Working in a contact center can sometimes become a boring or tedious job. Often times I’m asked about ideas to make the job less monotonous while engaging employees. Here is an updated list of ideas from my book “Contact Center Ideas” which you can buy here. Enjoy!
10. Accurate Staffing and Forecasting.
Boredom in the call center may be a direct result of an inaccurate forecast and schedule. Over staffing can lead to high “available” time causing the agent to face very large “gaps” between calls. This may also have a negative effect on the agents who may be understaffed during other shifts, resulting in burnout or turnover. Workforce management tools can help you manage the “art” of effective forecasting and scheduling.
9. Continuous Training.
Typically an agent receives initial training at the beginning of their career, with an organization that prepares them for the “basics” of their job. Offering continuous training allows an employee to acquire additional sales, technical, and customer service skills. With the advent of web-based training, you can now deliver training to the agent’s desktop during slow times. You can also schedule on-line training as part of your normal scheduling process.
8. Cross-Training/Career Pathing.
Employees often think the grass is greener on the other side. And, sometimes it is! If you have multiple departments within your organization, organize a career pathing or cross-training program to allow your employees an opportunity to discover other jobs within the company. Let them rotate through sales, customer service, collections and technical support. Creating “manager in training” is also a great idea for reducing boredom, identifying future managers for your centers and improving employee retention.
7. Schedule and Conduct Regular Meetings.
Whether its impromptu or scheduled, individual or group, employee meetings are a necessity in the fast pace world of call centers. Consistent meetings will allow you to help the employees understand the company’s mission and vision. Scheduling time to discuss the agent’s needs, life events and career goals is also a “must do”!
6. Implement a Contest.
All work and no play make any environment a boring place to work. So, why not add a little excitement, plus an added boost in performance, by implementing a contest in your call center? Create goals for individuals or teams that are aligned with your business objectives. Survey your staff for ideas and create a theme for the contest (Olympics, sports, adventure…the sky, and your staff’s creativity, is the limit!) In most cases the increased productivity or sales that result in a contest will justify really cool prizes for the winners.
5. Do Something Silly!
Give out ice cream. Dress up like a clown. Run around with a video camera interviewing your agents. Do something silly with the dress code such as ugly sweatshirt day, ugly shoes day or silly hat day. Put on your creative cap and stamp out boredom!
4. Ask Your Agents
If you want to improve something for your employees, ask them for suggestions. Tell them you want to create a fun work environment and see what suggestions may arise. You may have some of the best boredom busters created during those brainstorming sessions. Consider creating a committee of employees that will focus on specific agent issues. Make sure the group is representative of your “good” agents and your “need to improve” agents.
3. Create an Internal Newsletter.
Being informed can also help eliminate boredom in a job. If people know “why?” – they are more willing to support the mission, vision, and values of their company. A newsletter can be a great way to accomplish this. Ask for volunteers to contribute to the writing of the newsletter. Combine work issues and concerns as well as silly commentary to just add laughter to the center. This can be a great source for training, management interviews, spotlights on other departments, and employee recognition.
2. Special Projects
Find ways to allow people to do other things to help the call center. It can be as simple as creating decorations for the call center during holidays or special occasions, or as complex as piloting a new customer service training class.
1. Interact with Staff
MBWA is not a new concept but –“Managing By Walking Around” is very effective! Take the opportunity to sit with your staff whenever possible. Do side by side observations and maybe even take a few calls yourself. If you aren’t interacting with your team, you may never know if the work environment is boring.
I’d love to hear your ideas. Send me a note!
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Scott O. Thomas
Senior Partner @ TPC
Customers @ Your Service!