Josh O’Farrell of Spearline discusses how best to engage contact centre agents and support their well-being.
A call centre manager’s role in a company is a difficult one. From analysing the centre’s metrics, providing excellent support for their customers, and setting clear long-term goals and objectives for the company, they have a lot on their plate. But one of the most important roles that a manager has is making sure the call centre agents are trained, well looked after and motivated for their roles. They are the backbone of the company after all!
With any job, it can be difficult to stay motivated and focused on your objectives. Carrying out the same routine tasks, day in, day out, can easily get repetitive and cause agents to come to a crashing halt. This can be down to a number of issues varying from an overall management style to even just the quality of a call.
Spearline had previously looked at the significance of customer effort scores, and how these can affect a contact centre. But what happens to the agents who receive the feedback? How does it affect them? Happy customers are always significant, but relying on your agents is equally important. With October focusing on Mental Health Awareness, it’s important to consider your call centre agents’ well-being too.
Promote publicly, rebuke privately
Taking the time to acknowledge your agents’ hard work should be incorporated into every workplace. Recognizing workers for their own individual achievements makes them feel valued and respected. People crave acknowledgment; it’s human nature. Once they see a worker being recognized for their hard work, this sparks a flare to enhance their own work ethic, just to get their recognition from the manager.
Simple ways of minimizing employee burnout and turnover are verbal or written praise in customer meetings, monthly group ceremonies, shift selection, reserved parking or a won day-off. Providing employees with a visible route of progression also increases motivation and enthusiasm in their roles.
With promotion being advertised publicly and proudly, the opposite should be said when presenting constructive feedback to an agent. Nobody likes to be publicly called out; it’s just embarrassing and humiliating. It also doesn’t come across as great leadership on your behalf either. Making an example of a worker in front of the whole office portrays your leadership as more of a dictatorship. When reprimanding an agent, do so in private, i.e. organize a meeting and go through where they went wrong and how they can improve. Respect is two way.
Acknowledging your workforce doesn’t necessarily mean serving out promotions every week. Simple things like surveys, monthly meetings or simply just asking for their opinions on how the workplace could be improved and taking the feedback into consideration could be highly beneficial in the long run. You want your agents to feel as comfortable as possible in the workplace and to show them that you value their hard work by listening to their requests. This will also boost their confidence by showing that they can create change in their business and in the lives of their customers by implementing their ideas.
Positive workforce, positive results
Promoting well-being around the office is always a necessity, no matter what time of year it is. A positive mentality starting from the head of the company will flow all the way through to every department with ease, providing your agents with more confidence and enthusiasm. Nobody likes to work in a place that’s all ‘doom and gloom’, and seeing their leader being so positive will encourage them to go the extra mile and raise their game.
Plus, a happy workforce will equal happy customers. A simple smile and an upbeat attitude can make a big difference.
So, now that you’ve looked after your agents’ well-being on a mental and emotional level, it’s time to turn your focus on a more technical level to ensure your agents won’t be facing bad quality issues.
Ensure your agents have excellent call quality
You’d be shocked to learn that one of the most demotivating things an agent can face is a poor phone connection when trying to deal with a customer. Agents are there to help, and they are unable to do so if their phone lines keep dropping in quality and cause their customers to get frustrated. Nobody likes a bad phone call and nobody wants to be dealing with angry customers. If an agent is facing this day in and day out, like the call quality, their motivation drops at an excessive rate. They don’t want to come to work to be blamed by their customers for having poor-quality calls.
But this can be avoided by monitoring and testing, ensuring your agents never have to suffer.
For any call centre to run successfully, looking after your agents is key. Keeping them motivated is an ongoing process, but worthwhile. Motivated workers mean a more productive, happier workplace which becomes more appealing to customers. Making sure your workers feel looked after, on a mental, emotional and technical level is vital. Your agents shouldn’t be left facing frustrated customers with terrible quality phone lines. At the end of the day, it’s YOUR agents facing these issues head-on.
Keep your agents happy and looked after. Like a domino effect, the rest will fall into place naturally in no time.
For further information, visit www.spearline.com