Jennifer Waite at Playvox shares six methods to raise team morale and engage staff.
Agents are the heart of our industry. Engaged, motivated professionals can set your customer experience above the industry standard to keep the people contacting your company happy and open to returning.
Therefore, it is vital that your contact centre staff remain inspired and driven to provide support to the very best of their abilities. After all, these agents are at the forefront of your business.
They are problem-solving, change-making, issue-mitigating, and upselling professionals. But maintaining the level of quality required can be difficult. So, here are six proven ways to raise team morale and keep spirits high.
Measuring Morale in the Workplace
When it comes to building morale, it is impossible to fight any challenge without first establishing a baseline. Some managers may conduct reviews through observations only.
Is there a gloomy mood in the centre? This could work for smaller groups of agents, but managers of larger groups will find this both impractical and inefficient.
Surveys can offer insight into the inner workings of your agents but could also present an inaccurate view with individuals feeling uneasy when it comes to sharing their true opinions with management.
Truthfully, for the most precise gauge of morale, there is no better way than simply conversing with staff on a personal level. An open-door policy can help, but regular two-way communications not only build relationships but also create bonds between agents, management, and the centre as a whole.
Once you have a solid base to build upon, it is time to begin making changes for the better of your contact centre’s team morale.
1. Personal and Professional Freedom
Contact centre agents are vital to the image and feel of a company so it’s important that they feel a professional freedom to work. A survey from ICMI shows 74% of business leaders say they are not empowering their contact centre agents to deliver the best service possible.
From the day an agent first sets foot in the door, start by engaging with them on a personal level, uncover what makes them tick, how they like to work, and explore how their position can evolve over time to keep them motivated and engaged.
Life in the contact centre can be stressful. Making allowances for these shifts in working practices can go a long way in boosting morale. At the same time there are personal inputs to take into account.
This is especially true after the pandemic, where introducing some leeway can go a long way to mitigate personal circumstances which would otherwise impact their professional conduct.
2. Separate Engagement and Morale
Unfortunately, a team can be unengaged despite morale being high. But recognizing agents of all abilities opens the door to boosted morale and leads to further success. Here are some easy fixes to improve employee engagement.
Camaraderie between team members can be hugely beneficial to a work-life balance, but if these relationships begin disturbing work it can be tricky to stop once a behaviour is in place.
To this end, introducing company-led events away from the office can help maintain bonds. Not only will agents get to interact away from their desks, but it is an opportunity to let off some steam.
Once re-energized, agents will be ready to give their all knowing there is ample time for socializing outside of work hours
3. Analyse the Physical Office
Not only are contact centre agents impacted by mental factors in the workplace but by physical ones too. When was the last time you audited your contact centre? There are a number of issues which could be plaguing your team:
- Harsh lightning
- Uncomfortable seating provisions
- Desk arrangement leading to air draughts, frequent passers-by, or lack of natural light
- Lack of a stocked kitchen, food options, and fresh water
- Few social spaces and little greenery
This webinar provides 20 tips for managing stress on the customer service team, most of which will create a two-fold return by boosting morale.
4. Monitor the Remote Office
It is no longer enough to maintain an attractive physical office for agents. You must now also take into account contact centre agents working from home.
Managing remote or hybrid employees can be trickier since their physical working office cannot be monitored. Instead monitoring productivity levels can often indicate an early issue before it spirals.
Ensure working conditions are as close to identical as possible. Do they have the technology they need? How are they maintaining social links with office-based teams? Are you offering the same access to training and coaching?
Introduce regular catch-ups or virtual hangouts with all remote workers to share their experience with each other and with management. These agents can learn from one another whilst you learn the areas where their work can be optimised.
Tools such as Playvox Motivation can level the playing field by offering all agents, irrespective of their location, the platform to collaborate, communicate, and ultimately grow wherever they work from.
5. Mutually Beneficial Quality Assurance
The QA function can be viewed negatively by agents despite its crucial place in the life of managers. Agents feel like they’re being harshly judged while under constant surveillance. It can be different.
When organized and operating with agent development in mind, a system which benefits all can be created. Most agents want to grow professionally, 94% of employees say they would remain at a company longer if given growth opportunities.
When creating your scoring forms or conducting calibration, include some of your agents to give them insight into the full process and gain their buy-in on how they are being evaluated. Aligning the QA remit with training is perfect to accomplish this.
Offering tailored training or coaching opportunities as a means to grow from feedback mitigates the negative feelings some people conjure from direct criticism and helps build confidence in their own abilities for the future.
Self-confidence in the face of unhappy callers veering off-script can be a lifeline for businesses when it comes to satisfying and retaining customers with an issue.
For contact centres, QA is a crucial tool to boost team morale and one worth ensuring agents happily comply with.
6. Fun, Fun, Fun
No matter how hard you try to implement team morale boosters, there will always be a subsection of agents whose attention cannot be captured. So, accepting that some individuals will not engage with professional development schemes is a must.
That does not mean that you cannot attempt to build team morale in an alternative way. Contact centres can be a tough working environment, so keeping the mood light within the team is a must.
Look for ways to lift the team spirit and introduce fun to every day. Check out national awareness days to celebrate together, whether that is national picnic day or dog lover’s day.
Make these days fun by taking photos at the event and sharing highlights at the next team meeting. Research from McKinsey shows that agents provided with opportunities to socialize are more engaged with their work.
In fact, 36% of agents who received one or no chances per month said they were dissatisfied at work compared to 60% extremely satisfied offered more than once per shift.
Keeping team morale high can be a challenge for contact centre leaders. What works to motivate one employee may not work for another member of the team.
However, these six proven tips for raising team morale will help the agents in your centre thrive. What helps you maintain high agent morale in your contact centre?