How to Motivate Your Call Center Employees
Why is it significant to motivate your call center employees? After all, they are an important part of your business. They are the ones who are in direct contact with your clients and potential clients. Therefore, they should be happy to come to the office and do their job! So, how do you go about doing this? Well, the Four P's are in order: paradox, proximity, power and pleasure.
To begin with, even before we speak of how to motivate your employees, you need to look at the superiors – managers, then directors of operations. You need to ask yourself, what is the business’ objectives? How can the employees’ motivation level help with them? We can imagine that, speaking of customer service at large, that the first objective is the accessibility rate, the percentage of sales, client satisfaction, and conversion rates. This is all very good, but how do you integrate the very thought of motivation in the issue regarding productivity?
The risk is to let the motivation be built solely on these quantitative factors. But, these should be taken only as results, and not ways to create motivation. This type of confusion can create a paradox for both the online collaborators and the managers and directors who work closely with the call center employees.
To comply with result indicators that are more and more demanding (the client wants more and wants it now, the businesses must also answer to their shareholders), the collaborators of the customer service department must develop more and more talents. On top of the technical abilities required to answer to clients online, the phone operator must have a basic level of general culture, a minimum of maturity, a good resistance to stress, as well as the capability to adapt… the list is quite long! It makes us wonder if they want Superman instead of a simple call center representative. But, the required level of initiative is generally very low. Therefore, how can you motivate these employees in the long term?
Managing paradoxes is crucial. Work is supposed to give people a meaning to their lives, but it also seems to be lacking that meaning in the way that it is organised on a daily basis. There is the paradox between the quantity and the quality of the call center’s work. Although most believe that if they focus on one, it will make the other go down. Then the employees feel guilty about this. However, they should both be seen as separate parts of the same job, like the head and tail of a coin. Managing such paradoxes requires the capacity to identify them and to act on them on two levels: strategy and operations.
Proximity also needs to be restored. By this, we do not mean affection. Proximity means clearly explaining the strategies and objectives of the company’s operations, to make the strategy adaptable for those who need to act on it. Now, when a director requires an efficiency rate of 90%, most only ask the employees to attain that objective. The paradox here is that the result translates the efficiency of an organisation of which the collaborators are not the masters. Adding proximity means that the managers have the means to achieve the strategy objectives. Managers need to find ways to bring out the abilities and talents that are needed for the job. A list of these abilities needs to be written out, known to all, and realistic (remember Superman!).
Power is another key element. Managers need proximity in order to be the ones to hand out motivation when it is required. They also need to maintain hierarchy. It is crucial for them to build a relationship with the employees, but keeping themselves above and in control. They should not be solely judged by their quantitative results. This will in turn keep them motivated and, in turn, also able to motivate their employees.
Pleasure is often an element that is forgotten. Being able to express oneself, recenter oneself, improve, and bloom are all ways to achieve this. Being able to get up in the morning and thinking that you are looking forward to going to your job is now considered a luxury. But, by reintegrating the notion of pleasure at work, the manager touches a fundamental point that impacts the employees’ motivation level.
And finally, there is also the practice and technique that needs to be considered. Creating and maintaining motivation in the call center should be one of the qualities required to work there. This is first created through management with clear objectives concerning the individuals’ potential. This should be included in the procedures and charts that the call center representatives use.
Photo credit: flickr.com
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