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A Little Communication When It’s Not Required Goes a Long Way

All of the experts say that the cornerstone of a long and successful marriage is communication between the partners. This is also true in a business organization. I will share with you a few best practices I have found within successful call centers I have researched over the past 15 years.

One of the cornerstones of a clear and concise communication plan is an open-door policy. I do not mean the type of open door policy where one says, “I have an open-door policy” and then then the door is always closed. I mean a literal open-door policy where the door to the supervisor and the manager’s offices are always open and available unless there is a private or confidential meeting taking place.

This is an environment where anyone in the organization, including a newly hired agent, can access the top person in the call center and have any questions answered. People have told me, “If we allow an open-door policy everyone is going straight to the top with their complaints.”

My response to such a statement is two-fold. One, try it and see if this is the case. You might be surprised. Two, just because there is an open-door policy does not mean that everything is resolved at the top. On the contrary, in such an environment the best place for resolution of issues is at the lowest unit possible.

But, knowing that the top person’s door is open, as well as all of the other doors, is reassuring for the agents in the call center. This lends a level of confidence in the management in the center and also holds each manager accountable to their actions.

Besides an open-door policy, the second item that helps create a successful communication plan is to deliver to everyone important information in a timely manner that is useful, but do not bombard them with too much information that creates information overload. This means that important communications directly to the agents should be noted as such, but most of the communication should come through the chain of command to the agents directly. This gives the agents a level of trust with the supervisors and vice-versa.

Additionally, there needs to be a means for agents to communicate amongst themselves, without management oversight. This gives the agents a chance to talk, like in the break room, with each other and enjoy the camaraderie that comes with working in a large organization.

A communication plan that includes an open-door policy, just the right amount of communication and a means for the agents to communicate with each other can go a long way to making your call center a model of good communication.

 

About the author

David Butler PhD., is a contact center expert. In addition to serving as the executive director of the not-for-profit National Association of Call Centers (NACC), and director of the Call Center Research Laboratory at the University of Southern Mississippi, he is also the Author of Bottom Line Call Center Management.

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