Many businesses set up call centers either as a helpdesk for employees, or a customer support center, or for inbound/outbound sales . Some call centers could address all the above-mentioned functions.
Typically, the key components of a call center are infrastructure and people. Infrastructure includes telephony, IVRs, CRM, and APIs to integrate existing software. People include call center handling agents, team leaders, operations managers, senior managers, and so on.
Arguably, one of the most important elements of a call center is its employees, especially the ones who handle calls. It’s important to motivate them because how they engage with customers deeply impacts a call center’s important metrics and SLAs.However, employees cannot remain motivated by themselves. For outbound sales, more than 48% of tele-callers and salespeople are afraid to make cold calls The result is that they take more stress, have trouble hitting their sales quotas, and make lesser incentives than their counterparts
But just tele-callers don’t suffer from stress or lack of motivation. Even the Helpdesk and Customer Support desks are thankless jobs. Customers rarely have a good word to share when they receive good service, but are very loud at the slightest sign of irritation. Add to that having to attend a large volume of similar calls expertly and politely over and over again and work can become monotonous quickly. And did I mention that it’s a thankless job?
Considering all this, reducing attrition and maintaining high productivity is a challenge for call center agents as well.
As a manager, it’s important to keep employees motivated so that their morale remains high and they do what’s needed to help your call center achieve its business goals. With the right tools and approach, you can do this effectively and create an environment where people love coming to work.
7 Proven Ways to Motivate Employees and Make Them Productive
1. Hire the Right People
You cannot build a strong structure without the right tools. Like that, you cannot build and sustain a strong workplace culture without the right people. And culture has a key role in the success (or failure) of any workplace.
Making and attending calls is not a menial job. Your tele-calling employees are essentially the face of your company since they engage with your customers all the time. Hire professional, expert, and committed employees.
Yes, their salaries will be higher. But hiring such people is an investment rather than an expense because you can build a sustainable future on their shoulders.
2. Invest in On-Going Training
Most call centers train employees once and push them onto the floor as quickly as possible. They believe that the longer agents stay on the floor, the more productive they’ll be. But this is a misconception.
Everyone (including leaders) need refresher sessions to remind them of what they’ve learned, and training sessions to skill up. If leaders can keep attending trainings to stay ahead of the curve, why not call center agents? Train your employees on updated tools, procedures, offers and promotions, and soft skills.
Investing in regular training sessions shows that you respect your employees, which is important to keep them motivated.
3. Prepare a Growth Path
No employee wants to stay at the same level all his life, especially not a call center agent. All of them dream of getting promoted to positions like team leaders, quality or communications coaches, trainers, and so on.
Preparing a roadmap where employees know how they can fulfill these dreams is a powerful way to keep them motivated and engaged. Conducting training programs to skill them up and ensuring that they know what they should do to achieve their goals means you reduce attrition and also save on costs because more people get promoted internally.
4. Share Success Stories Openly
Leaders share bad news openly. Low CSAT scores, high call handling times, poor customer feedback, etc. get highlighted quickly on the floor. Nor are team leaders discreet in sharing their views; they’re loud enough for the whole floor to know when an agent gets reprimanded.
But when an agent does well or gets positive feedback for her work, team leaders either stay silent or just say, “Good job.” To motivate employees, the opposite must be done. Criticism or negative feedback must be given in private, and success stories and other good news must be shared openly and loudly. Agents should be appreciated in public.
Such recognition, apart from rewards and recognition programs, goes a long way in making employees feel valued and want to give their best at work.
5. Encourage Feedback
A common reason for frustration in call center employees is that they have to do the same work over and over again, and nobody listens to their ideas for improvement.
Tele-calling agents are closest to the ground and have accurate knowledge of what customers are asking for and how processes can be speeded up. When leaders welcome their feedback and apply what’s relevant, they don’t just make employees feel heard and valued. They also can refine processes, reduce costs and time wasted, and improve the call center’s efficiency.
6. Fuel Healthy Competition
Nothing motivates people like fun-filled and friendly competition. Placing teams against each other fosters a cohesive team-building environment and higher target achievement.
Call center employees are more likely to encourage and motivate each other if a competitive atmosphere is in place to engage them. But it’s important to ensure that employees stay within guidelines and don’t engage in questionable practices to exceed sales goals or win contests.
7. Build a Friendly Environment
Like all humans, call center agents are a mixed bag of emotions. They have dreams and yearn for recognition.
It doesn’t take much for team leaders and managers to learn every agent’s name, greet before and after shifts, have a recreational room where agents can unwind, and also lend a helping ear if agents are feeling anxious about anything – personal or professional.
When leaders take the steps to foster the right environment, the right results follow on their own.
Engaged and motivated employees lead to better customer satisfaction, more calls getting answered, swifter workflows, and lesser attrition.
What steps do you take to motivate employees in your call center? And have you downloaded our free EBook on improving your call center’s efficiency and effectiveness yet?