Anyone in the call center industry knows the difference a manager can make when it comes to a creating a positive work culture. But, some contact center managers underestimate the role that they place in building and maintaining a work environment focused on agent morale. As a result, agent morale can suffer.
If you are struggling to find ways to boost agent satisfaction and reduce agent attrition, don’t despair. In this post, we discuss 5 call center motivation techniques to increase agent morale.
1. Be the kind of employee you expect your agents to be
This one should be obvious. Think of your call center dream team – and then picture the kind of manager that can lead that team. Set the tone for your team’s performance with what you do daily. Don’t show up late and expect your agents to make punctuality a priority. Don’t expect your agents to tackle their duties with a positive attitude if you don’t do the same. Most importantly, don’t expect your contact center agents to show you respect if you don’t do the same for them. As a manager, you are going to make mistakes from time to time - and that’s okay. But, never set a standard for yourself below the one you set for those reporting to you.
2. Call center agents are not “one size fits all”
Effective call center managers understand that there are many different types of personalities in any call center team. Always keep in mind that what motivates one employee may be irrelevant to another. And, what discourages some employees may not matter to another. As such, one of your jobs as a manager is to learn what drives individual performance and create action plans accordingly.
Some employees respond best to occasional constructive criticism and become complacent if they are praised often, while others may need regular acknowledgement to stay motivated. Relying on the same techniques to motivate everyone on your team will not be effective in the long term. But, showing a respectful level of interest in your employees’ personal lives and taking note of makes them tick will help create an enthusiastic work culture.
3. Have a competitive (and fun) work environment
It’s a basic rule of economics: the more competition there is, the better each competitor has to be to survive. The same rule generally applies when it comes to your peers at work. However, there is a fine line between friendly competition and a toxic work environment when it comes to the work place. Nothing turns a work environment sour quicker than taking the fun out of the work day and discouraging employees to help each other.
Consider creating team challenges for your agents or giving out monthly rewards (free dinner, gift cards, company swag, etc.) for sales/service goals. You don’t want to go overboard and breed resentment between employees, but nobody ever performs at their best without some healthy competition.
4. Help call center agents find their value add
One of the most common things call center managers do is make sure their agents always feel valuable. But just because an agent feels like they add value and deserve praise does not mean they actually do.
When a contact center consistently falls short of your expectations, speak with them 1-on-1 and identify what that he or she is struggling with. It could be that they don’t understand what is expected of them. Maybe the goals set for them are too aggressive. Or maybe they are not happy with their responsibilities, etc. Your employee should know their manager has faith in their ability to be an asset to the team. But, call center managers must set clear expectations so that everyone is on the same page.
5. Contact center technology should be an asset, not an obstacle
There is one last thing to ask yourself: does your team have the tools it needs to perform at an optimal level? If you are using a hosted PBX provider for your business communications, you should be sure you are getting your money’s worth. Don’t let your service be an obstacle for your agents; nothing will frustrate your team more than poor quality calls with customers, or an interface that is difficult to understand.
Your contact center or phone support software should include a user interface that is easy to use and understand. In addition, it should have (at a minimum) features like hunt groups, interactive voice response, and time of day routing.
It’s also important you give yourself the tools needed to drive your team’s performance up. As renowned management expert Peter Drucker famously said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” That means your call center software should give you the ability to monitor employees from your desk, record calls between agents and customers, and run analytics on call center key performance indicators. Identifying weaknesses allows you to focus on solutions, and establishing benchmarks allows you to set appropriate goals.
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