Contact centres can be busy, stressful places. But, as the front line of many businesses, it’s important that call centre employees stay upbeat and friendly when they’re talking to customers.
Rather than punish employees who don’t follow the script or get good enough feedback, here are three golden rules for keeping morale – and therefore performance – as high as possible in your contact centre.
1. Let your employees know you value them
It’s a proven truth that the more valued we feel in our employment, the more likely we are to try and do a good job. One of the best ways to make sure your call centre employees know how much you value the work that they do, and how they feel about it, is simply to talk to them.
Employee satisfaction surveys are really the absolute minimum you should be doing to make your employees feel like an important part of the team. Regular face to face interactions are much better – both in groups and between individuals. These provide an opportunity for your staff to tell you what’s going well, and what’s not going so well. It’s a great way to ‘share the love’, as well as surface any glitches that might be standing in the way of their productivity.
The second piece of the puzzle is to take action as a result of the feedback you receive. Obviously, at first pass, this means sorting out anything that’s actually wrong – like faulty equipment, office politics or unfair working conditions. But a good boss will use feedback to create even more value for his employees. For example, if people are complaining about feeling tired or rundown, treat them to a bowl of fruit or even an in-office masseuse.
Offering rewards and incentives is another great way to show employees you care. Big, exciting one-off rewards – such as a fully paid holiday for the best performing employee – can go a long way towards increasing performance across the board. Smaller, more targeted incentives also have their place – don’t underestimate the power of a monthly ‘best employee’ voucher!
2. Make work more fun
Another obvious (but often-overlooked) tactic to increasing morale among employees is simply to make the workplace more fun. This doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, but you do have to do it with heart; there’s nothing worse than a manager who fails to get into the spirit of things!
Regular celebrations are a good place to start. You’ve probably already got Christmas and birthdays covered, but what about researching a few other special days to celebrate? ‘Talk like a pirate’ day is becoming very popular (although might not be recommended for a call centre), but there are literally thousands of others to choose from. Just pick one and make it your own! Better yet, pick one per month and keep your employees on their toes.
Another key area for upping the fun is the much-loved staff room. This is where your employees go to recharge their batteries, bond with their colleagues and get some much needed time out. It’s their space, so they should have a say in what it’s like. Make sure you ask them.
Of course, it’s better if the company foots the bill for any new decorations, equipment or other treats. But, if you’re short of cash, consider asking your employees to donate to the ‘staff room fund’ – you’ll be surprised how generous people will be if they feel they’re helping their friends enjoy work more, as well as themselves.
3. Build your team
When you work in a stressful or difficult environment, the number one thing that will keep you smiling and cheerful is your friends. Just like in real life. Helping to nurture friendships and build up a stronger team within your workforce is therefore an incredibly efficient and effective way to boost morale.
‘Team building’ sounds kind of cheesy these days, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. In fact, you’ll find that the ‘team building’ events industry is absolutely booming – and for very good reason. You can spend almost as much money as you want on these activities, so make sure you’re sensible about what you can afford. You might well encounter some resistance from employees about ‘organised fun’, but as long as you’re putting yourself through the challenge as well, those grumbles will soon go away.
Of course, team building comes in all shapes and sizes – it can be as simple as creating opportunities for your contact centre employees to spend time away from their desks in a shared space. Which means there’s absolutely no reason why inviting everyone to the pub on a Friday evening shouldn’t be high on your list of go-to team building ideas!