6 Ways to Motivate Call Center Staff and Boost Morale
A happy workforce is a productive workforce. Most people would agree that a miserable salesperson is likely to sell less than a contented one; or that an overly-stressed customer service rep will give a poorer experience than a relaxed one.
There's a direct correlation between call center productivity and agent satisfaction; however, determining what works best is often a challenge. We all respond differently to different incentives, management styles, and environments. While some people may be entirely driven by personal financial reward, others may flourish when made to feel part of a team.
Motivating a large workforce without just aimlessly throwing money around is the Holy Grail for contact center managers. So what are the best ways to motivate your staff and improve call center morale?
1. Ask Your Call Center Employees for Feedback
Dust off that tired old suggestion box and allow staff to freely share ideas and feedback. Not only will you get some of the best ideas (as twenty heads are better than one) but the very principle of implementing measures suggested by the team has value in itself. It recognizes their initiative and also shows management that they don’t always know best.
You can make this more useful by having a calibrated and repeatable system for measuring staff satisfaction. It’s a critical step if you’re serious about motivating your agents on a long term basis.
2. Recognize Good Performance in Public and Bad Performance in Private
Every organization -- with or without a contact center -- should understand the importance of employee recognition. The value of a “well done” or “thank you” expressed publicly can never be underestimated. Beyond that, a structured and achievable system of recognizing good performance that any employee, new or old, can aspire towards is hugely beneficial. On the flipside, staff that are performing poorly should, in most cases, be guided in private.
Often within a contact center, performance data for both teams and individuals are publicly advertised on bulletin boards or leader boards. Top performers with a competitive edge will strive to make it to the top. However, lower achievers don’t need further humiliation by having their shortcomings displayed in front of their peers. Be sure to track and show performance in a way that inspires everyone and deters none.
3. Host Events for the Call Center Team
No one ever said the work of a contact center agent is exciting. In fact, one of the most common complaints from staff is the mundanity of the job. Routinely taking calls or processing customer requests day in and day out can get old very quickly.
One way to combat this is to conduct regular team building events. Whether you have regular productivity competitions within the workplace, or do occasional offsite team bonding events, these events make the job less about the individual and more about the valid role they play in the overall team and success of the organization.
It’s very easy to feel like a small cog in a big wheel. But successful team events can make your agents realize they are an integral part of the team.
4. Offer Greater Variety of Tasks
Another way to engage agents is by giving them a variety of tasks. Multichannel contact center environments have an advantage in this regard as agents can switch or move around to different responsibilities. Time can be spread across voice, email, web chat, and social channels instead of being solely focused on voice 100% of the time.
Sometimes these environments suffer from a very flat management hierarchy with few opportunities for promotion. Finding added responsibilities can help keep long term employees more interested.
An additional option is to offer agents at home / remote working, even if it’s just part time. The benefits of contact center agents home working including higher morale as you're empowering agents and demonstrating trust, not to mention productivity gains that can be achieved through a quieter working environment.
5. Provide Refresher Training in the Call Center
Employee churn is the bane of every contact center. It just makes good business sense for companies to retain as many good people as possible, but how do you go about this?
While all new trainees should receive the training they need to do the job, older members of the team, well-versed in every process of the job, are typically forgotten. They may even be conducting the new hire training. Refresher courses can keep longer tenured employees from feeling as though the company has forgotten them. It also gives them a chance to sharpen their skills and share ideas that could be helpful across the contact center.
6. Use Intuitive Call Center Technology
Last but certainly not least is the importance of good contact center technology. You need to have systems in place that will help, rather than hinder, your staff. Having customers who know more about your latest offers and promotions than your agents do is going to result in poor customer satisfaction and low agent morale. You can avoid this scenario and empower your agents with fully integrated systems that offer full visibility of into customer interactions.
Improving agent productivity and morale can be achieved with a wide mix of strategies. Overall, there is not one quick fix; rather it's something that contact center managers must continually strive to monitor and improve. But with the proper attention, technology, and access to workforce optimization and management tools, contact centers – and the agents who work in them – can thrive.
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