Building A Culture Of Trust In An Inbound Call Center
Do your call agents trust you?
Chances are they don’t.
Workers instinctively mistrust managers until they prove otherwise.
It may not be fair. It may not be right. But it’s a fact of life.
This is bad news for you and for your company.
Unless you gain your people’s trust, their performance will suffer. Instead, they’ll react to your directives with distraction, fear, and paralysis.
But you’ll never know it. Often, workers hide their mistrust inside “business” behaviors. They’ll sandbag on quotas, hedge stretch goals, and avoid accountability and commitment.
These behaviors hurt corporate performance. What’s worse, they hurt customer service and customer satisfaction and retention.
So you need to build trust in your inbound call center to motivate call center agents and build a winning team.
Measuring Trust In Inbound Call Centers
The first step in building a culture of trust is to measure it in your inbound call center. Charles H. Green, founder and CEO of Trusted Advisors Associates, says the easiest way to measure trust is to examine several key factors. These include:
- Client focus: Employees must believe you’re not in the business solely to make money but you really want to help customers.
- Collaboration: You need to show workers you really want to work as a team. That means working together to reach the best solution to issues.
- Transparency: Don’t keep secrets from others. Be open and visible, and forgo hidden agendas. They seriously detract from your trustworthiness.
- Long-term perspective: This is perhaps the most critical yardstick of all. Workers must see that you’re focused on building relationships—not completing transactions.
Of course, it’s not easy measuring trust in a department or organization. But these factors provide a good starting point so you can address your weakness.
Implementing A Strategy To Build Trust
Knowing your weaknesses, you can now implement a trust-building strategy—the first step of which starts with you. You must “model” trustworthiness before getting worker buy-in. You also must act in ways that transcend the fear of organizational power.
This doesn’t mean you have to alter your management style. You don’t have to be a warm or an extremely kind person.
You can be harsh, tough, and demanding. You can even be socially awkward. In other words, you’re free to be yourself.
But you must be fair and consistent. And your promises must be inviolate. As long as you’re doing these things, workers will trust you.
Also, it doesn’t hurt to be real and human—just like your workers. To do this, you may have to allow others to see your personal vulnerability. This can’t be something that’s fabricated. It must be real and authentic.
Tell The Truth—Always
In addition, you have to tell the truth—even when it’s inconvenient or unpopular or it makes you look bad. Match your actions with your words and your words with the truth and you’ll be okay. No spin. No lies. No justifications.
And whatever you do, never say to an employee something like “I just lied to someone else, but you can trust me because I’d never lie to you. This is the “adulterer’s guarantee.” It never works in your favor.
Put simply, you must become trustworthy by building a track record of honesty, fairness, and integrity. It’s the only way to get workers to trust you.
Building a culture of trust in your inbound call center is the first step in creating a winning team—one that goes the extra mile to help customers solve problems and create outstanding customer service.
Customer service that exceeds expectations boosts customer satisfaction and loyalty, driving up sales and profits.
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