The call and contact centre industry has been one of the most impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s an industry in which working from home (or remote working) was virtually unheard of. Whilst that may not have been favourable to everyone who worked within the industry, it made it easy to quickly foster and maintain working relationships.
This was of particular importance at manager level – if you have a particularly large team, being around them all the time is a good way to make yourself visible, establish your authority and develop meaningful relationships with those you manage.
But working from home has turned all of this on its head. So, how do you, as a senior call centre professional, use those first 90 days of “bedding in” to establish yourself properly with your team? Can you create the same sense of familiarity, support and leadership remotely?
Some of the challenges you may encounter could include performance issues, communication (or lack thereof) issues and collaboration issues. It can be very difficult to endear yourself to a team who have never met you in person in order to smooth these things out.
Here are some of my “top tips” for a successful start to call centre leadership:
Make time for small talk
Have a coffee and a catch up the way you would whilst you were physically in work. Get the team together to talk about something other than work (and Covid) to build up a bit of camaraderie that isn’t marked by the pressures of targets and KPIs.
Use video as much as you can
If your team have never met you in person, it’s important to use video so it feels like they are getting to know you – what you look like; what you sound like; how you use gestures; what makes you laugh; how you perform under pressure. These are all important “readers” when getting to know a person.
Have longer one on ones
People are feeling isolated. They’re used to having (quite literally) hundreds of people around them on a daily basis. Spending a little extra time with your team, on an individual basis, could really make a difference to their wellbeing – they’ll feel like they are really being valued and listened to.
Use animated GIFs and emoticons to convey emotion
That’s what they’re there for! Stick in a wee laughing emoji, a smiley face, a cup of coffee … It all adds a little more personality into what you’re saying, rather than just another Slack or Teams update.
Build a culture of adding people on calls
Again, this makes people feel less isolated and more like part of a bigger team. Whether it’s because you’re looking for the answer to a work-related question or you simply think they could benefit from seeing a few more faces from around the business, get in the habit of adding people to your video calls.
Don’t forget your team’s longer-term career needs
Besides trying to master the “new right now”, don’t forget that your team probably had career plans that they were working to before all this kicked off. Don’t let ambition and talent go to waste – continue to nurture those career plans.
Use the tech
There are a million different platforms out there designed to help us all through this. From Zoom for video calls to Trello for organising tasks, do a bit of research and find an app or a piece of tech that could really help your team work better together whilst working remotely.
If you are looking to make a career move within Scotland’s thriving call centre industry, I’d be delighted to speak to you about the senior roles that I have available. Click here to drop me an email
and get in touch.