Supervisors lose credibility when they ignore toxic talk

Aha 27 - react or respond

Frazzled and frustrated after a tough call with a customer, the agent spins her chair around and unloads a string of expletives that everyone within earshot can hear.

While blowing off steam after a call might make the agent feel better, the angry diatribe pollutes the environment, forcing nearby agents to inhale the toxic fumes.

Supervisor Response #1: Do nothing.
When a supervisor overhears an agent dissing a customer yet does nothing, they are actually endorsing that behavior. It’s the same as saying, “Badmouthing customers is just fine with me. Have at it.”

Supervisor Response #2: Do something.
Supervisors may not realize it, but agents consider the situation a “moment of truth” — a litmus test that shows whether their leader really invested in their success. Supervisors enhance their credibility when they take action to correct any and all morale-killing behavior.

What to say to the offending agent:
1. Meet privately with the agent. Let them know exactly what you observed. Make it clear that making derogatory remarks about customers is unacceptable. Cite the company’s code of conduct (if you have one).
2. Discuss the negative impact such derogatory remarks can have on their co-workers.
3. Coach the agent on healthier ways to manage their emotions when dealing with customers who frustrate them. Teach the agent to use the simple 4-step *SODA (Stop.Observe.Decide.Act) formula for remaining calm under fire.
4. Be patient with the agent. This type of knee-jerk behavior may not change overnight.

Dissing customers, disrespectful speech, and harmful gossip is a growing concern among contact center supervisors and managers. Toxic work environments destroy morale, reduce productivity, and is why many good agents look for jobs elsewhere.

Learn what you can do to restore courtesy and respect to your contact center. 

Register for this week’s Workplace Wisdom Webinar: How to Prevent Toxic Talk in The Workplace on Wednesday (3/16/16) There are only 3 seats left.

May you be happy.

Barbara

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