Customer Experience News & Trends

Turning a blind eye to this will kill morale

Agents will quickly lose faith in supervisors who turn a blind eye to this.


Truth is, many agents want to hear or spread gossip. But they like to see a leader who draws the line on toxic workplace talk, customer care expert Barbara Burke has found in her research.

Some gossip in the contact center is benign and actually helps morale and productivity – “Did you hear the deadline might get moved up? We better step it up.” or “Don’t tell anyone, but I heard Amy is getting an award for her extra efforts through this campaign. It’s great for her!”

But negative stories, half-truths and flat-out lies hurt productivity and kill morale.

Contact center leaders probably can’t eliminate gossip, but they can use these expert tips:

  • Set the rule. Note in your code of conduct or workplace etiquette rules that gossip will not be tolerated.
  • Set the standard. As the manager, never gossip. Period.
  • Train on it. Outline what gossip is (negative talk about people, circumstances or situations that can’t be confirmed), how it’s spread and how it’s harmful.
  • Address offenders. When you catch people gossiping, call them to the mat. Remind them why it’s against the code of conduct and the harm it causes. If you have consequences in place for violating the code, enforce them.
  • Keep the information flowing. Tell agents as much as possible about company plans, customer information and employment status so they don’t fill gaps in knowledge with gossip.

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