CALL CENTRE TRAINING - THE ART OF NOT DOING
STRESS – BURNOUT – ATTRITION – LOSING CUSTOMERS?
Call centres have brought with them a challenging mix of people problems including; higher than average levels of stress, attrition, burn out, plus loyalty and motivation problems.
Tony Betts and Dr. Milind Jani MD, in conjunction with Prosell, offer two new perspectives and suggest that learning to relax and centre ourselves by “Not Doing”, combined with some quick, practical and effective de-stressing techniques can alleviate many of these problems.
Call centre staff are arguably one of the most closely monitored and accountable groups of employees. They are expected to be “on form “, helpful, courteous and enthusiastic from the first call of their shift to the last.
And yet, like most of us, the people working in these centres often carry with them their own set of problems, such as health issues, relationship problems, and worries about the children, financial concerns, low motivation, emotional insecurities, career frustrations – and more. Combine these day to day personal problems and tensions with the added pressures of life in a call centre and the mixture can easily implode.
These factors cost the company in direct terms through absenteeism, recruiting, retraining and so on. But more importantly they cost the company in other ways such as: customer dissatisfaction – eroded loyalty and sometimes even the complete loss of valuable customers.
Recognising that today’s products and services have become harder to differentiate, we must rely increasingly on the interpersonal skills of the people. Especially those in the front line of customer interface.
Human communication; especially voice communication, is a complex and subtle affair. Attitude, tone of voice and manner become critical factors in the emotional mix that underlies customer reactions and relationships.
We believe that the opportunity for competitive advantage through people lies in empowering people with the greatest knowledge of all and that is self-knowledge.
So what do we mean by self-knowledge and how could this impact positively on call centre employees and their interaction with customers?
The Art of Not Doing is mainly about controlling our attitude and by logical extension it is also about understanding and developing influencing skills over ourselves and others.
Our attitude to other people is powerfully conveyed through our tone of voice, manner, listening skills, our energy and many other, often quite subtle, innuendoes. Yet, surprisingly, this most influential and powerful communication tool is often left entirely in the hands of the individual to develop and sustain.
Many of us don’t even realise that our own attitudes to our work, our environment, our employer and our colleagues are being projected to callers through, our demeanour and attitude.
Research shows us that the most effective individuals are goal driven and those goals are UNDENIABLY directly linked to our values in life.
So through training we can actively encourage people to recognise and acknowledge their values and their goals. Correctly handled this leads to clear personal focus and less effort to produce more results.
We feel that this essential behavioural skill should not be left to the individual to develop. If employers fail to empower the individual with a degree of self-knowledge and the motivation to learn and apply new skills, then companies will never realise the full benefit and return on their training investment.
We also strongly believe that the successful companies of the future will provide and empower their employees with both the tools and the environment to allow them to bring those essential human emotional qualities to reflect in their work.
EMPOWERING PEOPLE WITH THE ART OF NOT DOING
In our workshops we utilise a number of different models, which underscore the simple premise that self-knowledge improves our own internal influence and communication and as a direct result improves our influence and communication with others.
ART OF NOT DOING
Re-establish poise and mental balance.
Renewed sense of purpose
The three Minute Stress Releaser:
Various points on the facial muscles, scalp, neck, back and arms tense up during stress and in tension. You can release them instantly as they build up with special techniques. Pay your body As You Earn. Self-help Scalp and face massage and deep tissue Neuro-muscular release techniques untie your knots.
One stretch in the right direction and pressing a few correct buttons on the body, can be a breath-taking exercise.
Case history, neck pain, headaches, repetitive strain injury, tearfulness.
Kathy, a 23 year old, started becoming irritable and tearful after a busy three months at working answering hundreds of phone calls. She complained of pain in the right side of her neck, headaches on the same side, feeling stressed and pins and needles in the hands and arms.
On examination she had very tender knotted muscle of her shoulders, right neck and forearms.
After following the self-help muscle released technique, combined with self-administered massage techniques, plus a stress prevention programme, Kathy has had no further trouble and is enjoying her work even seven years later.
WHAT THE COMPANY CAN DO?
If a company is serious about empowering its people to provide a competitive advantage there needs to be tangible, demonstrable support from the company and not just lip service!
The company should have a clear, practical, committed approach and business philosophy that provides an energising and empowering environment for the staff.
Company values and employee values should be compatible. And this must be seen visually in their working environment and reflected in attitudes at all levels throughout the company.
Let me give you specific examples of what the company might do:
- Encourage people to be healthier and more energetic.
- Invite people in to give talks on nutrition, exercise, and healthy living.
- Provide healthy nutritional snacks, and drinks.
- Provide trained stress counsellors.
- Invite specialists to conduct classes in situ on correct breathing, correct posture and de-stressing techniques.
- Ensure that the physical environment is pleasing; call in an interior designer who specialises in your type of business.
In other words reinforce the business philosophy in visible, tangible and practical ways.
- Prosell offers a program that combines sales training and sales coaching. It is based on recognised research, which tells us that training alone has limited impact and that when supported by skilful coaching, has 74% more chance of being implemented.
- Prosell has resources to deliver these programs across Australia, covering Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra.