The impact of interpersonal relationships in outsourcing call centers

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Positive interpersonal relationships are essential for companies, even more so for outsourcing call centers in the Philippines and other outsourcing hubs around the world.

Although some might view it as a personal matter, workplace relationships actually have a direct effect on the performance and retention of agents.

Workplace relationships

Having a healthy relationship with colleagues is valuable for employees. It motivates them and keeping their morale high. It also helps reduce stress, particularly for those dealing with difficult callers on customer service accounts. Additionally, by getting to know each other more, agents can work better in team efforts.

Perhaps, to sum it all up: good workplace relationships make work more enjoyable for agents.

The lack of relationships with the people within the workplace can make agents feel alone and isolated. This may prompt them to resign and find other company that can make them feel secure and comfortable. This may contribute to the huge attrition rate in the industry.

How management can do its part

Agents in outsourcing call centers often bond during lunch breaks or after-office activities. Once in the office proper, there is moderate time for interaction between agents. This is because of their different schedules and the attention required on answering calls. As such, it is up to the company to improve work relationships of its agents.

A study reported by the Philippine Daily Inquirer shows that self-disclosure is an important factor in interpersonal relationships. However, Filipino customer service representatives tend to withhold sharing information on the first few months of their stay, probably due to the local concept of hiya

To facilitate self-disclosure, managements may conduct occasional team building activities and seminars, and also promote a friendlier workplace. Others suggest encouraging short breaks from work not only to increase productivity, but also give personal time to agents as they take walks or grab snacks.

 In general, a positive relationship with colleagues serves as social support so agents can perform well to deliver consistent quality of customer service. It is also an effective strategy to decrease attrition rates so the outsourcing call center can employ more experienced talents.

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