Guest Post by Mike Aoki, President, Reflective Keynotes Inc
Keeping your call center agents motivated and engaged is important, yet it is anything but easy. First of all, you need to conduct a survey and to see “what makes your agents tick” in the first place – find out more about their future professional goals and whether they are satisfied with their current position. The more you ask, the better: create a survey with several notable questions to find out more about your employees such as their likes, dislikes and preferences. Not only will this help you keep them motivated, but it will boost their performance as well. Also, make sure to inform your call center agents that your primary goal is their welfare and their happiness – it is important for them to know that they are desired and appreciated at the workplace, and that somebody is constantly looking for ways to improve their experience and to support them in the long run.
In addition to the survey, you can also schedule live, one-on-one interviews with each agent and team leader, as it often happens that a live meeting turns out to be a lot more productive than a dull questionnaire. Avoid asking direct questions where agents can only reply with “Yes” or “No”, as the secret is to make the agents talk as much as possible!
Aspects To Consider When Surveying Your Call Center Agents
There are several key questions that every survey must contain, such as the aspects agents would like to change about their current workplace or where do they see themselves in a few years’ time. However, do not be overly negative about this: make sure to put emphasis on the positive aspects of the job as well, by asking the agents to compel a list of the most important aspects they like about their job, such as the advancement opportunities or the attractive compensation plans.
On the other hand, it is also very important to become familiar with your agents’ future plans and goals, and to ask them how can you be of service. Accept and process feedback, be it positive or negative and make sure to keep track of the agents’ comments on a constant basis. Only this way you can stay up-to-date with your call center agents’ needs and desires, and to fulfill them accordingly. At the same time, it is very important to constantly remind your agents that they are a proactive part of this change, and that their feedback is essential if they want to learn, grow and advance in their career.
It is not uncommon for agents to be reluctant to giving straightforward answers, especially if there is something that bothers them in particular and they are too ashamed to admit it out loud, being afraid of the potential consequences. This is why it is important to be patient and to remind them that everything they say will be used only to improve the working conditions and to offer agents the support they need to advance. Make sure to emphasize mainly on their goals and aspirations, as this will surely keep them motivated and interested. Always be kind and remember to tell them that their feedback is greatly appreciated, at the end of each interview!
The bottom line is that these regular meetings with your agents can be a win-win situation: the call center agents will be more motivated and they will feel better about their workplace, while your business will thrive and its efficacy will be improved as well. After you find out the key motivators that keep your agents going, find a way to reward them for their performance and to motivate them even more!
© 2013 Reflective Keynotes Inc., Toronto, Canada
About the author:
Mike Aoki is the President of Reflective Keynotes Inc. (www.reflectivekeynotes.com ), a Canadian training company that helps contact centres improve their sales, customer service and management results.