Keep Call Center Workers Engaged During the Summer Months
Contact center business is often seasonally cyclical, depending on the products and services they’re supporting. Children’s clothing sellers may see customer demand peak during August and September, with smaller spikes before holidays. Pool company agents may spend entire winters playing solitaire on their laptops and startle when the phone rings because it’s so unexpected. This is to be expected. What’s less well known, however, is that call center agents also have peak seasons when it comes to performance. Hint: summertime isn’t it.
Human resource management and contact center managers have noted that it’s particularly hard to keep workers engaged during the summer months. Holidays and socializing opportunities abound, and many customers take vacation. The result is often semi-conscious employees. Even the best call center scheduling in the world won’t keep the customer experience at its high watermark if workers are snoozing.
“Between the heat, fun, and distractions that come with the season, it's crucial that bosses summer-proof their workplace,” wrote Aine Caine for Business Insider.
HR experts say there are some ways to keep motivation high during the summer months, and many of them use the “if-you-can’t-beat-‘em-join-‘em” approach. For starters, make sure that all employees have a chance to take a vacation themselves so they feel less deprived.
“Encourage your workers to take a break this summer,” wrote Caine. “Taking time off actually does wonders for employee productivity, as Business Insider previously reported. And having to deal with burned out, overworked employees would make for a cruel summer indeed.”
Using a good call center scheduling tool, managers can keep the vacation process civil by setting up some sort of criteria for who gets first pick of vacation time: seniority in the job, perhaps, or some performance criteria achieved in a gamified quality management solution. (Example: the agent with the most virtual “gold stars” gets first pick of the calendar.)
Another good suggestion is to make the most of the season and hold a company event or two that celebrates the summer. Andrew Filev, CEO of project management application service Wrike, told Business Insider that planned outdoor activities may help keep workers engaged.
“Throw team events and parties, like a BBQ, or an outdoor retreat, like white water rafting,” Filev said. “Hold competitions. Sponsor team outings and happy hours. There are countless ways to mix up the work week with activities that bring your employees closer together. These activities will not only boost employee happiness and celebrate the summer, but also set your team up to be more productive and engaged over the long-term.”
Even if large events are beyond your budget, consider buying the contact center lunch once in a while and setting it up on a table outside, with chairs and even some music. Whatever you choose to do, most HR experts agree that ignoring the fact that workers are restless is the wrong approach. By getting into the “summer spirit,” companies can help boost engagement and keep their workers a little more alert during the dog days of summer.
Edited by Alicia Young