creates more work for other team members.
Why would someone adopt this attitude? This behavior may be rooted in a deeply held, but wrong-headed, belief about the relationship between the worker and employer or about the evils of big business or it may simply be an attempt to rationalize personal laziness. Whatever the cause, minimalists are their own worst enemies.
Typically, these people are not respected by most coworkers and management and are not considered for advancement. If you are a minimalist, look for reasons to get past that block. Start with "I'd like to have some respect for myself and then from others" and go on from there.
Set yourself targets to raise your productivity. If you must work with a minimalist, make performance requirements clear and hope your supervisor sees and acts on the situation. Otherwise move on.
When a call center team is large, it is difficult to feel a sense of camaraderie with everyone. Only some people will have personality traits or interests that match yours and you will naturally gravitate more toward them than others. Such a tendency is understandable and certainly not damaging to effective group behavior, as long as other people in the larger team do not feel excluded.
Cliques, on the other hand, do exclude people, undermine the sense of team, interfere with team cohesiveness, and inhibit team growth. They are elements of the storming phase.
Many people want to know things that really aren't any of their business. Most people have some interest in rumors, but others have such a consuming interest that they constantly feed rumors with new information to keep the process going.
The problem is that there are very few good rumors. They are usually about something bad that may happen or about someone's ugly little secret. Rumors bring down morale in the team and can hurt people. A good rule of thumb when you are attempting to overcome the rumor mongering habit is to review the rumor and if it doesn't say something good about a situation or person, don't pass it on.
Imagine how much better your workplace would be if everyone applied this rule.
Understand the Other Person’s Position
Typically in a conflict, both parties believe their position is the correct one. It's important to understand that the other person believes she or he is right.
It is also important to realize that the person believes your position is wrong and that you are the one who is stubborn. A critical step in conflict resolution is to understand the other person's position and reasons for being attached to that position. 
Handling Interpersonal Conflict
When you put any group of people into a highly charged, stressful environment, you are bound to have interpersonal conflicts. This is particularly true when they have to work as a team, relying on one another to get the job done.
Conflict is a major part of the storming phase. But what can you do about it?
Getting Through the Storming Phase
In the storming phase, emotions run wild and conflicts are made more difficult by hurt feelings, anger, resentments, and blaming that can all be part of this uncomfortable phase of team growth.
To move on to the norming phase, the team must develop effective structures to resolve conflicts.
Norming is defined as a framework for understanding the development of groups and suggests that one important stage groups go through is the development of norms about the way in which tasks will be tackled and members will relate to one another. Too often the structures that evolve are not effective and don't lead out of the storming phase. They are blind alleys that get away from the main issue.
Consider the following techniques for handling conflict:
Agree on the Benefits of Resolving the Conflict
Generate a list of reasons why the conflict should be resolved. Include reasons that are potentially relevant for the team and for the other person.
Develop and Implement an Action Plan
Agree on an action plan; then agree on an implementation plan that will make the action plan a reality. Possibly include a trial period with a check point to confirm that the plan is working so changes can be made sooner rather than later.
Share, then Clarify Your Position
In terms that describe how you feel and how you see the situation, outline your interpretation of the matter. Share your vision of how you would like to see this issue resolved. Encourage the other person to ask you clarifying questions so the person can be sure she or he understands your position. Be candid about points about which you may have responded inappropriately.
Identify the areas of agreement and the differences in your position with the other person. Explore these and attempt to reach a better understanding of the reasons for those differences.
Resolve the Differences
Explore and brainstorm solutions to each issue until you find one that will satisfy you both. The solution need not be win-lose, "my way" or "your way," nor must it be a compromise that leaves both of you dissatisfied. You may find it best to give in on issues that are less important to you while the other person gives in on issues that are of lesser importance to her or him. You may opt to "try this first; then try this second," or you may be able to combine two or three solutions into one. Be creative and seek an agreement.
*Start the process by seeing where the other parties are coming from.
We want you to have the best Call Center you can possibly have. Once that happens, OPC Marketing can help you to expand your Call Center by purchasing our products.
We have collected some information on personality types. Make sure you read and discuss the following links, the information is important and will get things out into the open.
General disclaimer – Use OPC Marketing’s Archetypes of Call Center Personalities at your own risk – OPC Marketing does not give medical advice – OPC Marketing does not give legal opinions – OPC Marketing contains spoilers and content you may find objectionable, and content you won’t find anywhere else
[READ MORE].  This link helps you to define the personalities within your call center! Which one are you?
Does your team of distinct personalities excel at communication?
Take this survey that will expose the behaviors of your call center Archetypes. [Take the Team Building Survey]. Print it out, fill it in. Then discuss your findings with your people.
To find out more about how SpitFire Predictive Dialer can help you generate all kinds of positive business and new customers, visit:

Technology Marketing Corporation

800 Connecticut Ave, 1st Floor East, Norwalk, CT 06854 USA
Ph: 800-243-6002, 203-852-6800
Fx: 203-866-3326

General comments:
Comments about this site:


© 2016 Technology Marketing Corporation. All rights reserved | Privacy Policy