16 Tips for Employee Empowerment


Our readers share their top tips for supporting employee empowerment in the contact centre.

1. Get your agents involved in writing the procedures that they will be using

Get your agents involved in writing the procedures that they will be using.

This will help them to be closer to the customer, the process and the system.

With thanks to Gemma

2. Let agents deliver good news when a complex problem has been resolved

If an agent has to get something ‘above their paygrade’ approved by me, I allow them to go back to the customer and say “I spoke to the manager because I felt you should be given this credit and she agreed.”

This makes the agent the winner in the situation.

With thanks to Lisa

3. Have deeper conversations with agents to help them understand their purpose

Have deeper conversations with your agents and explain the purpose of their work, and why their requests can and can’t be actioned.

For example, “I’m asking you to make this many calls because of X” or “I’m asking you to change this because of Y.”

With thanks to Stephanie

4. Give your agents real responsibility by getting them involved with recruitment

Involve agents in your recruitment process.

This empowers them with really important decision-making responsibilities.

With thanks to Gemma

5. Allow people to swap and extend their shifts for maximum flexibility

We have rotating fixed-shift patterns and everyone has the flexibility to swap.

We’ve also introduced the option for extended shifts with Fridays off.

With thanks to Harj

6. Practise Management by Walking Around (MBWA)

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Practise Management by Walking Around (MBWA).

Get out of your office on a regular basis and see and hear what is going on around the floor.

With thanks to Michael

7. Allow for an hour of flexibility in the schedule

Just offering an hour’s window of flexibility in our schedule has allowed for better confidence in the company and reduced staff turnover.

With thanks to Stephanie

8. Have designated pods where agents can contribute to company strategy

We have designated pods in our contact centre where agents can go and help decide what will happen within the company from a strategic point of view.

With thanks to Gemma

9. Help agents to understand “Why are we here?”

Advisors can get lost in their day-to-day work.

The first step to empowerment is to strip things down to basics and allow advisors to really question “Why are we here?” and “What really is our job?”

With thanks to Ian

10. Allow agents to set their own goals

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Express concern for your associates beyond work. Develop a relationship and a goal-setting pattern that allows them to set their own goals based on what their personal life involves.

This works for us because of a tiered bonus structure, so I talk with each associate weekly and we discuss “What bonus do you want to meet?”, “What are the steps you need to make to hit that goal?” and “Are you on target to hit the goal that YOU set?”

With thanks to Stephanie

11. Let agents design the team commission structure for improved buy-in

We had some dissatisfaction around the team commission structure, so I asked the team to nominate a panel of agents. These nominated individuals collectively gathered people’s thoughts and inputs and created a new plan.

They then presented this to the team, along with the reasons why they had chosen the categories they did. There has been great improvement in associate morale and buy-in to the good of our business.

With thanks to Harj

12. Employees need to know that managers further up the line care too

I find employees who have lost motivation and empowerment because their direct manager and their direct manager’s supervisor just sit at their desks.

Employees need to know that their direct manager cares, but also that people further up the line care as well.

With thanks to Stephanie

13. Give agents increased “power” in line with their time in service

We have a tool in our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system that gives ‘power’ by time with the company and agent abilities.

Seasonal workers have much more limited ‘power’ or authority than our full-time agents.

With thanks to Lisa

14. Find out why agents don’t feel as empowered as they should

If someone is not behaving in the expected manner despite being empowered, investigate the thinking around this and seek to change it.

For example, if a sales agent is empowered to do something customer service-wise but is not doing so, the thinking might be that it is a waste as it does not gain a sale. You need to address this head on.

With thanks to Gemma

15. Hold focus groups and give agents control of the conversation

We hold focus groups with 2–3 very open questions and allow the agents to talk about whatever they wish.

Our questions are generally: What are your current frustrations? What are our opportunities? What would make us more effective? What do you feel our customers want? What have you done in your previous companies that has worked well?

With thanks to Harj

16. Involve team members in the training of new staff

Empower team members by including them in decisions, new projects, and the training of new staff.

With thanks to Michael

How empowered are your agents? What empowerment initiatives have been successful in your contact centre?

Put your thoughts in an email to Call Centre Helper.

Published On: 16th Nov 2016 - Last modified: 22nd Mar 2017
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