It’s a common misconception that all call centers are essentially the same—that they are interchangeable when it comes to the services they provide and the experiences customers will have. Since call centers are composed of many different brand representatives, the logic goes, they are interchangeable as well.
Unfortunately, this misconception isn’t very flattering. It summons visions of lackluster agents reading robotically from a script and only half-heartedly responding to customers’ needs. It sparks concern that even the most well-intentioned agent can’t provide the expertise and empathy required to quickly resolve problems and inspire higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.
The reality, however, is that call centers are not all the same—and neither are their agents. In fact, the key element that distinguishes one agent from another is preparedness—the type of training and support that compels professional success and personal growth. Likewise, agents vary according to their level of motivation, communication skills, problem-solving abilities, product knowledge, and feelings of satisfaction and connectedness in the workplace.
RDI understands the inherent connections between these elements that define the larger culture of a call center and make a tangible difference for our clients and the customers they serve.
While it may be true that many agents enter the industry with very similar experiences and skills, we focus more on the potential of each individual, which is why we invest so much time in training and professional development.
It’s a lot like placing a golf ball on the tee. At first glance, there probably isn’t much difference between the ball you select and the others in the box. However, a golf ball only reaches its full potential when paired with a golfer who knows which club to use, who understands the potential hazards of the course, and who has perfected the mechanics of their swing. Suddenly, one golf ball has a much better position on the fairway than the rest. So, too, the proper training and professional support lead to higher levels of performance.
Admittedly, it’s an imperfect metaphor, primarily because agents aren’t golf balls. They are people whose value and potential extend far beyond simple metrics. Workplace performance is intertwined with things like social connectedness, emotional well-being, and personal satisfaction, which can’t be reduced to a percentage on a pie chart.
The point is that to compel the type of employee engagement that supports sustainable growth, call centers must first attend to the needs of their agents. Agents learn to put people first when they feel supported and valued.
Our Two-Pronged Approach
Agent preparedness comes down to two basic levels of engagement:
- Engagement with their job.
- Engagement with the customer.
RDI has consistently ranked as a top workplace among employees because we attend to the social-emotional aspect of their experience. When agents feel supported at work and have access to key resources, they begin to feel capable and inspired to strive for their own professional goals.
We cultivate job engagement through a culture of caring and a service mindset unique to RDI called ELLWell (Earn, Learn, Live Well). It’s our promise to employees to provide ample educational opportunities and to help them forge a path into management or other professional goals. We offer fast-track advancement to employees who demonstrate job engagement. We have also worked very hard to create a company culture that puts people first in a supportive and inclusive environment.
Customer engagement is about training, which goes beyond rote tasks to emphasize essential skills like critical thinking, empathy, and composure under pressure. We train employees to minimize the effort required to solve current and potential problems, which is a win for both the agent and the customer.
Our investment in top-tier training is illustrated by our use of AI-assisted training technology, customized knowledge bases, various teaching methods that address different learning styles, and ongoing employee feedback and mentorship that extend far beyond the onboarding process.
The RDI Difference
Certainly, when viewed as “raw materials,” call center applicants might not vary widely when it comes to experience or initial performance. But just like agents aren’t golf balls, they aren’t raw materials, either. Our unique approach to agent engagement is holistic, striving to meet each individual’s needs and nurture their full potential.
This is what makes RDI different from other call centers, and it’s why we can deliver a higher ROI for our clients. When we say we’re people-first, we mean it.