February 24, 2016
As techies, it’s no surprise that at Mindsight we recommend the latest and greatest contact/call center tools available. Truly, these are immensely powerful systems that can have an immediate and lasting impact. Between call recording, mobile worker capabilities, workforce management, and so on, contact/call center managers gain unprecedented insight and control of the success of their contact/call center.
Yet, it can be easy to lose sight of what really drives customer satisfaction: the team members. An interactive voice response (IVR) can only do so much—it is the team’s demeanor, talents, and dedication that create the foundation on which the rest of our technology solutions can build upon.
Establishing strategies to maintain your contact/call center staff’s motivation, performance, and enthusiasm is the single most important thing you can do to improve your contact/call center.
Contact/Call Center Help and Team Motivation
Create a Transparent Hiring Process
First and foremost, you need to hire and retain the right talent, but working in a contact/call center environment is not for everyone. There is a level of monotony and tedium involved with the work that can drain the motivation of employees over time.
To reduce turnover and attrition, it is important to be as clear as possible during the hiring process. In the job listing, interview, and other correspondence, specifically outline what the job will entail. Inform the potential applicant of the call volume, working environment, incentives, and other aspects to create a complete picture of the job.
While this may curb the number of applications received, it will ensure that those that do apply know what they are getting in to.
Establish a Remote Worker Policy To Build Call Center Job Satisfaction
According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review, allowing employees to regularly work from home has a significant impact on morale, job satisfaction, and productivity. For example, the study found that representatives took 13.5% more calls and attrition rates were cut in half in an office with remote worker capability compared to one without.
Of course, there are caveats to remote worker policies. Not everyone will be able to demonstrate focus outside of the office environment, but with call monitoring features, these inconsistencies can be found and addressed. Most people will recognize the privilege of working from home as exactly that, a privilege. To that point, do not let a small handful of team members abusing this policy discourage you from continuing it. There may just be a ramping up process.
A remote worker program can be established using a number of the cutting edge contact/call center platforms, such as Cisco Unified Contact Center Express (UCCX) and Customer Interaction Center (CIC).
Leverage and Celebrate the Experience of Your Top Representatives
As contact/call center manager, you have a detailed vision for how the center should be run, how your team should interact with the customer, and how to address difficult customer service situations, but you aren’t the only one with this knowledge.
Your experienced and top performing representatives can also speak to many of these same points, and they can present that information without any power dynamics at play. Supplement your own training initiatives with these experienced veterans. Use and reward their knowledge by setting up a mentorship program or knowledge base within the contact/call center with appropriate incentives.
If done effectively, this will have the dual effect of improving overall team performance and comradery while highlighting the success of your top representatives.
Promote from Within and Encourage Professional Development
On a related note to transparent hiring processes, no one wants to feel like they work in a dead end job. Let your team know that they are welcome after a certain period to apply for openings elsewhere in the company, and when a supervisor position opens within the contact/call center itself, look to your existing staff first.
This strategy has two distinct benefits. First, assuming that the candidate is both qualified and well respected among the team, the rest of the contact/call center will applaud the promotion. People want to work with those they respect, and promoting from within illustrates both the potential of the representatives current position and an appreciation for the work that they do.
Second, contact/call center representatives can be immensely valuable throughout the larger organization. They have thorough knowledge of the product or service and a finger on the pulse of the customer base. Who knows the customers better than the professionals speaking with them every day? Their customer service skills and awareness can prove a major boon.
Enact Gamification Strategies
Gamification is a new term to describe the combination of age old principles employed to cultivate contact/call center representatives motivation.
It’s a simple concept. Turn the redundant tasks of the contact/call center into a game by using familiar video game concepts like badges, achievements, leveling up, and point incentives.
Essentially, this works like short term and long term goal setting, but it is couched in a familiar and fun packaging. It encourages the team to look ahead and strive towards future goals while recognizing hard work and achievement.
Experiment with a Flexible Shift Model
Contact/call center managers have the unique challenge of balancing employee hours with peak times of call volume all while ensuring that coverage is maintained and the team can still have breaks.
Surprisingly, much of this challenge comes from trying to adhere the standard eight hour work day. Try experimenting with different flexible or non-traditional working schedules. The variety in scheduling contrasted against the repetitiveness of the job will improve overall satisfaction and the team’s work-life balance.
Beyond a motivational standpoint, a flexible schedule can have direct, practical effects. The goal is to centralize your team’s time around the peak days and give them more leeway during the slow periods.
Consider just some of the following options:
- Three twelve hours days, a half day, and a day off
- Ten hours on a peak day and shortened the rest of the week
- Three overnight shifts on the weekend and the rest of the week off
- Four ten hour shifts
Granted, there are certain contact/call centers that have a fairly consistent call volume and will not be able to realistically use each schedule variation. Experiment with some of these schedules and survey the responses from the staff.
Communicate the Company’s Business Strategy
Employees often have trouble seeing the forest through the trees. When your job role day in and day out takes place on a computer, a telephone, or other abstraction tool, the real-life effect of your hard work can be lost. Even though they are the front lines of customer interaction, it is easy to feel like it’s just another call.
Give your representatives the whole picture. Team up with your HR department to create an onboarding process that outlines the procedures and goals of the organization, where the contact/call center fits into that mission, and the chain of events that follows after they hang up the phone.
Soon, your team will feel less like a collection of drones and more like members of a team.
Reach out to Other Contact Center Managers
Remember, you are not alone. There are hundreds if not thousands of other contact/call center managers out there facing these same challenges every day and devising unique strategies to address them. Reach out to your industry peers from non-competing companies and form a small community to share ideas and discuss the trends impacting your key performance indicators (KPIs).
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Mindsight, a Chicago IT services provider, is an extension of your team. Our culture is built on transparency and trust, and our team is made up of extraordinary people – the kinds of people you would hire. We have one of the largest expert-level engineering teams delivering the full spectrum of IT services and solutions, from cloud to infrastructure, collaboration to contact center. Our highly-certified engineers and process-oriented excellence have certainly been key to our success. But what really sets us apart is our straightforward and honest approach to every conversation, whether it is for an emerging business or global enterprise. Our customers rely on our thought leadership, responsiveness, and dedication to solving their toughest technology challenges.