Conflict in the workplace is painful. There’s no getting around it. It’s also a reality in every organization. Like change, it’s inevitable and it can dramatically impact your inbound call center’s morale and productivity.
But it doesn’t have to negatively impact your call center. A lot depends on how long you tolerate a conflict before addressing it. Minor arguments between call agents aren’t big deals. Often, they resolve themselves quickly. Get involved in these types of conflicts at your peril.
Major conflicts are different stories. You must address them right away—especially if it involves several co-workers. That’s what effective leaders do. Major conflicts can negatively impact morale and productivity as well as customer satisfaction and customer retention. And that can cost the company big money and you your job.
Knowing When To Address Conflict In The Workplace
You should address conflicts anytime they disrupt workflow, hurt productivity, and/or threaten agents or other workers. Recognizing the type of conflict involved helps you deal with it. Below are 8 types of conflict that you may see in your inbound call center:
1. Available Resources
It’s not unusual for co-workers to fight over resources. We all need them to do our jobs well—whether it’s time in a meeting room or paper for a copier. Scare resources can create conflicts between even the bets of co-workers.
2. Conflicting Work Styles
Everyone is different. Some people value organization. Other people don’t. Some people like to do things early. Others like to wait until just before the deadline. When styles clash, conflicts occur.
3. Differences In Perception
We all see things differently. Co-workers understand this. Most respect different views on things. But differences in perception can cause conflicts fueled by gossip or “turf wars.” Conflicting perceptions can also cause office politics to emerge.
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4. Conflicting Goals
Goals in a workplace sometimes conflict with each other. If your boss says turnaround time is critical and you say it’s in-depth, high-quality service, a conflict could ensue among co-workers. Then there are times when conflicts occur between department goals and organizational goals. Conflicts like these cause confusion and resentment.
5. Conflicting Deadlines
No one likes to be held up when a job has to get done. But when different activities have the same deadline with only one person to do the job, conflicts can erupt. If both tasks are urgent, the situation creates pressure, which can boil over into a major conflict between co-workers.
Occasionally, you must ask associates to do something beyond their responsibilities. If this causes the associate to step into another person’s role, a power struggle can occur. A conflict can also occur if one co-worker views a task as her responsibility but another co-worker takes over that task.
7. Different Ethics
Everyone’s values are different. But occasionally you have to ask an agent to do something that may conflict with his or her value system. This can create a major conflict especially if it involves a closely held moral value or a religious principle. When work bangs heads with personal or religious values, conflicts arise.
Organizations often change policies. When policies change and co-workers aren’t informed, conflicts occur. Conflicts also occur when managers fail to apply workplace policies consistently to every call agent and worker. The differences in treatment can create dissension.
Conflict in the workplace is a painful reality. It’s also inevitable. Setting rules firmly in place helps, but conflicts can still occur. If they’re minor, you can let them go. If they’re major, resolve them quickly. Knowing which type of conflict you’re dealing with can help you resolve the issue. The key is not letting conflicts hurt morale and productivity.
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