As a call center manager, chances are high that you’ve found yourself on multiple occasions where you were faced with the challenge of establishing the best ways in which to motivate your call center agents to become engaged and put in real effort in their work. You are quite aware that if a survey was to be carried out today within your workforce asking about desirable occupations (I know nobody dreams about a 9-5 job), it is least likely that a job as a call center agent would pop up on that list. You know that it is a commonly held belief that call center jobs are regarded as entry-level jobs and more often than not, agents are not toiling as a labor of love. Based on your experience time and time again, you have learned that the agent cycle is very standard. Perform designated tasks, get paid for tasks, and use the experience as a stepping stone to get on to the next best job.
As a manager, you have spent valuable organizational time and resources recruiting during the hiring processes. How do you then get your call center agents to buy into your vision and view the success of the organization as their own success? How do you get them to become and stay engaged? If you’ve been looking for ways to make productivity a way of being in your call center, this article seeks to achieve that goal for you. Here, we’ll highlight proven best tips on how to motivate your call center agents to be their best selves. These ideas are practical, easy to implement, and for the most part pocket friendly, in a nutshell, a triple threat if you ask me.
Tips on how to motivate call center agents
Furnish Agents with Suitable Tools
An ill-equipped agent is bound to lose motivation quickly and collapse under stress. A call center is a high-pressure environment with limitless demands from entitled customers. As a manager you would want to prepare your agents sort of like a colonel would their battalion. Angry customers, impatient customers, customers that are unsure of what it is exactly that they’re looking for. These are only but a few of the scenarios that a call center agent encounters in multitudes every single day. Only the right tools will serve as the primary motivating factor for an agent to want to stick around for the long run.
Here, we’re talking about tools that promote seamless internal communication, facilitate easy scheduling of shifts amongst the employees as well as help in the creation of standardized daily processes. When these specific things are achieved, the result is enhanced user experiences for the agents which create a conducive culture that boosts motivation.
To achieve the functionalities discussed above, it is of paramount importance that you select a tool that allows you to implement these processes. Connecteam’s employee app has proven itself to be a popular tool amongst call center managers.
Its features allow you to
- Conveniently schedule shifts for agents as it provides real-time information for when there’s an overlap to allow for prompt correction.
- Afford your agents’ flexibility as it’s responsive, and allows agents to access it from the convenience of their mobile phones.
- Embed camaraderie within your call center as it promotes collaboration and communication by enabling a number of functionalities such as updates, chats, polls and a lot more.
- Exponentially improve agent onboarding and training by enabling sharing of policies and incorporating a knowledge base that has a search functionality coupled with quizzes to test overall understanding.
- Streamline processes within the call center by availing digital checklists and forms that can be accessed from any location.
Propose a Reward and Incentive Program
Validation is such a crucial element to a human being that it cannot possibly be overlooked in the workplace. Everyone likes to be recognized for the work that they have done and to know that it was relevant and made a difference in a way. Managers can tap into this intrinsic need and through a reward and incentive program ensure that their agents feel seen and valued in the call center.
Rewards could either be in monetary or non-monetary form. You could offer a tangible benefit in terms of cash, a voucher, a subscription or you could simply decide to recognize your agents through your official organizational social media channels and let the world know how valuable they are to you.
Happy agents become motivated agents. The science behind happiness is the release of feel-good hormones which enable a person to be in a good mood. Imagine being able to control how your employees feel, and get the buy-in from them, and have them want to achieve organizational goals because they actually appreciate their time at the organization. That’s essentially a superpower. A reward and incentive program is an important component in boosting motivation and it should absolutely be embraced by every call center manager.
Involve Agents and Implement Feedback
The level of insights that a call center agent can provide to a call center manager is invaluable. The agents have one on one contact with the client and they know the pressure points, they know what works and they know when a recommendation from upper management will definitely miss the mark.
Involvement in terms of getting feedback from agents on their ideas on what they believe went wrong, what’s currently good, and recommendations on what they would want to see changed is the first step in creating an inclusive center where agents feel like they belong. I am yet to see an unmotivated person who felt that they belonged.
The second part that completes this equation is to implement the feedback collected from agents. How wonderful is it to know that when you speak, people listen and that you’re heard and taken seriously and that your voice actually matters? I couldn’t think of a better source of motivation.
The beauty of involving and implementing is that it’s a two-way street that ensures agents give feedback to management on what could be better and that the management also has the leeway to do the same for the agents. This loop creates a culture that facilitates growth for both parties. A learning organization is an attractive organization.
Promote a Culture of Open Dialogue
There’s a benefit that openness creates in an organization which makes it an obvious motivation enabler. Trust is created within a workplace when individuals know that they can speak up and not share their thoughts. Agents need to understand the bigger organizational picture and in addition to that, be made aware of their individual contributions to that bigger picture.
Are they able to talk about problems that they’re facing and is management willing to listen or do employees feel that they can only speak in whispers? Is there clarity in how decisions are made within the organization? Nobody aspires to stay in an environment where the confusion is the norm and communication is stifled. Lasting relationships are built when candid, difficult conversations can be held within a conducive environment.
The objective of open dialogue is that it creates awareness which eventually translates to a boost in productivity. If every agent knows the expectation that management has from them and management is aware of what the agents expect from them, then it becomes very easy for everyone to do their part and understand exactly how they fit in and what improvements can be made or should be made to simplify their work process and help them give their best results.
Clear Goal Setting
Setting and communicating realistic achievable goals that agents can relate to is important to the success of any call center. This is because this activity allows agents to measure themselves against the set standard and evaluate their own performance.
When an agent can see how they are performing vis a vis other agents, they are then motivated to find out what ways they can adapt to become better performers. These goals that are set also allow the managers to know which agents are struggling and avail the opportunity to have discussions and find out if there are any underlying issues that may need intervention.
In addition to the goals set, a roadmap that can be used to provide a sense of direction is vital for call center agents. When a manager has established a way in which incremental gains can be measured and an agent is aware of their progress towards the goal then that manager has automatically achieved the evasive goal of getting everyone to be on the same page.
Growth and Development Opportunities
Imagine being in school for 4 years and never moving a grade up. Every new year, you stay in the same class, have the same teachers, and study the same syllabus. There’s nothing exciting at all about the scenario that I just painted. You’re bound to get bored, get easily irritated because you feel stuck and inevitably start to look around for other opportunities that you feel may fulfill your needs and wants.
See this is what we do in jobs. We recruit an agent and assume that they will be satisfied with the status quo as long as they get paid. Human needs change and growth is a very real need within a job setting, especially in a call center.
It is important to provide learning and development opportunities that allow your employees to grow their intellect, skillset, and expertise. For those afraid of training their agents because you feel that they may leave your organization after you’ve spent valuable resources upskilling them, I’ll use the wisdom of Henry Ford to advise you otherwise. I quote, “the only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.”
Create a Warm and Inviting Ambience
It goes without saying that the mood and the feeling of the work environment contribute largely to an individual feeling motivated or not within the workplace. If a workplace provides beverages in the morning when an agent gets to work, has the proper furniture set up that allows the agent to focus on the work and not think about how long they have to sit on furniture that makes their back hurt. When all the appropriate amenities are provided, the only thing an agent needs to focus on is meeting their targets. This is because they are comfortable enough to work and feel that their needs are well taken care of at work.
Create a Team Building Culture
You are as strong as your weakest link; this is a saying that best describes the significance of thinking on a team level. How do we ensure that in our work teams, we are championing team spirit that encourages bonding? All managers need to encourage communal activities including playing games, having periodical team lunches, as well as evening, get-togethers where individuals get to know each other better. Imagine not being motivated while working with people that you actually enjoy being around.
As a manager this article has shown you that you need to employ both intrinsic and extrinsic factors to boost motivation amongst your call center agents. The ideas expressed here have shown that motivation for human beings, and call center agents happen to fall under this category, is achieved when we fulfill the basic human needs that allow an individual to feel fulfilled and appreciated. Apply these processes in your call center today and lack of motivation will be an absolute past struggle for you.