The typical call center has a less than stellar reputation. Operators complain of rude and abusive customers, unsatisfactory working conditions, monotonous job tasks, poor compensation, restrictive work practices, being closely scrutinized by management and many other things that are just the tip of the iceberg.

Given the high stress environment, it’s not surprising why morale is poor and attrition rates are high. Managers often have to deal with the issue of improving employee motivation and job satisfaction. Agents have strict rules and standards to adhere to, and when the time comes for a meeting with their team leader, they immediately assume the worst.

In many instances, team leaders hold coaching sessions with agents to point out their problem areas and the things that need improvement. The problem lies in the way that the information is said; it’s not as if agents will do better just because you told them to. Specific and detailed instructions should be given for them to know the steps they have to take.

Arguably the easiest yet most neglected problem to fix in a call center agent is the lack of acknowledgement from the superiors. Operators who perform well are seldom given due attention. Team leaders devote more of their time to berating sub-par members while top agents are hardly given any credit. Holding contests to motivate their team is one way to improve the situation, but this doesn’t always work.

In some facilities, the threat of punishment or being sacked is the main motivating factor. However, the easiest way to spark a fire in a call center agent’s heart is through recognition. Being given credit for a job well done, making them feel valued and that they’re a part of something bigger, listening to their ideas; all these will make them work harder. Employees want to know that they greatly contribute to the center’s success.

Fear and threats don’t always work. Due to poor practices, agents simply feel like they’re drones; mindless cogs in a machine where no one cares who they are. In addition to the stressful environment, this is one of the main causes of attrition. A good mission and vision coupled with effective communication and recognition will always yield a happy call center agent. Expect the best from them, and you’ll get paid excellence in return.

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