Building Effective Global Teams: Managing Diversity in Asian Call Centers

Building Effective Global Teams: Managing Diversity in Asian Call Centers

In today’s global economy, having diversity in team members is a vital part of successful businesses. Companies with the most racially and ethnically diverse executive teams outperform their rivals by 35%, according to research from McKinsey & Company. As a result, businesses like call centers gain an advantage from cultural diversity. 

Among the many possible advantages of global teams in call centers are increased innovation, better client retention, loyalty, and market share. However, customer support managers must overcome several challenges. Some of the major ones are limitations with the language, different time zones, cultural disparities, etc.

When you invest a lot of time and energy to create a productive, cooperative atmosphere for a global workforce, you witness an increased information exchange throughout your business. 

After all, that’s what we all seek for consistent growth, right?

Let’s dive into some basics and a few strategies to help you deal with global customer support teams. We will also reveal how Asian call centers manage diversity to satisfy global clients!


Understanding Cultural Differences in an Asian Customer Service Environment

Cultural differences can impact communication and engagement, especially in a contact center environment. Learning about these differences may help call center employees provide better customer service and avoid misunderstandings.


Dealing with Various Communication Styles

Cultural diversity is characterized by divergent views on the nature and function of communication. Certain cultures place a premium on indirection and subtlety in communication, while others prefer assertiveness and directness. 

Staff members may have to interpret nonverbal cues to gauge customers’ reactions. For example, openly declining a request might be considered impolite in certain Asian cultures.


Understanding Language & Accents

Another crucial component is the relevance of language and accents. Cultural differences in accents and dialects can make it difficult for customers and employees to communicate. Therefore, employees at customer support must receive instruction regarding appreciable communication techniques. Some common examples are active listening and simple language.


Dealing with Various CX Cultures

The concept of customer service might be very different in various cultures. While some cultures hold that customers are always right and expect employees to be accommodating and submissive, others may see customers as more likely to challenge employees or even become aggressive. Employees must be professionally and gracefully ready to deal with situations like this.


Analyzing the Importance of Flexibility 

The last point is that individuals could have different methods for solving difficulties and completing tasks. While some cultures place a premium on individual achievement, others place a premium on teamwork and consensus building. Customer support agents need to be flexible and must know how to work well with people from all walks of life and cultures.


Managing a Global Team in Asian Call Centers: 10 Steps to Success

Managing cultural differences in an Asian customer service setting requires a variety of tactics that promote understanding, communication, and respect. Some crucial strategies that could work are:


1. Developing a Sense of Reliability

Global teams thrive when members can communicate openly and comprehend one another’s points of view. To be a good team leader, you must ensure your employees feel comfortable being honest with each other and their managers. An excellent method for fostering organic conversation is spontaneous, unstructured, raw discussion.

In addition, here are a few ways you can accomplish this:

  • Build an online group of people who are willing to work together across cultural boundaries and who are also willing to listen to new perspectives.
  • Avoid rising tensions by listening to and responding to everyone on the team.
  • Always remember that transparency is a powerful tool when it comes to building trust. You must always strive to become a bright example for your team members.

Grab every opportunity to learn more about your team by asking them questions about their issues. Establish an atmosphere of trust where people feel safe enough to voice their minds. People are thus more comfortable expressing themselves, receiving criticism, and exchanging ideas and information.


2. Unifying Different Cultures

Understanding diverse cultural views can help keep teams running smoothly and prevent embarrassing gaffes.

Experts recommend scheduling regular virtual one-on-one meetings with global leaders while on the ice for business if you want to know them better and understand how their culture influences their jobs.

It is also recommended that countries with low representation of women and minorities set up leadership programs and workshops to promote inclusion and diversity. To help members of marginalized groups have a fair shot, mentoring programs are fantastic.

It’s all about your loyalty and sincerity with the team members and your business. A modest shift in mindset has occurred, though, among younger generations and bigger organizations. If you, as a leader, set the proper conditions and back it, it might work.


3. Offering Vital Guidance and Instruction

If you’re a global team manager, you must realize that providing your staff with the resources they need to thrive is critical to their professional development. You must, therefore, determine your team’s training requirements based on their tasks, problems, and positions. 

They will only be able to perform their work effectively if you give them the resources they require. This might include:

  • All the relevant information
  • Appropriate tools and resources
  • The right direction

Additionally, make an effort to develop an atmosphere that promotes cooperation and mutual support in the call center. Doing so will ensure that every member of the team has the opportunity to develop professionally by learning from one another.


4. Encouraging Teams to Work Together

When putting together a global customer support team, collaboration is king! 

Motivate your team members to collaborate, engage, learn, communicate, and provide mutual support. Establish a warm and inclusive atmosphere where everybody is acknowledged and appreciated. That way, everyone may work with a relaxed state of mind and feel like they can make a difference. 

Online coffee breaks or exercises are great team-building activities that can help people connect and create confidence. By utilizing your understanding of the workforce, you can design team-building activities. Doing so will promote open communication and provide employees the opportunity to learn about one another’s backgrounds and viewpoints.

You can also get creative with the tools to avoid holding a real-time meeting but still want everyone’s opinion on a decision or brainstorming session. You may share screen or voice recordings or utilize a digital whiteboard application.

Prompt team members to share the specifics of any impromptu meetings or phone calls using the team’s shared platform for cooperation. This will guarantee that everybody’s interests are aligned, regardless of how far apart they may be.


5. Regularly Praise and Acknowledge

Providing frequent feedback and acknowledgment to your team members is another crucial aspect of managing a customer support workforce with various skill sets. Feedback is very important for enhancing performance, pinpointing areas for improvement, and resolving problems. 

If you want to motivate, reward, and keep your team members energetic, praise and appreciation are the key! 

You can collect and exchange comments from every angle with the help of a 360-degree feedback system and a recognition platform. Additionally, they can assist you in recognizing and honoring the achievements of your team members.


6. Provide Resources to Every Member

If you want your global team to work efficiently and effectively, you can make sure everyone gets what they need. Regardless of their physical location, all of your employees should have access to the same body of information; thanks to knowledge management platforms.

Team members can access information independently, eliminating the need to wait for coworkers to be online when they have questions. Projects stay on track, and staff feel empowered with a knowledge management solution.

If necessary, offer language workshops to help employees communicate better or set up a social intranet so employees from different countries can share knowledge and access learning modules.


7. Setting a Team Talk Time

Although global teams are best served by adopting an asynchronous-first approach to collaboration, there will always be occasions when a real-time meeting would be more beneficial or efficient. Time zone differences may necessitate infrequent team-wide meetings, but that doesn’t mean you should do without them. 

After all, nothing beats face-to-face communication regarding staff morale, trust, collaboration, and information sharing.

Maximize the time you spend together by preparing ahead of time and never gathering aimlessly. Team members will appreciate being able to review recorded meetings. 

Bloomfire can automatically create a transcript from audio or video recordings that are uploaded.  With this feature, team members can search for specific terms and jump to that part of the meeting.


8. Sharing Objectives and Expectations

Leading a global customer service team successfully requires constant communication, particularly when planning and executing tasks. Assuring that everyone involved is aware of and committed to the same timeline. Everyone should feel safe enough to discuss their priorities and schedules without fear of repercussions.

At any stage of business, there is an abundance of materials available to enhance communication. Slack and Microsoft Teams are two examples of chat programs that allow team members to hold real-time conversations regarding project priorities and challenges. 

They can keep track of their tasks and progress towards common goals using project management tools like Asana.

Lastly, teams can share finished content and engage with each other’s work on knowledge management platforms like Bloomfire.


9. Welcoming Major to Minor Challenges

A remote team member’s capacity to focus and produce high-quality work when working from home might be severely hindered by distractions like a barking dog, a noisy neighbor, or even the washing machine. 

A coworking space in their neighborhood is one alternative to the traditional office that could help them get more done in less time. Even though they aren’t in the same city as the rest of the team, they will still have a professional work environment thanks to this approach.


10. Boosting Team Interaction

An important part of managing a global team is constant and regular contact with them. One method to keep in touch and ensure everyone is on the same page is regular online team meetings.

Additionally, meetings benefit team members in so many ways, such as:

  • They help share and receive information in real time.
  • Let them learn about new company happenings.
  • Monitor progress
  • Give freedom to ask questions.
  • It helps pinpoint problem areas, etc.

Keep in mind that different time zones have different requirements. Make arrangements for a method or system that enables individuals in different time zones to communicate effectively. As a bonus, this will keep team members from feeling disconnected. 

For example, you can arrange for a video conference that involves the entire team at a certain time each day or week, or you can set your emails to be received when a team member begins work. 

Picking the correct communication channels, setting up a routine, and developing a culture are all crucial for optimizing a global team’s cooperation and production in an Asian customer support center.


Wrapping Up

Managing a global staff might be challenging in today’s competitive environment, but the rewards are worth it. Managing cultural differences is essential for better communication, happier customers, and overall productivity in a customer support center setting.

As we discussed how cultural variations, such as language and communication styles, might impact interactions in call centers, providing cultural sensitivity training, employing multilingual staff, and adjusting communication styles to suit consumers’ preferences are some strategies that can handle cultural differences.

To successfully manage diverse cultures, one must always remember that they are complicated and ever-changing. Asian call center managers should make it their mission to promote an environment where every employee feels welcome, valued, and appreciated.

As you gain experience working with global teams in call centers, there will be challenges. Despite the challenges, you must prioritize diversity, open communication, appreciation, and collaboration. 

With the help of the above guidelines and the mentioned platforms for better management, you can build an unbeatable global team with exceptional expertise!


Author: Greg.B

Executive with 25 years of proven success in call center management and revitalizing business units. Proven career record of producing multimillion-dollar profits through pinpointing operational inefficiencies and encouraging the revitalization of employee morale and corporate culture change.

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