The Future Of Call Centre Design
Evolving Your Call Centre To A Contact Centre Of The Future
The contact centre of the future is a place where design complements the people working there, and the team are then able to provide a much better service to their customers, across whichever channel the customer decides to use.
One of the more important design elements in contact/call centre design is that of layout, ergonomics and utilisation of space. These are core components to creating a working environment which not only stimulates, but allows for efficiency in team members.
There are two key components to a successful call centre, specifically related to design,
Then the question becomes, how can those two aspects be optimised, tweaked and refined to create a working environment? Specifically one that not only encourages a happy team, but as a result, satisfied customers.
How to keep the team happy and motivated
As the biggest assets to any contact centre, keeping people happy, motivated and present is the biggest hurdle contact centre providers have to conquer. The simplest way of keeping a team motivated is by giving them goals, targets and objectives.
Beside being trained to use their equipment properly and to get the best value out of it, it’s also important to consider their comfort. This can be achieved by providing furniture and tools to make their lives easier. From wireless keyboards and peripherals, to foot stools and chairs with sufficient lumbar support, keeping people comfortable is paramount.
Smart software solutions
Provide your team with the software, technology and dashboards to be able to service customers quickly, and confidently. If a team member is confident that he/she has all the tools needed to perform the job at hand, they’ll be more comfortable and effective, at providing a resolution, and even exceeding the customer’s expectations. Empowering the team is non-negotiable, and by trusting your empowered workforce, you will be alleviating some of your own concerns with the confidence that they’re doing the basics correctly.
The other aspect of hiring people to take into consideration are the tools that aid in productivity. According to an article from the New York Times, team members can be up to 30% more productive using dual monitors. Think of it as a canvas you’re working on, you can fit a lot more onto a huge canvas (dual screens) than a simple A4 one, making it easier to depict and illustrate your point. It’s important to take into account that none of these technologies make a team more productive, but they allow the team to be more productive. It’s about diligence, training and ensuring the entire team is on the same page in regard to objectives and expectations.
Another great way to get a more cohesive team is to encourage knowledge sharing and internal training. It serves as the ideal platform for those with more experience to pass on their knowledge of clients and all their individual nuances. This also mitigates the eventual loss of more experienced team members, as a portion of their expertise has been passed on to your remaining people.
Are you using your office space smartly?
Space is a wonderful tool to help create an atmosphere that is pleasant, bright and relaxing to be in. A study conducted by the American Society of Interior Designers found that employees who liked their office environment were likely to be 31% more satisfied in their jobs than individuals who did not. A pleasant office environment is more than just open space though, there are many things to consider.
Layout is as important as space
Layout is as important as space, so considering the office layout to allow people to move freely, comfortably and efficiently can yield tangible results. If you are in the process of putting a call centre together, pay special attention to the layout of the space, and the needs of your employees. An area to relax in has become common practice in numerous offices across the globe, and for good reason.
Provide your people with an area for lunch, socialising and just relaxing, either in between shifts, during lunch and tea breaks. Ensure the area is inviting and that people want to spend time there, together. This is even more essential once we delve into why these areas are so important.
Do these spaces really matter?
So why then are these areas so vital to the success of an office space? Simply put, particularly in the case of a contact centre, the staff will spend most of their day looking at a screen, or two, with a headset on while focused on the customer on the other end of the line, or chat.
This creates a barrier between co-workers, as each person will essentially be operating in their own bubble. While this is completely acceptable, it’s up to employers to provide staff with a means to mingle, get to know each other and nurture relationships.
Keep the team in mind when designing these areas
Be sure to create these spaces conscious of the fact that they should not feel like the office, at all. Different colours, furniture and finishings are the quickest ways to differentiate the “work” space, from the “recreational” space, and although superficial, the distinction is essential.
According to Entrepreneur Mag these spaces can fulfil a variety of functions. Carefully consider what to put into these spaces, as the amenities can include coffee machines, a gym, comfortable couches, games rooms and even restaurants or cafeterias. Creating a home away from home for staff members is a great way to motivate your team, and if you create a homely environment, a family dynamic can form on the back of it.
Again, a happy workforce makes for happy customers.
If your call centre currently has rows and rows of people and cubicles, perhaps it’s time for a reevaluation of the layout and equipment the team is using. Aim to create a space that doesn’t isolate individuals, provide them with technology to support and assist customers, and create an environment that inspires and maximises the staff’s productivity. Design trends are definitely moving towards open spaces and inclusive areas, so islands of desks (perhaps of individual teams within the bigger team) all facing each other without any partitions are where office design is going.
It’s as good a time as any to evaluate the utilisation of your team’s space.