The Philippines’ Unique Call Center Culture
A company’s culture can be a tremendous competitive advantage. It’s what retains the best staff, motivates the right behavior, encourages quality customer service and drives the business forward. Most important, unlike products and services which can be copied, corporate culture cannot be replicated by competitors.
Developing and maintaining a winning culture is a considerable challenge. Some leaders see the value in culture but often do not know how to build a culture or improve the existing one. This can be even tougher in the call center industry where the odds are stacked against you. At the extreme, you have high agent turnover, unfavorable working hours (including graveyard shifts), often repetitive tasks and a constant calling queue of demanding customers on the other end of the line. This can put a strain on even the best agents impacting their attitude, mindset, engagement and behavior – the exact pillars of corporate culture.
In the Philippines, finding a way to let contact center cultures develop, evolve and thrive is critical to both keeping employees and providing solid customer service. Companies that invest in their call center culture from the outset can create a distinct competitive advantage within their markets.
Below are key attributes to the Philippines’ Unique Call Center Culture:
Top led by actions. Culture is about the values, mindset and behavior of people in an organization. Maintaining a corporate culture means those at the top must be consistent and visible in walking the talk. While many things can influence culture, the single most important one is leadership, at all levels – what leaders do and say on a daily basis —in that order. Determine what really motivates people. This is where intrinsic motivators (like meaningful roles with learning and growth) vs. extrinsic factors (such as compensation) need to be evaluated regularly to ensure all employees understand and align to the culture and are“living it” in everything they do. Ideally, senior managers will spend time “on the floor” with their teams to fully understand their needs, challenges and motivators for success and can develop the overall culture accordingly.
Recognize the importance of the frontline. The real test of a winning culture is whether expectations for corporate success and high performance are understood and widely shared. Winning cultures are best measured through the day-to-day activities of the frontline. This is where cultural change can have the greatest impact on company performance. Empowering and recognizing the importance of frontline employees is fundamental in maintaining a positive attitude in the workplace. Frontline workers need to feel like a crucial part of the business process in order to want to go above and beyond their basic role.
Celebrate and communicate success. Culture needs momentum and example after example of doing the right thing for the business. Celebrating and communicating success feeds culture and makes it part of the organization’s DNA – whether it’s through weekly meetings, personal recognition, awards, quarterly newsletters, financial rewards, lifestyle incentives or actual promotions. Employees need to feel involved and appreciated, and that they are part of the overall success of the company. Ultimately, paying premium wages can have a significant impact in many work environments. Pay will certainly attract employees, but it rarely is the key to retaining them, and retention is critical in a call center environment. However, if employees feel valued, rewarded, fairly treated, and believe they personally contribute to the overall success of the organization, they will stay and thrive.
A sense of community, empowerment and both personal and professional growth are essential. If the rightbalance between extrinsic and intrinsic motivators can be achieved, a positive call center culture has a much better chance to evolve and thrive.
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