When it comes to call-center agents, morale and motivation are closely interlinked. Morale is the enthusiasm agents have for their work. When agents feel valued and satisfied, those emotions tend to be reflected in their performance and they become motivated.
There is no one "best way" to increase motivation. Morale plays a big role. The three basic areas that affect agent motivation are:
The best way to know what agents want is to listen to what they have to say. This can be accomplished through surveys and focus groups that enable agents to vent their complaints and express their needs. Be sure to include a cross-section of all agents in your outreach initiatives: new hires, veterans, high-performers, laggards, the disgruntled and the jubilant.
Agents take their cues from call-center bosses. Managers and supervisors who appear tired, distracted, angry or bored are hardly great motivators. Building agent enthusiasm requires a management team that's involved, responsive, and ready to take on projects with energy and enthusiasm. Bosses should exude excitement over small success and acknowledge agents' contributions.
Enhanced morale can reduce staff churn by increasing satisfaction. Few agents will leave a job simply because a competitor pays 25 or 50 cents more per hour. On the other hand, low turnover isn't necessarily indicative of a productive work force. Underachieving agents may feel perfectly happy in their work and not be tempted by greener pastures, particularly if they believe their jobs aren't at risk. Call-center managers must recognize the difference between agent satisfaction and complacency, and be willing to weed out low-scoring agents despite the potential negative impact on staff churn.
Incentives can go a long way in making agents feel valued and part of a winning team. Incentives come in many forms:
Incentives aren't the only way of motivating agents, but they're powerful tools that when carefully applied can be used to build a more productive work force.
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