Being a call center agent isn’t an easy job.
They have to deal with customers day in and day out — often unhappy, angry, or dissatisfied ones. Additionally, the pressure of meeting targets is bound to stress them out.
So how do you ensure call center motivation?
In this article, we’ll give you 12 no-nonsense call center motivation tips to help you boost employee engagement, leading to increased overall profitability.
This Article Contains:
(click on a link below to jump to that specific tip)
- 12 No-Nonsense Call Center Motivation Tips
- Lead by Example
- Build a Positive Call Center Environment
- Break the Monotony
- Foster Open Communication
- Provide your Agents with the Right Tools
- Create SMART Goals
- Assign the Right Tasks to the Right Agents
- Prevent Agent Burnout
- Provide Opportunities for Growth
- Offer Rewards and Incentives
- Encourage Feedback
- Conduct Team-building Activities
Let’s dive right in.
12 No-Nonsense Call Center Motivation Tips
Most call centers today aim to connect customers with agents in ways that improve customer satisfaction, build and retain relationships, and improve your brand value.
But you can’t achieve this if your call center agents are unmotivated or dissatisfied.
So how do you motivate your employees?
To answer this question, we first need to understand how motivation works.
Motivation is a process that initiates, guides, and maintains target-oriented behavior. Various extrinsic and intrinsic factors drive it.
Extrinsic motivation, like a salary raise, promotion, reward, etc., is definitely a great incentive to improve agent performance and boost morale.
However, focusing only on extrinsic motivators may not be enough to empower and engage call center employees. In fact, they may lose the incentive to use their creativity and other values for problem-solving.
That’s where intrinsic motivation comes in.
Gaining a sense of achievement, helping people, doing everything to solve an issue, etc., are primarily based on an agent’s core values and principles. As a result, they may serve as better motivators for boosting the performance of your customer service agent.
Each individual has different motivators, but creating a work environment that enables them to find their own motivators can definitely benefit your call center.
Now, let’s now see how to effectively motivate call center agents to increase their engagement and enhance your customer experience:
1. Lead by Example
To motivate your call center team, you, as their leader, need to be motivated yourself.
When you’re motivated and optimistic, you convey strength, inspire an employee to build their skills, and help them give their best shot at everything. Additionally, if you want the customer support team to go all out while doing their work, you need to do the same while motivating them.
Always acknowledge their hard work, encourage them, provide them with positive affirmations, tell them how proud you are of their achievements, and push them to success.
At the same time, you also need to be realistic.
You shouldn’t be so focused on success that you miss the facts if something really isn’t working out. You need to optimistically help your team come up with other strategies to reach their goal.
These practices can help reduce agent turnover, enhance their performance, and in turn, increase customer retention.
2. Build a Positive Call Center Environment
The work environment plays a significant role in influencing the employees’ morale.
A clean, clutter-free workspace with vibrant interiors, comfortable chairs, separate lounge area, etc., is highly conducive to good employee performance. You can also encourage your employees to personalize and decorate their workstations to feel more connected to the workplace.
And if your call center is virtual, you can create a positive work environment by having open communication, allowing employees to interact for non-work activities, etc.
A fun and happy work atmosphere is essential to motivate an employee to do their best everyday.
It can nurture a positive attitude in the workplace, increase team bonding, and help people deal with or recover from stressful work situations.
Lastly, it may not seem significant, but how your agents dress can also impact the overall work environment, even if it’s virtual.
Smart, formal work clothes put the team in a professional mindset, boosting their confidence and motivation.
Here are 18 Ways to Improve Your Work Environment and boost agent productivity.
3. Break the Monotony
One of the causes of dissatisfaction and reduced productivity in the workspace can be the monotony of doing the same thing every day.
To avoid this situation in the call center, you can keep varying the scripts, modify the office layout, rotate shifts — these are basically small things that will help break the monotony.
You can also increase agent motivation by conducting weekly or monthly contests with prizes, team lunches, potlucks, fun dress-up days, and anything else to cheer them up.
4. Foster Open Communication
Encouraging open communication between agents, team leaders, and other departments can help agents clearly understand their role in the organization and your expectations from them.
When they understand the big picture and their part in the company’s success, they’ll be more accepting of your decisions.
Open communication can also help resolve conflicts between teams, build better employee relationships, and reduce turnover.
And in order to have good, meaningful communication, you must convey important messages in person or over a video call. Emails, texts, or even phone calls may not be enough for employee motivation and inspiration.
5. Empower your Agents with the Right Tools
Call center work involves tons of data — customer information, company/product information, customer journey, etc. But jumping between multiple tabs, screens, apps, etc., may become too much of a hassle for the agents.
You should make your agents’ work easier by providing them with the right tools to streamline their workflows and increase productivity.
Cloud-based call center tools and automation can significantly reduce work time and enhance employee productivity.
But how do you quantify this increase in productivity?
You can measure it using Time Doctor — a powerful employee performance and productivity tool.
Some other tools that can dramatically simplify your agents’ work include:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
- Automatic Call Distribution (ACD).
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR).
- Predictive dialer.
- Team messaging software.
- Reporting and analytics software.
- Post-contact customer service survey, etc.
Read more about the essential call center tools and trends you need.
6. Create SMART Goals
Many businesses often set goals and metrics that are either too generic or completely unrealistic. In either of these situations, your agents will only feel confused or discouraged.
Setting an achievable and clear goal is an important aspect of call center motivation. You can do that by making it a SMART goal:
- S: Specific
- M: Measurable
- A: Achievable
- R: Realistic
- T: Time-bound
When you set a realistic and achievable goal, you may not need to put much effort into employee motivation. It’ll help your agents easily meet those goals and any other Key Performance Indicator (KPI) that you set for them.
Clear, attainable goals can help your agents visualize the path needed to achieve them and develop their own motivators to see them through.
7. Assign the Right Tasks to the Right Agents
Assigning tasks that match the agent’s values or skills can significantly enhance their morale and motivate them to do their best.
For example, you may choose to assign difficult product inquiry calls to experienced agents who thoroughly know your products and services. It’ll prevent new agents from stressing about not providing the appropriate information.
This will ensure that the customer quickly gets what they’re looking for, and the agent feels motivated and satisfied doing a job they’re good at!
Job satisfaction can further boost performance and result in a motivated agent who is ready to take on more responsibility.
8. Prevent Agent Burnout
You need to take care of your agents so that they can give their best while dealing with your customers.
An important part of the care process is not overburdening them with work and preventing their burnout. Handling angry customers and difficult phone calls, completing lengthy after-call tasks, etc., can contribute to stress and burnout.
To prevent this, you can use call center software to automate certain tasks, provide after-call support to agents for difficult calls, and just allow them to vent out if needed.
Employee wellness programs like on-site fitness centers, free healthy snacks, yoga classes, etc., can foster a healthy workplace culture. As a part of that plan, you should also encourage agents to take regular breaks to get some personal time and calm themselves.
Here are some more actionable insights to avoid burnout.
9. Provide Opportunities for Growth
Even if you have a small call center, you should ensure that your employees have good opportunities to grow. Investing in your agents’ growth is another way to motivate them.
For this, you should encourage them to take on added responsibilities, handle challenging tasks, or even undertake regular agent training.
Providing such opportunities results in engaged and motivated agents who are more likely to stay loyal to your company. It can drastically increase their job satisfaction that results in employee retention.
10. Offer Rewards and Incentives
Employees are the biggest asset of your call center. Regularly displaying your appreciation and valuing their contributions to your company’s success can go a long way in motivating agents.
Implementing a gamification system for incentives and rewards can keep your team engaged, happy and productive, and enhance employee satisfaction.
A reward can be in the form of:
- Team lunches.
- Paid Time Off (PTO).
- Work-from-home for a few days.
- Gift vouchers, etc.
Celebrating birthdays, holidays, festivals also serves as an incentive to work hard the rest of the days.
Also, offering rewards that allow the team member to spend more time with their families can increase their motivation to work in your organization. Some of these incentives and rewards may include a family vacation, movie tickets for the entire family, and many more.
You can even publicly recognize and reward employee successes by acknowledging their achievements in weekly meetings, on your social media pages like LinkedIn, etc.
Such gestures can surely create a positive work environment where the team member feels trusted, respected, and appreciated.
11. Encourage Feedback
Encouraging employees to provide their feedback is a key aspect of call center motivation and management.
As a call center manager, you must also urge your agents to provide honest feedback about you. They can give quality insights about how you can motivate them better, things they would like you to do differently, etc.
You can also ask them for their opinions about the overall working of your call center – customer service, products, workflows, company culture, and more.
Since they are at the front and center of the action, you can also get valuable insights from them regarding the most common customer complaints, customer service ideas, etc.
Ensure that you act on their suggestions, if appropriate. This will help them see that they can influence some decision-making at work and motivate them to put in their best efforts for the team and the company.
12. Conduct Team-building Activities
Creating an employee-friendly work environment involves building and maintaining relationships.
Team lunches, team outings, etc., are a great way to foster healthy employee relationships.
Team-building games can further strengthen the bonds for teamwork and add a fun break in an otherwise monotonous workday. They can also be an icebreaker while onboarding a new hire.
Non-task activities like a scavenger hunt, games like truth and lies, Pictionary, etc., are ideal examples for stress-busting and creating healthy competition.
They also serve as a great medium to help a team member learn from and get inspired by the other person’s skills and creativity.
Lastly, a team huddle at the start of each day or week can effectively build team spirit and energize your entire call center.
We have covered a few ideas to help you boost employee morale in your call center.
However, each team is different and has different needs. You can modify these tips accordingly or get inspired to find your own ways to motivate your agents.
Either way, the important thing is to bring about some change in your call center to improve the overall work environment and motivate your agents.
Lauren Soucy is the VP of Marketing for Time Doctor, the world’s leading time tracking and productivity software. She has 15+ years of experience in marketing at fast-paced companies. Her first passion is SEO, she can’t start her day without coffee, and she enjoys spending time at the beach with her two boys and her husband.