Anyone who has worked in a customer service environment knows that it can be stressful, and keeping agents motivated and enthusiastic about their work is easier said than done.
Even the most engaged agents can become disillusioned from time to time, so it’s important that customer service leaders understand how to motivate their team. Maintaining a high level of customer service motivation in the workplace requires a lot of effort, focus and dedication on behalf of both leaders and agents.
Unmotivated agents can lead to low productivity, poor morale, high turnover, and a lack of team cohesion, so addressing the issue before it escalates can save a lot of heartache. Here, we explore 7 simple ways to keep your customer service team motivated.
To motivate your team, you must understand them. No two individuals are the same, so you have to determine what makes each agent tick and then tailor your motivational approach based on this information. Surveys, questionnaires, and brainstorming sessions are just a few of the tools you can use to develop a better understanding of your team members and their values. While some common motivations like encouragement and recognition are likely to pop up repeatedly, there might be some surprising motivations you had not considered before. Regardless of which method you are using to learn about your agents, the most important thing is to engage in active listening and really pay attention to what they’re saying.
A little friendly competition never hurt anyone. From the playground to the office, humans are naturally competitive at every stage of life. Adding a competitive element to the workplace, particularly when it comes to dull, repetitive tasks, adds an extra dimension to what could otherwise be a draining experience for agents. As well as improving motivation levels among the team, creating friendly competition among agents can have a positive impact on performance. Keep the competition visible with a leaderboard, or even offer prizes for top performers, to cement the competitive element.
Recognition is one of the most common motivations among workers, so it’s important to reward agents for their efforts and celebrate top performers. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, even small acts of appreciation can boost team morale. Things like a gift certificate for topping a leaderboard, or a customer compliments board which is visible to everyone, can provide a real sense of achievement for agents. Recognition should be delivered on both an individual basis and a team basis, to acknowledge distinct kinds of achievements. Meeting individual goals is important, but encouraging teamwork and collaboration is key too. Celebrate team achievements with team outings to boost morale even further. When it comes to individual recognition, remember that not everyone likes a big public show, some agents may prefer quiet congratulations from one or two senior figures. Whatever the method of delivery, make sure your praise is authentic and honest—if an agent feels that your praise is disingenuous, it could have a negative effect.
Even the most experienced customer service agents can feel demotivated from time to time. If goals aren’t clearly defined and communicated, it can be difficult for agents to see the point of their efforts. SMART goals are one way to provide clarity and give your agents a sense of direction and purpose. This approach to goal setting helps to identify opportunities for improvement, create a more engaging work environment, and provide an outline for success which ensures that all team members are on the same page. SMART goals, both shared and individual, generate a sense of achievement in the workplace, allowing agents to better understand their contribution to the company and the impact of their work on the overall objectives of the organization. When agents can connect their own work to the bigger picture, they will feel more empowered and engaged.
Helping agents discover their own motivations can be much more rewarding than establishing arbitrary goals. The GROW methodology is a popular method for assisting agents with this process and planning the next steps based on their discoveries. It is not just for agents either, the GROW (Goals, Reality, Options, Will) model can be used to enable growth for all employees, including leaders, to establish the framework for a coaching culture within the organization. Effective coaching can be a useful tool for driving performance and boosting employee satisfaction. Customer service leaders can use the GROW model to help agents develop an awareness of their skill gaps, allowing them to direct their own training approach rather than just taking their manager’s word for it.
People work better when their aims stretch beyond themselves. Remind agents that they are contributing to the overall mission of the organization, resolving customer needs, and making a tangible difference to the company, and they will have a greater sense of purpose. A sense of purpose is vital in cultivating motivation, and, without it, agents may feel directionless. When agents begin work every day with the sense that their contribution matters, they will be more engaged and motivated to perform to the best of their ability.
Team building is a tried and tested way of creating connections between employees, establishing a sense of camaraderie, and instilling the belief that everyone is working towards a common goal. Team building activities are most enjoyable when they take place away from the office environment in a more casual setting. The change of setting can shake things up and allow agents to express themselves more freely, so consider social events, games nights, or even outdoor adventures. In particular, activities which get the team working together to solve problems are great for building trust and forming bonds. Some companies even have volunteering programs in place for employees. This can be a great way to build connections and work towards a common goal.
Customer service can be a tough area to work in, so it’s understandable that employee motivation wavers from time to time. It’s important that managers and supervisors are equipped with the right tools to motivate their team when times are tough. Understanding agents, establishing goals, and rewarding performance are just some ways to give employees a sense of purpose and reinvigorate the entire customer service team. Scorebuddy can be used to track goals, performance, and outcomes, giving customer service leaders a data-driven basis for their motivational approaches. Request a demo today to learn how Scorebuddy can take your customer service team to the next level.