Contact centers revolve around human-to-human interaction. Leadership and communication are crucial to success in the contact center industry. Motivating and equipping employees—particularly supervisors—is one of the key elements in building a successful, thriving workplace. Failing to address the most important needs of workers all the way down the command chain can cause lagging morale. I can also cause poor productivity, which in turn can cause the entire operation to become unsustainable. It is therefore important t address morale, execution, and performance in contact centers.
If your frontline employees and supervisors are falling behind, the problem is ultimately a structural one, not a personal one. Finding out the root causes of the problems impeding success is the first step to making positive change in your workplace. So what are some of the most common obstacles to contact center success? Let’s find out…
Systems of reward and recognition
This element affects morale, execution, and performance in contact centers more than any other. While employees and supervisors should see their jobs as more than just a way to make a living, making sure that they are satisfied with their compensation is one way to seriously boost morale, which can translate to productivity.
Aside from (or in addition to) monetary compensation, however, those who do outstanding work can be rewarded in other ways. Simply recognizing employees who have done something exceptional lets them know that you are aware of the work they do, and appreciative when they go above and beyond. As HR experts everywhere recognize, a little bit of praise and honest admiration can go a long way.
Alternatively, employees who are not recognized for good work not only give up fairly quickly on exceeding expectations but can even become too complacent if they feel that no one is keeping track of what they do. If they are not getting attention for doing better than average, will someone really take note if they do a little less than average?
This is obviously a major problem for both morale and general productivity, so it should not be taken lightly.
Training Improves Morale, Execution, and Performance in Contact Centers
Much of the time, managers assume that those who elevate to supervisor positions either know the ropes of leadership already or are intuitive enough to figure it out on the fly. This can be a crucial mistake. Failing to provide frontline leaders with the appropriate training to handle not only the practical aspects of contact center supervision but also the human aspects of directing a team, can damage both the productivity of workers, who are directed in less than efficient ways and morale if they feel that their superiors are not on the same page as them.
Training for the practical implementation of the job (hard skills) tends to be the focus of most training programs. This makes sense because employees need to know how to do their jobs. However, soft skills can be particularly important in a contact center setting. This is because interpersonal communication characterizes both employee-customer interaction and employer-employee interaction. Guiding contact center supervisors in a fast-paced and diverse environment can be a key to general workplace harmony.
Helpful tip: Make the onboarding process for new supervisors as simple and clear as possible, making sure to allow ample time for questions, real-time practice, and soft-skills training.
Ask the supervisors: Do you feel that you were given adequate training for your current position? If not, how can we help bring you up to speed?
Tools and information affect morale execution and performance in contact centers
When it comes to preparation and execution of contact center operations, making sure that your supervisors have the right tools to evaluate the work of employees and the general state of the contact center’s operations can be vital. Think about it: how can supervisors solve problems that they don’t know exist?
Real-time performance intelligence and agent support systems are some of the most important factors that determine the success or failure of contact center leaders. Understanding the benefits of common software used for these purposes and implementing the right one for your specific situation can help everyone in the contact center.
Helpful tip: Find the right management/information software and tools to help supervisors evaluate performance and make adjustments where necessary.
Ask the supervisors: Do you feel that you have the right tools to complete day to day operations without problems? What tools would make performance evaluation easier and clearer?
Putting it all together
All of these factors work together in addressing morale, execution, and performance in a contact center setting. Morale plays a big part in the execution of tasks, which in turn determines the overall performance of the center. Understanding how to support employees and supervisors in each one of these steps will ensure that the process runs smoothly. This means success in the workplace and satisfaction for employees and customers alike.
- Helpful tip: Make the expectations for reward and penalty clear, and implement them evenly and regularly.- Click to Tweet
- Employees are far more likely to do a good job when they are sure to be rewarded, and far less likely to fall below expectations when they know for sure it will be noticed.- Click to Tweet
- Ask the supervisors: Do you feel that you are rewarded for good work? Are there clear guidelines for rewarding good behavior among rank-and-file employees?- Click to Tweet
Jim Rembach is the Editor in Chief of the Customer Service Weekly and it’s Podcast host. He is President of CX Global Media and the creator of the Call Center Coach Virtual Leaders Academy. As the host of the Fast Leader Show Podcast, he has interviewed hundreds of experts, authors, academics, researchers, and practitioners on various angles, viewpoints, and perspectives for improving the customer experience. He has held positions in retail operations, contact centers, customer support, customer success, sales, and measured the customer experience. He is a certified Emotional Intelligence practitioner, Employee Retention Specialist, and recipient of numerous industry awards.