7 Deadly Call Center Sins That Plague Employee Engagement

Call center, contact center, employee engagement, agents, Tenacity, sins

At Tenacity, we’re dedicated to showing contact centers how low employee engagement and high turnover issues are having troubling effects on customer experience and operational efficiency. In our recent report on call center attrition and absenteeism, we estimated that a 1,000 seat BPO can incur roughly $8.5M in turnover expenses per year by not improving their employee engagement. We also revealed that one of our customers was able to increase their NPS by 2% by introducing our agent retention software to their teams.

So, if employee engagement is so important to call centers, why can’t managers seem to turn around low morale? It’s a multi-millennia old answer—the 7 deadly call center sins. In this blog, we outline how contact centers fall victim to these issues and suggest creative strategies to boost engagement.


“Sitting is the new smoking” according to a host of studies, and traditionally contact centers have been the worst offenders given the need for agents to be glued to their workstations and phones. But, with the advent of walking desks, cloud contact center technology that allows agents to work from home, and workforce management that gives managers sophisticated scheduling tools, contact centers now have the flexibility to encourage their employees to take breaks, get active, and even work from the comfort of their living room. Even if you aren’t quite ready to set up home stations for your employees, something as simple as encouraging your team members to take alternating 10 minute breaks can ensure that they have the ability to reset and refocus on giving your customers the best experience possible.  


Setting up a speed dating circuit on your call center floor is probably a bad idea, but your employees DO want to enjoy the time they spend with their co-workers. If you keep everyone siloed and focused on their work for 8 straight hours, you’re going to depress employee engagement and encourage record burnout. To strengthen your team, find small ways to build a long-term community such as organizing off-site and off-hour activities. You’ll find that your team will be more willing to help each other, and that your job as coach will naturally shift to their colleagues.  


If you’ve ever worked in a call center, you know that “lunch provided” usually consists of dusty 3 year old ramen or Steve’s two week old sandwich wedged behind the mystery cottage cheese that everyone is afraid to open.

No, the real gluttony that plagues call centers is the gluttony for punishment. While trading war stories about difficult customers can be therapeutic, it can also be toxic to your long term culture. Demonstrate your willingness to jump on tough calls and side with your team over customers when a line has been crossed.


Call center agents are the same as employees in every other industry—they want to be continuously rewarded for the work they do, and they want their income to increase proportionally to their ability to provide exceptional customer service. As a manager, challenge yourself to come up with new compensation ideas so that your employees don’t become accustomed to seeing the same number on their paychecks every month. Over time, if their responsibilities increase but their income doesn’t, your employees will start to check out and, eventually, leave for a better opportunity.


The network just went down again, a customer yelled at them for an hour, or your scheduling system messed up and they got written up for being absent on what they thought was a vacation day—all of these scenarios happen in call centers and result in very angry employees. Be mindful of the deficiencies of your contact center and address them immediately to help ward off the depilating effects of unaddressed wrath.


Every team has its rock stars, but you should always make sure to spread the praise around. Whether it’s solving a customer problem in record time or helping a fellow team member out of a jam, make sure that you are recognizing your employees for going above and beyond their job description. If you focus all of your attention on the “top performers”, you’ll quickly find yourself with a divided and envious team.


For the most part, call center employees take pride in their work and want to deliver great customer service (so long as they have the tools they need to do that). To foster and nurture this pride, make sure you regularly share business metrics and praise from leaders when company goals are met. Gathering everyone in a group for a few minutes every month and quarter to review results can help boost that sense of pride.

Are the 7 deadly call center sins plaguing employee engagement in your contact center? Contact us today to learn how we can help!

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