7 Steps to a Value-Driven Call Center Culture

Richard Natoli

In recent years the importance of developing a strong call center culture has been a very hot topic amongst call center professionals. I was fortunate to begin my career with a company renowned for its strong culture. Since leaving that position and experiencing the less desirable cultures in the business world I have been focused on the process of building culture.

In my current position I worked on a total redefinition of the call center. The business strategy was redefined, the targeted customer experience was re-engineered, and we created our desired call center culture.

Redefining your call center culture can appear to be a very daunting task at the outset, however by following the process below you will maximize your chance for success.


Clearly Outline Your Desired Corporate Image: This is a very important step in the culture-building process. Marketing and Advertising departments spend a significant portion of their annual budgets to advance brand image. To ensure the maximization of this investment the call center must work to develop a culture that is consistent with their vision. I suggest reaching out to key members of your marketing team and involving them in the call center culture building process.

Clearly Outline Your Desired Call Center Image: At this point you must concentrate on the complete experience you would like to provide to your customers and prospects. When you look at the customer experience it should include the total relationship with your customer service/sales areas.

Define Your Call Center Values: During this step it is important to focus on the desired corporate image and brainstorm all of the values a call center representative should possess in order to advance this image.

Ask the following questions:

• What type of customers will our call center representatives be communicating with?

• What qualities will the perfect call center representative exhibit on a daily basis?

• What values must be present in order to ensure our image is appropriately supported?

• What are the core traits every call center employee must possess in order to be successful with our organization?

After compiling a list of possible call center values work as a group to find the most important. When my group went through this process there were dozens of values. In the end we chose the five most important. These five values are now the backbone of a very strong and growing culture.

Redesign your call center recruiting process: If you want to have a strong call center culture it needs to be fed by your recruiting process. Once you have your values defined you need to develop an interview process that specifically identifies strengths and weaknesses in each call center candidate’s values. Call center representatives support the culture, and the values support the corporate vision and call center objectives.

Include the following in your new process:

• List of traits that tend to indicate a strong presence of the call center values you are looking for.

• List of questions that will uncover whether your call center’s candidate possesses the required traits.

• Weighted scoring system for each candidate. (to ensure minimum standards for new hires)

Score your current call center representatives:
Once you develop the call center candidate scoring system, introduce it to your existing call center representatives. Roll out the new values and emphasize their importance to the success of each individual, and to the company as a whole. Rate each of your existing call center representatives and provide targeted feedback for improvement. Make it very clear that the exhibition of the new core values while at the call center is a non-negotiable part of their job. Only those that consistently display strong core values can succeed within your call center.

Support your Core Values: The call center management team must publicly support the core values. Programs rewarding call center representatives displaying high scores should be implemented. The core values should be integrated into every meeting, training, and feedback discussion. Make the call center’s core values a key topic in every interaction with the call center crew. Through this constant reinforcement and modeling you will help the value-based culture to take root and flourish in your call center.

Integrate the call center values into the annual review process:
You have to close the loop on the core values. If you do not tie call center employee performance and compensation to the values you will never be able to foster a strong call center culture. By making demanding strong performance in the core values during reviews you offer the WIFM (What’s in it for me) for your call center representatives.

Once your new culture begins to gain traction the benefits of all of the time, effort, and focus will become evident. Call center attrition rates will drop, quality scores will rise, brand consistency will increase, and sales will soar. And perhaps most importantly your call center representatives will truly be proud come to work every day.

First published on Call Center IQ