Psychology Today says that motivation is literally the desire to do things. It's the difference between waking up before dawn to pound the pavement and lazing around the house all day. It's the crucial element in setting and attaining goals.
Motivation and empowerment are two different concepts, but there’s no denying that a feeling of empowerment can lead to increased motivation, and the desire to aim higher. As a call center owner or manager, keeping your agents motivated and striving for success can be difficult, but it is an achievable goal, especially if you know how to empower your employees to properly feed their motivation.
Call centers are stressful environments. Having to deal with frustrated customers, strict timelines, quotas, and uncomfortable workplaces and conditions all conspire to make it highly challenging work. Together, these factors contribute to the high rate of employee burnout and turnover that is common in many call centers — just calculate your own center’s turnover rates and costs to see evidence of that.
As a call center manager or supervisor, motivating your staff is one of the most important things you can do to ensure the high quality service that is necessary for customers to have a good experience, to see customer retention rates increase rather than decrease, and to maintain a high level of brand loyalty.
So, how do you motivate your agents to do more than just go through the motions day after day? How do you get them excited about setting their own personal goals for success and continuous improvement?
Empower them by giving them power.
The power of opinion. Maintain an open-door policy, or better yet, get together with your agents on a regular basis and ask if they have any suggestions for improvements or changes. Because your agents are the ones who are dealing with customers directly and have a better idea of what their needs and concerns are, their feedback is very valuable. Show them that their opinions count.
Encourage your staff to take the initiative and come up with ways to make improvements for the benefit of the company, its customers, and its staff members. When you do implement the changes they’ve suggested, be sure to publicize it. This makes employees feel valued, and it fosters ownership and a sense of positive contribution; plus, it lets other employees know that their recommendations are important.
When employees see that their voices matter, their self-esteem and self-motivation rise, and they begin to feel more empowered.
The power of flexibility. Individuals all recognize the time of day when they are the most productive and at their best psychologically. Some people prefer to work mornings, and others later in the day. Obviously, this isn't an option for all businesses, but if it’s feasible, letting your staff members make scheduling choices will definitely work out to the advantage of all.
When you allow a reasonable amount of choice, staff members feel valued as humans, and don't see themselves as faceless employees.
The power to set their own goals. Everything that happens in a call center is measured and analyzed. There are company goals, department goals, and team goals to meet. Individual goals, however, are largely non-existent. Give your agents more incentive to work efficiently by sitting down with them and helping them set some realistic, personal goals. By putting the focus on those goals, their work will become more meaningful and satisfying to them, and their productivity will rise.
The power of responsibility. After training, call center agents know how to handle and respond to different situations that commonly arise. Trust your staff members to make the right decisions even if they have to make some ‘tweaks’ along the way. Boundaries are always necessary, but when a company allows agents a bit of leeway to make their own decisions in certain cases, this inspires confidence and satisfaction for the employee, which in turn leads to them providing a better experience for the customer.
Empower your agents with the support of management.
Support them with solid, ongoing training. Right from the beginning of their employment, agents feel more empowered when they’re confident in what they are doing. This confidence comes from solid, detailed, ongoing training that is constantly updated whenever there are changes in products, services, or technology. Knowledge is power.
Treat them well. At the end of the day, your employees are human beings and they want to be treated with respect and dignity. As their manager, show them that they can speak to you openly and honestly. Be visible, spend time out on the floor, lending a hand wherever needed and you will show them that they are important members of the company team, worthy of your time and effort.
Don't overcomplicate the technology. Take the stress off your employees by using management systems that are more streamlined and efficient, rather than complicated systems with too many apps. This way, agents experience less stress while working with customers, and are far less likely to become overwhelmed.
Provide a comfortable workspace. Show your employees that they are valuable and that their comfort and well-being on the job is a priority. Provide workspaces that are attractive, stress-free, and easy to work in for the long hours that they're there. When people like their work environment they are more satisfied, more productive and more successful. A recent study found that happier employees are up to 12% more productive; add that consideration to your workspace redesign cost-benefit analysis.
Empower them with rewards.
Give them the incentive. Employee incentive programs are highly effective in raising employee satisfaction as well as customer satisfaction. Just base the programs on metrics that focus on contact quality and customer satisfaction rather those that concern average call time or average number of calls, for example. In other words, make reward programs more consumer experience oriented and everyone wins.
Have a special program in place for announcing success. When an employee is praised for accomplishments and recognized by management, the experience is more meaningful and empowering. Rewards, whether money or praise, show employees that there is value in the work that they do. It empowers them to do their best — and feel good about it.
When companies implement effective staff motivation and empowerment techniques, they create a strong, confident, and successful workforce that will help them achieve the customer satisfaction and engagement rates that they are striving for. Give these methods a try in your call center and let us know the results!
Connect First is a cloud based call centre software provider. Our goal is to empower our users to provide effortless customer experiences via our cloud based predictive dialers, interactive voice response systems, ACD solutions, and more. Contact us today to learn how our our solutions can become your solutions.