Keep call center employees motivated

At the Contact Center People Week Conference, several themes emerged from call center practitioners regarding customer service and sales staff motivation. Provided below is an outline of some of the most relevant and applicable discussions that can help you with your call center training and customer service training.

1. Make Sure Managers and Supervisors are Motivated

“Motivation is one of the priorities of our center. We do all the usual things like advisor of the month, top sales person and team of the month as well as on-spot prizes which can be awarded by any manager to any member of staff they witness ‘Make a Difference.’ This could be consistency in pleasant behavior or recommendations from customers.

“Motivation also comes from having good working practices in operation. If agents have the correct tools for the job, all the information easily accessible, and encouragement, they feel empowered to deliver great results.

“It’s important to make sure that the managers and supervisors themselves are motivated. If their cup isn’t being filled then you can hardly expect them to fill the cups of their team! Our Team Leaders have complained for some time that they were unable to spend time with their team due to their differing working hour arrangements. This led to frustration as managing the team was not easy and the manager/agent relationship was distant.

“Since we reorganized the teams so that each unit could work together, we found this benefited the agent and allowed the managers to become much more focused. We are able to make more time for each other–and we are able to become more ‘engaging,’ and that is in line with the corporate values of National Express.”

2. It’s not a Manager’s Job to Actually Motivate Agents!

“First, let’s look at the definition of motivation. According to Webster, motivation is defined as ‘something from within, not without, that prompts or incites our action.’ So, it’s not a manager’s job to actually motivate their agents. It is however a leader’s responsibility to create an environment in which agents can be self-motivated. It’s called a ‘positive’ work environment. An energetic, fun environment that promotes positive thinking, emphasizes teamwork, and develops employees for maximum success.

“While the ‘perfect environment’ that motivates everyone all the time has never been created as far as I know, here are some thoughts that will help you get close.

“Number one: ensure that a solid compensation plan is in place. While cash is not ‘king’ of all motivators, a fair compensation plan is essential for success. That in place, concentrate on a non-monetary game plan that includes my top 10 factors for maximum motivation:

  1. A positive work environment
  2. Creative employee recognition programs
  3. Solid training and ongoing employee development
  4. A career path for your employees
  5. One on one coaching
  6. Theme contests
  7. Casual dress days
  8. ‘Time off’ programs
  9. Team spirit
  10. Appropriate job title”

From: Dave Worman, Concentra Solutions

3. De-motivate Your Staff to Motivate Them!

“Trying to get 100% happy motivated staff does not work–there will always be one or two in any group who, no matter what you do, will not be satisfied. So, let’s motivate the majority and do the best we can.

“One particular method I used is a team exercise for management. It was an exercise to de-motivate your staff. Here’s how it goes:

“Invite all your managers into a room for one hour. Ask them to work in groups of 3 or 4 and to come up with a list of anything and everything they could possibly do to de-motivate staff. At this point, you may get some weird looks and comments. Persevere.

Give them 30 minutes to come up with the list and tell them nothing is to be excluded. No idea is a bad idea. Then sit back and wait for the list to grow. Pretty soon you may have a list that looks something like this:

  • Shout at staff in public
  • Make staff put their hands up to go for a break
  • Cancel training
  • Ignore feedback from staff
  • Take away perks
  • Cancel staff meetings
  • Don’t pay staff on time
  • Don’t tell them what’s going on in the company
  • Have standards that no one knows about except you
  • Criticize staff for not meeting standards
  • Set goals that you know are unachievable
  • Have favorite staff and let everyone know about him or her all the time

“Now, here’s when you return to reality. Have all your leaders share their list by writing them on a flip chart. As the laughing subdues, ask them ‘Let’s go down the list and honestly ask ourselves if we have done, or still do, any of these things.’

“So what we should realize is that one of the best ways to motivate staff is to focus on the things that de-motivate them and stop doing them!”

— original source:

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