Motivating your call center agents can be a challenging task. It’s often not enough to reward or punish good performance, as these actions may worsen the problem. In this blog post, we’ll explore 13 call center motivation tips that will help you encourage positive behavior in your agents without making them feel singled out or demotivated by management.
Lead by example
Leading by example is one of the most critical parts of being a leader. It shows people what to do and how to act so they know exactly what they need to do in any given situation. You should be a good role model for others, setting an example for them to follow and emulate. You don’t have to be perfect, but always try your best, and don’t be afraid to admit when you are wrong or need help from others.
Build a positive call center environment
To build a positive call center environment:
First and foremost
You must ensure that it’s well-lit with plenty of natural light. If windows surround your call center, it will help motivate your agents because they can look outside and see what’s happening in their community.
Ensure the call center is always clean and tidy – no one wants to be around dirt and clutter! You might consider hiring cleaners once a week to ensure things are always fresh & tidy in your office space.
Ensure the air conditioning system works properly so that everyone feels comfortable working there (especially if multiple people are working).
Remember that having fun doesn’t mean spending money – sometimes simple things like playing music through speakers or using props like beach balls around the office can help get everyone engaged!
Break the monotony
In a call center environment, you can expect your employees to face some monotony. Their job will often require them to perform similar tasks repeatedly each day, week, and month. This can quickly lead to boredom and lower motivation levels for both agents and supervisors. If this sounds like something that might be happening at your remote call center, then you must find ways to break up this routine so that everyone stays engaged in their tasks throughout the day (and hopefully years). The best way to do this is by encouraging different departments within your organization to work with one another on at least a quarterly basis to get new ideas flowing between them (even if it’s remotely) —thoughts that could help improve processes across all areas of operation!
Foster open communication
Open communication is key to a thriving call center.
How do you foster open communication?
Examples of open communication include A supervisor not only asking questions but also listening to your answers. An agent shared her frustrations about her job and the company in general. A customer service representative tells his supervisor what went wrong during a call and how he can improve next time.
Empower your call center agents with the right tools
The tools you provide should be easy to use, easy to access, and user-friendly. Plus, they should also be relatively simple to learn and train.
Create SMART goals.
You can apply this concept of SMART goals to your call center. SMART goals are simple, but they can effectively motivate agents and track progress.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
The goal should be prominent so that everyone involved in its creation is on the same page about what needs to be done and when it needs to be done. For example, if you want to increase sales by 5% over the next year and a half, that’s not specific enough because it doesn’t include any details about how much money this means or when exactly those results need to occur within that time frame. For your employees (or yourself) to know whether or not they’ve achieved success with their goal(s), each one must have clearly defined measurements. Hence, there’s no ambiguity about what constitutes success or failure at any given time during the process towards achieving them.”
Assign the right tasks to the right agents
Assign tasks appropriately. Match the task to the agent’s skill set. If you have an agent who is strong on phone etiquette, let them handle the more complicated calls. Conversely, if you have a less experienced agent who makes more mistakes and takes longer to complete calls, give them more straightforward tasks like taking payments or answering basic questions.
Don’t overload agents with tasks they can’t handle or underload agents with functions that are too easy for them to complete quickly (or both). Doing so will negatively impact their engagement and morale and your overall call center productivity levels due to poor data quality caused by callers repeating themselves because they were put on hold. At the same time, they waited for an agent who was unavailable or busy completing another task unnecessarily complicated due to resource misallocation issues.
Prevent agent burnout
You’ll want to prevent burnout by providing your agents with a healthy work-life balance. Agents who are allowed breaks will be happier and perform better when they’re back on the phone. Here’s what you can do:
- Take breaks
- Get enough sleep
- Eat well through the promotion of what is a healthy lunch, breakfast, and snacks to choose from
- An exercise action plan which will help to offer relief from stress
- Socialize (with coworkers or people in your community) through the use of activities such as games or a trivia contest
- Another motivation idea is to laugh
Avoid micromanaging call center agents
You want your call center agents to be happy, engaged, and productive. Also, you don’t want them to feel like they’re in prison or at an assembly line. You certainly don’t want them to feel like robots simply executing commands without any autonomy, creativity, or freedom of thought.
If you micromanage them and treat them like children, this will only breed resentment and low morale, leading to poor performance. The last thing you want is for your telemarketers to be unhappy because their work environment isn’t good!
Provide opportunities for growth
You can provide opportunities for growth by promoting from within, offering training, providing mentorship, and allowing employees to advance. On-the-job training is a great way to keep employees engaged and feeling valued. Cross-training also enables them to learn new skills, which will help them feel more confident in their abilities and likely lead to better results on the job. Your call center agents may not be content with where they are now—they may want something else out of life or have dreams of something greater than what you can offer them. If that’s the case, it’s essential for you as an employer to recognize those dreams and support them!
Offer rewards and incentives
Incentives and rewards, such as an award, a gift, or a bonus, are an essential part of business operations, so it’s crucial to have a plan to motivate employees. Here an award can be days off, an extra vacation day, a monetary gift, or just a certificate. The key is ensuring that your incentives and rewards are based on performance.
You need to identify what metrics matter most for employee performance and create a plan around those metrics and where it gives recognition to work well done. For example, if your call center agents are measured by call time and average handle time per call, then offer incentives based on these criteria (for example: “For every minute you exceed the average handle time by 10 seconds, you will receive $0.05). Consider what would work best for your business when creating incentives or reward schemes.
Encourage feedback from your agents. Ask for feedback from your agents. Be open to it, and don’t dismiss it just because you don’t like hearing it.
Make sure you aren’t just asking for feedback but listening to it (and not just giving lip service). If an agent has a valid point about something in the office environment or their computer setup, do something about it!
Make sure that you are not only listening to the feedback but also taking action on what was said by addressing the issue(s) raised by the employee(s).
Stop considering call volume as a measurement of success
You should never measure call center success by volume. Many calls aren’t enough to make your agents happy or engaged. It doesn’t mean that your customers are satisfied with the service they receive, and it doesn’t show whether or not they have a good experience interacting with your company.
The call center agent has always been considered a cog in the wheel, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you want your agents to be motivated, take steps to encourage them with the abovementioned motivation tips. You don’t need expensive perks or lavish rewards; sometimes, all it takes is knowing that someone recognizes their work and cares about them as people.