We all know that motivated staff work better and harder. But how do we ensure our
staff are always motivated? Here are a few tips.
1. Happy work force = happy customers
Provide a great environment to work in and look after your staff the way you expect
them to look after your customers.
Why should they be nice to customers if they are getting a raw deal at work
themselves? Keep them happy by providing what they need in terms of training (soft
skills as well as technical knowledge) and genuine support with positive messages
where appropriate and constructive feedback where development is needed.
Top customer service strategies – No. 2 Happy Staff = Happy Customers
2. Senior manager feedback
You don‟t need to spend a lot of money to make your people
feel motivated and valued. Quite often a telephone call from a senior manager
congratulating a team member on a „good week‟ is equally as effective as an offer of a
training course or gift voucher. You can‟t be seen to be withdrawing from investing in
your people. Of course, you may have to make decisions to protect the profitability of
your business that may not be popular so the messages you communicate are
extremely important. We must continue to celebrate success, coach people on specific
challenges and address any difficult issues they face.
Five ways to share good customer feedback with the rest of the team
3. A positive attitude
It is vital that recruitment team managers realign their expectations and take into
consideration the economic climate when setting targets and objectives. Whilst I don‟t
believe it is all doom and gloom out there, it is definitely tougher to convert leads into
sales and there are fewer opportunities. That said, team leaders must encourage their
staff to raise their game and sell themselves out of the credit crunch.
4. The right tools and skills for the job
Regardless of whether you are operating during a credit
crunch or not – staff motivation is influenced by the following factors: having the right
person in the job who is capable of doing it; equipping them to do the job by giving them
the right tools and support and finally setting realistic targets that they believe can be
achieved. We have continued to invest in sales and marketing during these difficult
times and have launched a number of new product lines. This shows our staff that we
are responding to the challenges of the marketplace and supporting them in every way
5. Using temporary workers
The benefit of having temporary workers is that the customers can flex up and down
depending on their requirement. So unsurprisingly over the past few months we have
seen a decrease in demand for temporary workers across a number of our customers.
Naturally companies are also reticent to commit to permanent recruitment and are even
subject to headcount freezes.
Temporary vs permanent staff – which is more productive?
6. Don’t be tempted to carry anyone who is not up to the job
Leadership skills are ever more important during a credit crunch and you must lead from
the front and inspire the team. Concentrate on motivating your best people and don‟t be
tempted to carry anyone who is not up to the job – this can be highly demotivating for
the rest of the team.
7. Keep things fresh
As obvious as it may sound, the key to motivation is to keep
things fresh. Any job, however much you enjoy it, can become monotonous. This is
even more true for the call centre environment.
8. Small ‘quick fix’ prizes
Monthly bonuses and incentive schemes are always useful, but what will keep them
motivated throughout the month is the small „quick fix‟ stuff, the here and now, if you
like. The little prizes they can take away with them as soon as they win them (or hit
Incentive schemes that work
Fifteen great ways to improve your incentive programmes
9. Training is always good, it keeps people up to date and focused on the job
Regular, effective and relevant training is massively important and a great motivator. If
you want them to perform properly and consistently then you have to give them the
tools to do so. Training is always good, it keeps people up to date and focused on the
job at hand, it keeps their skills at the forefront and it will show them that management
are obviously concerned with how well they do their job, etc.
If they are given good quality training that covers the topics and issues they are faced
with then they will respond and to a certain extent motivate themselves to stick with
what they learn.
What‟s the best way to deliver agent training?
10. Offer a nice clean working environment
You need to make sure that the environment they are
working in is conducive to good performance. Everyone likes to work somewhere nice,
clean carpets, working computers and phones, a couple of nice plants.
Consider this, which team do you think would give the best performance, the one who
works in a scruffy office where the equipment only works half of the time and the
managers never offer any support, or the team that works in a clean, friendly office
where everything works properly and managers spend their day patting you on the
I appreciate that I‟ve given an extreme example but the fact remains that if your call
centre is clean and welcoming then your team will want to be there and motivation is
much easier to come by.
Six clever ways to design your call centre
11. We all like to be rewarded or praised for doing it well
A good reward scheme is a great motivator, especially if your team are conducting
outbound calls. Human nature dictates that no matter what job we do we all like to be
rewarded or praised for doing it well. Sales people live by that, generally because the
better they do the more money they get.What you have to do is have more than one
programme running at any given time – immediate, daily, weekly, monthly – it doesn‟t
really matter what timescales are involved – the key is to run a programme that suits all
members of the team. Basically, the thing that might motivate the top sales person won‟t
necessarily work with an average performer and vice versa. So if you have different
options then you should be able to give all of them something to aim for.
Articles about staff recognition
12. Use both sides of the brain
We support people by using the NBI Brain Profile. Through listening to callers‟ word
patterns (usually borrowers) you can establish how best to deal with them, e.g. if a
caller wants to tell you their story it probably means they are more of a right-brain
thinker. This is important for them to know you understand their situation and if later in
the call you want to obtain a commitment from them this will increase your probability of
13. Listening to your team
We have found that the simple yet very effective “secret” to motivating a call centre
team effectively comes through how one views motivation. We run with the premise that
it is impossible to impose motivation upon people, you need to create an environment
within which they can (and will) motivate themselves.
This environment comes through really listening to your team, and understanding the
call centre from their perspective. You do not need to agree with everything they are
thinking but you do need to understand why they feel this way. Understand what
problems/worries they are encountering, what opportunities they see, what is important
Top customer service strategies – No.5 Listen to your customers and staff
14. What does success look like?
One area (often overlooked) is providing absolute clarity in “what success looks like” –
all employees must be able to understand their goals and determine whether or not they
are achieving these goals.
15. Positive immediate consequences
Rewards that come at the end of the period are too late to produce ongoing change.
“Well done” at the end of the week has a short-term impact. Sustained change in
behaviour comes when agents are told right through their shift … every minute of the
day … precisely how they are performing and being rewarded for that performance.
When they see the positive and immediate consequences of what they do, the do it
better; faster; more often.
16. A team huddle at the start of the shift
A bit of fun can go a long way towards motivating staff and
helps to energise. At the start of shifts a quick „huddle‟, not only to pass on bits of key
information but to also share a topical joke or „vote‟ on a true/false, can really wake
people up! Far more effective than email bulletins that are rarely read!
Set up daily briefing sessions
17. Be careful promoting people into management roles
One of the most common mistakes, one which I have never understood, is moving
consistent, well-performing call centre staff into management roles and away from the
front line of customer service. Often when these top performers are promoted to
managing others, they are replaced by less talented individuals. But many good call
centre staff are wilfully independent workers, so can find management roles stressful
and demotivating. Ultimately, the result is the business loses out on two fronts.
18. Get the systems right
The best way to motivate contact centre staff is to ask for their direct input. A key area
for consultation is the re-evaluation of the area where agents spend all of their time: the
Agents frequently cite dissatisfaction with systems as being a major source of low
Can a unified desktop improve agent productivity?
19. Sort out the headaches
Having to navigate accurately across multiple desktop applications while trying to deal
effectively with impatient customers can be incredibly unproductive and stressful for
agents. The sheer volume of copying and pasting across different systems requires
intense concentration and can lead to headaches and repetitive strain injuries.
Ironically, deploying integration and automation technology to tackle these issues can
genuinely humanise highly repetitive, manual and error-prone processes for call centre
20. Rewards to share with the family
Motivation and reward schemes need to have a high satisfaction level and appeal.
We are finding more and more that staff want rewards that they can share with their
family and that give them a sense of well-being.
Incentive schemes: making them work for you
21. Find out what makes staff ‘tick’
Find out what motivates each employee, and make each
individual feel that they have a part to play in the overallsuccess of the business. An
annual employee satisfaction survey won‟t even scratch the surface.
To find out what makes staff „tick‟ on an ongoing basis you need to measure employee
attitude at „key moments of truth‟ for each employee.
The best way to do this is to use employee feedback software which can provide a
regular opportunity for employees to „air their thoughts‟ in a non-confrontational way.
And to provide that information to team leaders so that they always have an up-to-date
picture about how an employee feels.
22. Reward good work
When someone does a good job it‟s important to recognise their achievements. Offering
commission on sales targets or promotions based on performance gives staff something
to strive for and also shows you will commend good work.
How to motivate employees for less than £50 per week
23. Regular review sessions
In every role people want to develop their skills to help them progress. All members of
the team should have regular review sessions which help staff and employers to identify
both areas of strength and skills gaps. At the end of each of these sessions, targets are
set for the employee to work towards, helping them develop in their career.
24. Encourage staff to dress smartly
Even though customers rarely come face to face with call
centre staff, it is important for them to act and look professional at all times. All our staff
must dress smartly. Putting on smart clothes for work puts you in a professional mindset
which can also boost your business confidence and motivation.
Call centre dress codes
25. Introduce colour in the work space
Inspire your staff to work hard and strive for success. Call centres can be bland, so you
can create a more vibrant atmosphere by introducing colour in the work space, using
motivational images and pictures to brighten the area. These little, low-cost
improvements can make a significant impact on your workforce.
You know your staff better than anyone else; if you have new motivational ideas for your
call centre workforce don‟t be afraid to try them. Sometimes the simplest of changes
can make a significant impact on employees‟ working culture and attitude.
Creative Ways to Motivate Employees
How do you motivate your staff when you can't
afford to give them a raise? Use a different kind
of currency. Contrary to popular belief, money
is not the best motivator because it sends the
message that nothing is worth doing unless you
get paid extra. This can develop a sense of
entitlement that quickly becomes a bottomless
pit and does nothing to increase job
A 2005 study by psychologist Adam Grant of
the University of Michigan suggests that a
better performance booster is when workers
have personal contact with beneficiaries of their
work. For example, cafeteria line workers are
significantly happier than those who work back
in the kitchen, because line workers are able to
see the happy customers. An employee's
morale is positively influenced by knowing his
or her work is meaningful.
Employees want to be recognized as
individuals, shown appreciation, and be given
opportunities to grow. This requires bosses to
manage one-on-one rather than treating every
employee alike. Here are some low-cost ideas
for motivating your staff that can have a big
return on investment.
Encourage comments from external and
internal customers. Post praise.
Remind staff how their work matters to
customers and encourage some level of
customer interaction for everyone.
Call an employee into your office just to
say thank you without discussing any
Write a thank you card or e-mail.
Send a card to the employee's
spouse/family thanking them for their
Create an employee newsletter to share
updates and recognition.
Post a bulletin board for employees to
share news, hobbies, and recognition.
Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and
Reserve the best parking spot for an
employee-of-the-month. Let staff decide
how the spot is earned.
Add a note to an employee's paycheck
highlighting something great he/she did
Join in and help an employee who is
under pressure. Ask what can be done
and help complete the task side-by-side.
Create a change of pace by giving
employees a chance to work on exciting
projects or learn new skills.
Delegate worthy projects, not just menial
tasks, to increase feelings of trust and
Create light-hearted awards that
recognize something unique about each
person like, "Best Screen-Saver," or "Best
Joke Teller," and present them at a
Pass on helpful articles that could benefit
employees and attach a note that says,
"Saw this and thought of you."
Learn about their hobbies, families,
children, pets, etc. showing interest in
what matters most to them.
Ask an employee who is proficient in a
certain area to train others, or make a
presentation at a staff meeting.
Book a community speaker to speak on
subjects of interest to employees like
personal finance, stress management, or
Help build skills with a training library
filled with books, tapes, and other
resources that employees can check out.
Allow employees to attend seminars and
ask them to make a presentation to
others sharing what they learned.