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Breaking the Stereotypes of a Call Centre Job

15/02/2022
HR People Talent
Article
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HR People Talent

When you think of working at a call centre, a range of images might spring to mind. Dull, thankless, dead-end job dealing with difficult customers? Not particularly appealing – or true. While call centres of the past may have earned that reputation, it’s an outdated perception for modern operations, which are designed to train, support and nurture their people with workplaces they want to be in.

Let’s take a look at some of the common stereotypes of call centre jobs and why they no longer apply.

 

Stereotype 1: All call centres are drab & dreary

Gone are the days of rickety headsets, crowded desks and sadly munching lunch in the dark. Savvy modern contact centre providers understand the importance of keeping their staff feeling energised and valued throughout their work day – and a big piece of that puzzle is the space itself. Nobody wants to sit in a stuffy office for hours.

TSA workspaces are designed to create an ‘experience tunnel’ for people as soon as they enter the building, which sets the tone for the day: passing through spaces for collaboration and social interaction as they head to their work areas, picking up dynamic energy on the way. These spaces might include cabanas, banquettes and couch areas. 

Operations floors are usually set close to training rooms and shared coaching zones, as well as recreation and kitchen spaces. Taking a varied approach to the configuration caters to different personality types, creating a more agile environment for staff to choose their way of working.

Another misconception about call centres is that they’re located in out-of-the-way areas, cramped city offices or sterile industrial settings. TSA business centres are purposely set in central, convenient, ‘prime talent catchment areas’, meaning they are easy to get to, with plenty of nearby amenities, which is a win-win for jobseekers and contact centre partners.

The approach is to invest in people for the long-term – not be a quick stop on a career path.

Stereotype 2: Low-skilled work that leads nowhere

There’s a common misconception that call centre work is boring with no room for growth. But for frontline team members at TSA, the work is stimulating and rewarding – requiring emotional and practical intelligence, problem-solving skills and a high level of empathy. 

Why? Contact centre agents need to be able to communicate with a range of people, in sometimes challenging situations such as insurance claims, debt collection and customer care during bereavement. They develop genuine connections and relationships with customers, focusing on solutions for all involved. Team members will work on a range of specialised services, from social media and back office support to sales and customer messaging. This takes the pressure off the brands TSA represents, too, knowing they’ve outsourced services into safe hands.

TSA is proactive about turning jobseekers into thriving, multi-skilled team members, focusing on three pillars: support and training, leadership development, and rewards and recognition.

Support and training

The first 30 days are essential in setting up a new team member for success – and there’s a framework set up to do just that. Starting with a full induction, they will be trained on processes such as glide paths for speed competency, tiered incentive approaches and skills-based routing. The structure is a seamless and proven way to nurture people from the first day forward.

Leadership development

Because of this high level of training and subsequent knowledge base, it makes sense to recruit future leaders from the team member pool. As part of this growth cycle, TSA blends courses, programs and experiences to complement an agent’s day-to-day work, to prepare them for career prospects within the business. 

Many of TSA’s executives and senior leaders started their careers in entry-level positions.

Former Family Support Officer Shannon McCrystal says her two years working with G8 Education provided a great foundation for her current role as a Recruiter.

“As a Family Support Officer, you have to build relationships with people, which is an awesome skill to have, and it’s a skill that I have carried throughout my career at TSA,” Shannon says.

Rewards and recognition

The business uses its same people-focused principle when it comes to outcomes – providing people with a continual incentive to be their best and make a difference in their roles. There’s a well-established reward and recognition program available to all team members, which includes:

  • R&R programs that promote behaviours that align with the objectives of partners, from non-monetary recognition in the moment, to lotto-style prize draws and once in a lifetime experiences;
  • Gamified incentive programs with access to a scaled bonus structure, by achieving core performance metrics.

As a business of scale, TSA’s clever approach benefits both team members and partners.

Stereotype 3: Passion isn’t part of the equation

This is a myth. Plain and simple. A major part of working in a call centre is connecting with customers as people first, and with those relationships comes care – and with that care comes passion.

Shannon McCrystal says her work as a Family Support Officer involved supporting customers through problems and hardships.

“I was the single point of contact for families who wanted to enrol their children into an early childhood learning centre…It felt very rewarding to me, to be a part of their family’s journey and ensuring that any issues they faced, such as dietary requirements, billing enquiries or assisting children with special needs, was heard and resolved.” she says.

Being part of a multi-faceted business such as TSA, team members can really create purposeful work by aligning with their personal interests. For example, if a partner needs support for an e-commerce business, TSA will look for agents who have a side hustle or have studied business, who can upskill in their field of interest while providing a quality service.

Stereotype 4: Practising wellness is hard to do in a call centre

Understanding that the work can be challenging and emotionally taxing, TSA offers holistic support for team members that’s tailored to the work they do. 

Care for individual circumstances

With initiatives such as paid volunteer services leave and paid domestic violence leave, it allows team members to navigate life’s pressures and protect what’s important to them.

Wellness in more ways than one

Understanding that wellness is multifaceted, ensuring dedicated programs for overall wellness are important, such as our Happy Health Month focusing on activities for body, mind, spirit and community wellbeing.

Everyone who is a part of TSA can access a wealth of resources, from a fully subsidised employee assistance program (EAP), managed by TSA’s wellbeing partner – Lifeworks, to financial wellbeing solutions with Earnd, empowering our people through life challenges. 

This approach reflects the company’s overall awareness that supporting people benefits everyone.

 

TSA are Australia’s market leading specialists in CX consultancy and contact centre services. We are passionate about revolutionising the way brands connect with Australians. How? By combining our local expertise with the most sophisticated customer experience technology on earth, and delivering with an expert team of customer service consultants who know exactly how to help brands care for their customers.

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