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It’s all about the people

THE dot.com companies prophesied and promised change – change to the way we would be conducting our business in the new millennium.

It was going to be electronic with minimal human interaction.

The reality and commercial challenge today is how we can best combine and manage the blending of constantly changing technology and increasing customer expectations with traditional business methods and wisdom to achieve success. In essence, blending e-commerce with people contact to deliver a quality customer service through a call centre environment.

A call centre’s most important and valuable asset is its people. It is one of a centre managers many responsibilities to ensure that their people are managed using solid, best practice human resources principles and processes. Staff must know what is expected of them, the training, orientation and support that they will receive, the feedback mechanisms within the centre, the mentoring and coaching programs and career paths available to them.

A human resources manager can fulfil several roles within an organisation. Their wide experience of industrial relations, competency based programs, performance management processes, coupled with recruitment and selection knowledge and relevant expertise, makes them an invaluable asset and resource to the organisation’s call centre.

In the very people-focused environment of a call centre, the relationship between the centre and HR manager is very important. This is especially so when a call centre reaches a critical mass of 30 or more people. It takes time and vigilance to manage people well. Daily communication between the centre and HR manager is vital. Not only does this keep the managers on their toes, but it enforces a discipline or indirect quality control on each of them. The people in the centre will then see a focused management team that is well aligned with a very clear set of rules in regards to how their people are managed.

The ‘churn’ or rate of staff turnover will always be an issue in the call centre industry.

Again, a good working relationship with HR can have dramatic effects on reducing this. Processes that help identify contributing causes to a high turnover rate – staff satisfaction surveys, good occupational safety and health processes – these are all areas that HR can also assist a call centre manager with.

If you know that your people are being managed well, a good relationship between HR and the call centre also allows the centre manager to focus on the many other operational responsibilities required to ensure that the centre performance consistently meets its objectives and that of the organisation.

By maximising this relationship you are, in fact, fully realising the impact and potential of your centre’s and organisation’s most important resource – its people. The call centre is always an integral and crucial part of the frontline. It is the call centre people who are, in very real terms, the voice of every organisation.

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