Keeping Agents Motivated in the Contact Center
Even the most careful managers will never run a perfect contact center. You can be encouraging, inspiring, understanding, diplomatic and have the call center scheduling skills of a master. You can keep an eye on KPIs, petty squabbles and executive threats to cut the budget all while troubleshooting computer problems. If your agents simply aren’t motivated, however, your schedule adherence will continue to be off, and your customers will continue to be unimpressed.
The summer months are notorious as an employee distraction, and not only in the contact center. Many customers and co-workers are on vacation, the weather is nice, vacations are pending (or are recently completed) and the last place agents want to be is under their headsets. While you could bark at them and forbid them to look outside, a more realistic way of coping with distraction and a lack of schedule adherence during the summer months is to embrace the season.
In a recent article for UK site Call Centre Helper, staff editors prepared a list of tips for call center managers looking to keep employees rewarded and focused throughout the summer. Many of them involve bringing a little fun to the office, whether it’s holding barbecues in the parking lot and providing free lunches (or dinners, depending on the agents’ shift hours), adding a wading pool and deck chairs to the office grounds or parking lot and creating a beach-themed break room for employees to unwind in.
Smart managers can also tie employee recognition and awards to a summer theme, which ties the fun to serious rewards based on performance management and workforce management.
“Give your in-house competitions a summer revamp by switching your usual prizes for over-sized sunglasses, floppy sun hats and ice lollies [lollipops],” wrote the editors. “You could also run a summer-long competition – giving away a family day out or a city break as a prize to the best-performing agent.”
Loud Hawaiian shirts and lounge chairs aside, it’s critical that managers ensure that all employees get some time off during the summer. If it’s not your busy season, that will make things easy. If it is your busy season, it will be more difficult, but not too forbidding with the use of a good call center scheduling solution. Since the summer is short and the number of workers looking for time off is large, a cloud-based call center scheduling solution is vital for fair allocation of popular holiday weeks. You can establish a “pecking order” of vacation requests by seniority, for example (employee who has been with the company the longest gets first pick of the vacation time), or performance.
You can also use the scheduling solution to ensure that there is coverage for customer calls at all times during the popular summer season, and that adherence is remaining on point even though it’s hot outside and friends and family are having fun. It may be summertime, but your customers are unlikely to be understanding enough to wait on hold for eternity.
Edited by Alicia Young