Financial incentives such as salary and bonuses can certainly persuade agents to accept jobs in a contact center. However, compensation alone won’t keep agents motivated long term. Like anyone, agents also want positions where they’re treated as professionals and rewarded in other ways for their hard work, creativity, and skill. Managers who understand this truth about human nature are in a better position for keeping morale in their contact centers high.
Specific techniques for keeping your contact center team motivated include the following:
- Create visible career paths
- Address burnout quickly
- Work alongside your agents
- Provide customer feedback
- Share a meal
1. Create Visible Career Paths
Virtually all workers want a career path that will allow them to progress to positions with greater responsibility, increased compensation, and more senior titles. This desire presents a particular challenge for contact center managers, since agents have traditionally been an entry-level role with limited opportunities for advancement. Creating a visible career path for agents should begin during recruitment by explaining possible future roles such as team leaders, contact center managers, or a position in another city.
Employee development programs can help managers identify agents with the greatest potential and prepare for key roles in the call center. Investing in career development demonstrates a commitment to agents that can help reduce the historically high turnover in call centers by motivating them to reach the next level in their careers.
2. Address Burnout Quickly
The repetitive nature of call center work makes burnout an issue that managers must actively address. The key is to identify the symptoms of burnout quickly before it becomes a problem that can’t be turned around. These signs include absenteeism, chronic tardiness, loss of productivity, and social isolation. Strategies for avoiding burnout include encouraging agents to take advantage of amenities during breaks to reduce stress. Flexible work schedules and telecommuting may also be options to keep morale high.
3. Work Alongside Your Agents
Managers who regularly handle calls can help improve agent morale in a couple of ways. First-hand experience is a great way to identify sources of stress for agents and develop ways to counter them. Secondly, agents will appreciate a manager who is willing to work in the trenches with them, especially during holidays and promotions when call volume is particularly high.
4. Provide Customer Feedback Sessions
Managers routinely provide feedback on how well agents are meeting their key performance indicators (KPIs), but agents also want to know when customers think they’re doing a good job. You can obtain anonymous customer feedback through ads and surveys, which will consist of statistical data on customer responses. You can also recruit individual customers to directly participate in feedback sessions with agents, where they can offer their personal experiences with your contact center. These customers are often friends and family members of team members, who will often be more forthcoming about negative experiences.
5. Share a Meal
Regular get-togethers in a social setting allow experienced agents to share best practices with other team members without the tension that often accompanies a formal meeting. Having a meal together is a particularly effective way of breaking down barriers to honest communication. The best time to schedule these events is shortly before an expected increase in call volume, when new agents may be feeling anxious about handling back-to-back calls. Agents will appreciate you helping them prepare for a busy period by increasing their problem-solving knowledge.
Call center managers need to take additional steps to keep morale high in their call centers compared to other types of managers. These measures primarily consist of administrative and policy changes, but they should also include providing agents with the technology they need to do their jobs like our next-generation data reporting tools. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help improve morale in your call center.