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Building Community in Remote/Hybrid Contact Centers


Contact center employees are CX experts. Most spend their days solving problems for customers, supporting them, sometimes educating them, sometimes selling and upselling products and services. They simultaneously use multiple systems to source information, complete transactions, and most importantly, strengthen customer relationships. They hold one-to-one synchronous or near synchronous exchanges, sometimes 30-40 times per day.

Collaborating with co-workers is not a material part of this role, representing maybe only 5-10% of a rep’s overall work month. It’s not a tool we can count on to boost community amongst a largely distributed workforce. But below are some engagement tools and practices I’m seeing work quite well in the largely remote/hybrid contact center environment we now live in:

  • Increased frequency of live team meetings, alongside reduced duration. Live gatherings with eye-to-eye contact help build connection. Meeting length is being reduced, with content pushed out in advance. The meetings become the place where people check-in for understanding, a quick social interaction, as well as a leader connection.
  • Recorded video updates vs. written channels for hot topics. Companies are selecting interested reps to convey key messaging via video for updates, and the best part – the rep/speaker is consolidating 2-3 multiple updates into one single short video. Utilizing reps creates an added connection, another relational point. The videos are then paired with written updates that are stored in the KMS.
  • Social chat rooms designed exclusively for dialogue amongst reps. Cheers for Peers, Wellness, Tips for Families Who Work Hybrid/WFH are examples.
  • Live virtual gatherings that are social. Coffee hangouts, virtual cooking classes, game nights, discussion groups with fixed topics (non-work related). Organizations are going broad on invites, bringing together people from all over their companies, as a way of enjoying common interests, and making new connections.
  • Work-related virtual gatherings led by support functions. HR, Learning, WFM, Marketing and key executives are doing town halls and Q & A sessions on changes to benefits, professional development, education on leveraging flexible scheduling and benefits, other key initiatives that impact reps.
  • Live in-person events. When employees do gather in person, it’s a celebration; it’s a special event, as opposed to a mandatory on site “meeting”. Organizations are making some real investments to create high energy, meaningful gathering spots and content to celebrate their employees and build community.

WFH and hybrid are not new for contact centers. But certainly the focus on getting really good at it for the long run – is new and improving.