Part 2: Tips to Motivate Agents in the Call Center Without Incentives
In part 1, I discussed the idea they you need to maintain motivation in the call center by incentivizing. Sometimes though, its not in your budget to start offering huge bonuses of mini vacations, new flat screen TV, or even an iPad. Instead you need to find solutions to motivate agents without losing part of your department budget.
I have been searching for many ways to actually motivate agents. After all you don’t want to lose them for a small issue. I had a look at some softwares’, and even spoke to some industry heads who are excelling in this area.
I noticed a software called DeskTime, a time-tracking and productivity app offers the majority of our customers are call centers. The way they incentivize their employees is by giving bonuses based on their place in the company. DeskTime ranks employees based on their productivity level, which is turn is based on how many productive applications they use, as opposed to unproductive applications.
I thought this to be a great tool for managers to have a look into and explore further.
I spoke with Daniel Melchior, a renowned Call center expert at danielmelchior.com. He said “As almost everyone has a need to belong to something, having a common goal creates this sense of belonging and inclusion. This will help motivate individuals to perform. Some practitioners worry about low performers dragging down high performers when only focusing on team goals, however, I believe and have witnessed what I call in my book, Shared Services – A Manager’s Journey, the Michael Jordan effect. This concept is based on the fact that high performers will exert some level of peer pressure on lower performers to up their game.”
I got the chance to follow up with Tammy McCann, Contact Center Manager at Philadelphia Insurance Companies (PHLY)
She said “Clearly communicating the goals and objectives of the department and ensuring we provide help in reaching those goals keeps the representatives motivated. We currently provide weekly feedback in the form of a MBO meeting reviewing metrics, quality scores, areas of opportunities, and areas of celebration. By ensuring your representatives know exactly where they stand on a weekly basis it helps to keep them motivated and on track.”
So it seems that perhaps transparency and feedback might be the key to motivating agents. If they feel a part of the business, maybe they will have better motives to work harder.
Dave Mason, CEO, Tail of the Lion, Inc. said some interesting things. “The number one incentive (not really an incentive) to give to call center reps is praise. Many people look at call center work as bottom of the barrel, partially because it’s a job that has so little recognition. Praise from the supervisor or in my case the owner of the company, I have found to be the number one way to keep people happy.
Additionally, more relevant, is unexpected rewards. If someone knows that they get a bonus when x happens, they’re happy to get the bonus, but also feel that it’s something they’re owed. When you give them something that they don’t see coming, in my experience it has a much bigger impact.”
Personally I have experienced this. I went the extra mile because I honestly loved my job. My boss didn’t say a thing, but when I got my paycheck I saw something extra. My boss told me it was because I had done something good, and you know what? It made me feel great and happy to be part of such a great company.
Kristin Kweder, customer care manager at Hot Schedules had some great insights.
“Throw in some activities that are outside of their normal daily routine. Have a side game that the whole team can play and talk about (i.e. Phone Bingo). Also, make the department’s KPI’s visually accessible to the team and talk about it in your daily standups/weekly meetings. Hold representatives accountable when KPI’s are missed and look for ways to actively improve. Ensure it’s also reinforced in 1 on1 meetings so it’s always at the forefront of their minds. Another key factor that helps is consistently praising people for a job well done. You can’t just bring up the wrong things that people are doing. It should be a regular activity to praise them for what they’re doing right so they’ll be more receptive to critiques when they do need to happen.”
What I thought was specifically interesting was that again, the transparency. Get employees to be part of the company, and goals. It makes a real difference and can help for bigger targets being met.