5 Awesome Contact Center Culture Lessons From an Arizona State Prison


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Every year, companies like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed put out lists of the top places to work. From hammocks and ping-pong tables to fully stocked break rooms and rooftop zen gardens, it may seem like company culture is directly tied to the amount of money you’re willing to spend. But a recent visit to a contact center, which happened to be located inside of the Perryville Correctional Facility in Arizona, proved the exact opposite: an awesome culture isn’t something that’s bought. In fact, it can be built without spending anything at all.

Here are 5 ways you can make your contact center a great place to work, without breaking the bank on “ridiculous perks”.

  1. Amp up the team spirit. Teams are traditionally used as ways to create groups of agents that share a similar skill set, work with a particular customer segment, or work in a particular location. But they can also be used to help build morale. Having your teams work together to create a team name and logo can bring a little excitement into the contact center. This can also help encourage agents to work better together and even inspire some playful inter-team competition. If you need some ideas for inspirational quotes, check out Bill Quiseng’s QUI Quotes on Customer Service.
  1. Spruce up the space. No one likes working in a stale office. Artwork, signage, posters, useful references, and desk decorations are a great way to bring some creativity and positivity into the space. You can use posters as a way to show some appreciation after a customer provides great feedback on their experience, or take advantage of cubicle dividers by keeping useful information close by. At Perryville, the agents cubes were filled with plants, quick reference guides, calendars, call scripts, and company swag—livening up the space and getting the agents the answers and content they needed quickly.

Televerde Call Center
Image source: Forbes

  1. Share lessons learned across the team. As much as we’d like to templatize the support process, no two customers are the same. Encourage teams to share situations that they felt went really well and those that didn’t. Collecting and incorporating this feedback can help identify areas for improvement, streamline processes, and ultimately yield better performance metrics. At the end of each day, the Perryville agents would gather in a room and recap their conversations, and share the messaging that they found worked and responses that they felt could be improved. We’d even spend a few minutes listening to recordings of some of the best calls to see how agents effectively handled situations and shortened time to resolution.
  1. Show appreciation. You don’t have to wait for an Employee Appreciation Day to let your agents know that they’re doing a great job. While gift cards, lunches, and bonuses are nice ways to reward excellent performance, tokens of appreciation don’t need to be expensive. Check out Forbes’ list of 25 low-cost options to recognize exceptional work.
  1. Use efficient systems and processes. Contact centers often struggle with high turnover, and training new agents is very time consuming. Conduct periodic reviews of the tools, systems, and processes in place and see if there are rooms for improvement. Can things be optimized to save agents time? Are there ways to consolidate multiple tools into a single tool when it comes time for renewal? Any steps you can take to reduce the time it takes to perform administrative functions will reduce frustration and help your agents focus their attention on providing the excellent levels of service that’ll keep your customers coming back.

These are just a few ways that this contact center in Arizona is building an awesome culture on a tight budget. If you haven’t already, make sure you’re tracking these 11 metrics to truly assess your contact center’s performance.

You can learn more about the company behind the Perryville contact center here.

Mike Dupuy
Mike is a startup marketer and advisor. Mike has worked in marketing, solutions architect, and sales engineering roles at a variety of Bay Area startups and enterprises.


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