The role of a call centre operator can often be stereotyped as monotonous and requiring little skill. Yet, most call centre operatives are very adept, simultaneously controlling complicated computer systems and delivering excellent customer service.
Call centres have one of the highest rates of staff turnover when compared with other industries, due to low wages, feeling undervalued and dealing with demanding customers. The constant cost of recruiting and training causes huge financial strain for companies, as well as the additional costs of retaining existing employees by paying them incentives and commission.
Many businesses are outsourcing their customer contact centres to cheaper foreign markets, such an India, to cut costs. Yet, this comes at the expense of longer wait times and an overall poorer customer experience. A report by Forrester claims that 89% of customers will abandon your company if they experience bad customer service, so do you want to run that risk?
Companies often use outstanding customer service to differentiate themselves from the competition. Invest in your employees and create a culture change in the call centre environment to ensure longer staff turnover, greater job satisfaction and happier customers.
Here are 6 simple ideas to boost call centre morale.
Create experts, not employees
Research published by American Express showed that 26% of consumers have experienced being transferred from operator to operator because they didn’t know how to solve their problem.
People always enjoy things they are good at. Start on the right foot by providing in-depth training for all your new starters so they feel confident with their abilities when they are on the phone.
Continue this support by offering individual coaching sessions throughout their first few months on the floor and keep reinforcing the idea that you will always support them. Employees that feel empowered will be more inclined to go the extra mile for customers, rather than shying away because they are unsure of what they are saying.
Include employees in the bigger picture
Answering copious amounts of negative calls can often lead employees to feel like they are being blamed for the faults of the people sitting in an unreachable glass tower. Inviting staff to attend short meetings every couple of days can make them feel like they are part of the bigger picture. Include company news, goals and ask them for suggestions on how to improve efficiency. You’ll be surprised how much positive feedback you will receive from these sessions and you will learn some new ideas too.
Invest in new technology
Sometimes, call centre operatives are unable to efficiently solve a query due to disconnected systems, slow internet connections and multiple applications.
There is nothing worse than being midway through a call when your computer freezes and loses all the customer’s information, which is frustrating for the customer having to repeat themselves and uncomfortable for the operator being unfairly blamed.
Invest in new computers and systems to make your employees feel like they are operating on an efficient and reliable machine. This will increase both customer and employee satisfaction as it will minimise waiting and call times.
Have social lunches
It is important for staff to get away from their phones and take regular breaks to relax.
Despite talking on the phone all day, call centres can be very unsociable places as there is rarely any time between calls to chat to colleagues. While staff should be working rather than talking all day, it is extremely important that people get the chance to socialise with their friends at lunch and break times. Wherever possible, schedule people’s lunches and breaks at the same time as their friends, so they get a chance to de-stress and have some fun.
Encourage success, not targets
Of course your main goal is to drive sales, but often having targets plastered in front of your employees’ desks can be demotivating as it makes them feel under pressure.
Rather than displaying targets around the office, discuss performance goals in weekly progress meetings. Put emphasis on the customer experience rather than sales figures, a lot of customers feel pressure to buy from sales pitches and end up returning the items anyway. If staff are particularly struggling to meet targets, provide them with support, and discuss different sales techniques they could use.
Promote opportunities from within
For many people, working in a call centre is a “stop gap” before pursuing higher career goals.
You need to ensure that your employees feel they are pursuing a valuable career path rather than being stuck in a dead end job. Promoting agents for managerial and head office roles is a great way to keep employees motivated and focus them on improving their performance. It also shows that you value your staff over any external candidates.
Phil Foster, CEO of Love Energy Savings, has years of experience creating an efficient and enjoyable contact centre experience. The Love Energy Savings contact centre has been praised for its professional and excellent approach to customer service and staff are regularly complimented for their knowledge and attitude to solving queries.