Using Metrics To Motivate Call Center Agents
By Christine M Harrell
The latest generation of call center software allows organizations to monitor agent and department performance at a level that would have been impossible ten or twenty years ago.
However these tools are not just for management use.
Call center reports provide valuable motivators to agents, inspiring them to excel and boost the center’s productivity.
Giving Agents Control
When agents become isolated, their performance suffers. A workday becomes an endless series of phone calls. There is no sense of progress other than the ticking of the clock, and the only goal is to get through the day. Morale drops. Service quality drops. Customers become unhappy. It’s a death spiral.
Live call center reports allow agents to see how the department is performing in real time. Phone calls are no longer isolated incidents, but rather pieces of an overall flow of call volume. The agent is not alone, but part of a team.
Employees can see how individual efforts affect hold times, queue lengths and other statistics. As the number of calls climb they can put in an extra effort, and as call volume falls agents can relax and take a breather.
It’s Like A Game
Goals are an important element of motivation. They allow us to “win” at whatever we are doing, providing a sense of accomplishment. Realistic and achievable objectives improve employee productivity by adding an element of fun to the workday, without undermining the professionalism needed in the position.
Service departments use call center reports in this manner. Agents work to keep queue lengths and hold times below certain levels. They are prompted to work harder to win at the customer service game.
Agents take it upon themselves to work harder when needed rather than needing to be browbeaten by management. This internal motivation is an invaluable part of a productive and happy service team.
There are two things to keep in mind when using call center reports as motivational tools. First, it’s all about customer service.
The reason we want to get hold times or queue lengths down is not that it makes our reports look good. It’s because a caller who gets to a human being faster is going to be a happier customer.
However when we become so obsessed with getting our numbers down that we hang up on customers before the problem is resolved, we’ve lost sight of the true goal. Agents still need to provide exceptional service to each caller.
The second thing to remember is the motivational benefits of call center reports are lost when we use those statistics to punish rather than encourage.
When an agent is not meeting standards something needs to be done, but reprimands and threats often simply lower morale while providing only a token increase in productivity.
Low morale service agents may take their bad moods out on customers. Find a positive way to inspire low-productivity employees to work harder.