19 Feb Keeping Our Call Center Running Come H**l Or High Water
When it comes to winter weather, brick and mortar stores have it easy compared to hospitals, emergency services and call centers. If snow and ice pile up outside, making travel dangerous, some businesses have the luxury of hanging a closed sign on the door and calling it a day.
That’s not how it goes for call centers though. No matter the weather forecast, customers call and our customer service representatives (CSRs) must be here to take those calls. But let’s face it. Call center services aren’t saving lives or putting out fires. So how do we convince our CSRs to brave the elements to come to work, especially when schools, churches, community services, retail shops and even the government announce they’re closed? It’s a matter of incentives, education and preparation.
At Centrinex, we implemented a point system for our CSRs that reward their dedication to their jobs, and getting here against all weather odds. After all, if you’re willing to make the effort to drive in icy and snowy conditions, you should be commended for it.
Once staff is on-site, the last thing they want to do is get back on slick, dangerous roads to grab lunch. Centrinex CSRs know snow days mean a free lunch. We cater lunch so staff can stay put and safe.
As we saw recently during winter storms across the country, ice and snow can bring traffic to a literal standstill on the highways. During severe winter weather, city officials advocate employers stagger their opening and closing times to avoid traffic accidents and congestion. Centrinex CSRs are encouraged to arrive at work early to ensure they’re here on time, not stuck in traffic. We compensate with overtime for the additional hours they’re here.
Fortunately in the Midwest, winter storms usually come with plenty of warning. As soon as snow or ice is predicted, our management team educates our staff on how to be prepared. Simple reminders like thinking ahead and parking at the top or bottom of the neighborhood hill to avoid getting stuck, keep a full gas tank, etc.
Most every winter brings at least one major snow or ice storm. And no amount of incentives or education can guarantee full staffing. That’s why we put our Costa Rica call center on notice and bring in more CSRs to handle the call volume our Midwest center cannot.
Weather doesn’t change call volume, but it can impact how effectively a call center manages it. We don’t think that any of these measures are above and beyond. We consider them standard operating procedure. Come h**l, high water, ice or snow, Centrinex’s call center is staffed. Our customers count on it.