The new hit TV comedy TV Outsourced set in a Mumbai, India call center is a spoof on outsourcing overseas. While funny, some of the issues the show addresses can really hit pretty close to home.
In an episode in February, Todd (the lone American manager) decides to reward his staffers by taking them on a retreat an hour outside of Mumbai. When the train they are riding breaks down, Todd is forced to conduct the team building exercises in the middle of the crowded train. After a series of debacles between Todd and the staffers, the team ends up learning to work together and getting past their petty squabbles.
While a humorous portrayal of how to run a call center, and completely different from how a call center is run … well, at least speaking for ours at USA800 … it does bring up a serious issue of team building and the importance of working together to meet a common goal.
In a call center environment, you have people from all walks of life. There are different nationalities, ethnicities, socio-economic statuses, etc. Because we are located in the Midwest, the one commonality is usually a neutral accent, but even that isn’t guaranteed. So, because you have diversity, team building is a critical component in making sure everyone works together to achieve the common goal: success for our clients.
We use team building on a regular basis with our employee-owners. We find that this helps to break down any barriers that might otherwise be present. We continue to refine our ‘toolkit’ of team building exercises. I can proudly say the ‘human knot’ exercise used in the show is not part of our repertoire. But, we do have an added advantage of being employee-owned which as a benefit provides an inherent team culture. Because we are an employee-owned company, our customer advocates have a stake in the company which provides everyone a common goal to make the company, and in turn our clients, successful.
While the show “Outsourced” offers a comical view into the call center environment and their agents and staff, we know that these are the folks that have first line contact with our clients’ customers and are critical to our success and our clients’ success. And, having a cohesive team is critical to that success.