January 17, 2020

Five Ways to Engage Your Call Center Staff

We like to give our readers actionable items that they can use in their own centers, not just click-bait stuff that we all probably already know. With that in mind, here are some actual ways to engage your call center associates, to make them feel part of the bigger team. It gives them a say in what is happening, which increases the morale on the floor and builds trust. Really, it helps to keep the positive culture that we strive for. 

Create a Call Center Leadership Group

Among this group, call center happenings can be discussed. Having a group like this available will allow reps on the floor, and their supervisors, to know who they can go to with questions or concerns, such as a request for a new vending machine or a complaint that a particular issue is causing some headaches and needs to be addressed.

For a 300-500 seat center, you might want to create a group of 5-7 people for this. You could choose group members through seniority, or any other method that works for the type of call center you have. Your group facilitator should be a member of upper-management, who can take the information given and actually do something with it.  This should also be someone who has already been engaged with the group members; someone who is already trusted and respected.

Use Your Middle Management Knowledge

The number one user of your technology from a telephony standpoint is your supervisory and middle-management teams. Other departments are looking at the tech, too; but, the supervisors and middle-management are using the technology day-in and day-out. As they are using the tech and experimenting with it daily, they develop their own really cool ways to use it that you probably don’t know about.  It’s great to get the supervisors and middle-management together every couple of months for a “Tech Summit.” This meeting is where we can learn these new methods of use. Open the meeting with a question: How do you use this particular piece of tech? What are some reports that you really like and have found to be helpful? Is anyone using this particular workforce management tool?

If you learn that only one or two people are using something, it may show the need for more training on it. On the opposite end, you may learn that they are using a certain piece of technology in a way that is new and useful.  With these meetings, you round out the knowledge spectrum of your entire supervisory staff while also learning what does or does not work.  As upper-management, we do not use the tech day-to-day, not with the same skill sets as the reps on the floor. Engaging middle-management in this way is great for keeping the lines of communication open. They seem to enjoy teaching us new things, too. 

Create Call Center Committees

Representatives from the call center floor are not often part of the supervisory group, but they could be part of another committee that is geared especially towards them.  We’ve talked about games that are played on the floor previously.  Reps from the call center could be part of the committee that creates and decides which games will be played.  You could even be like The Office and create a Party Committee.  This group would be great to help plan rewards and incentives and would tie in nicely with the Games Committee. 

An Equipment Committee can be really valuable.  One of the biggest mistakes upper management makes is to change a piece of equipment with no input from those who will be using it.  If the new item is hated, the culture you have worked so hard to build will go downhill fast, so rep buy-in for the new items is a must. Having a committee to go to when you want to buy a new headset is useful.  It may be cheaper, but the committee can tell you that the sample you gave them is uncomfortable which will lead to disgruntled reps and wasted money.

Use Social Media to Engage!

How does your company use its social media? Consider dedicating one of your social media assets strictly to employee engagement. For Expivia, our private Facebook group (not the business page) has nothing to do with selling, commercials, or really even promoting the brand.  It is specifically there to engage our employees. It is home to pictures from the call center, information about games, and as a way to build camaraderie. It is a great way to keep everyone happily engaged, but it is also something we can show our clients–like, this is the team that works for us, look at how much they enjoy what they do.

Recently, we had a Water Pong tournament–yes, it’s just like the other kind of Pong, but work-place friendly. With this tournament, the winners received $150 each and a vacation day; second place got a vacation day, so everyone wanted to win. We used Facebook Live to stream the tournament to TVs in the call center for those who couldn’t leave the floor. Being able to watch the competition, even if they couldn’t cheer on their friends in person, was still a great way to promote that positive culture. 

Rotate Management Trainees/Reps into other Departments

All of our management trainees have to take a week or two in another department.  They work in Client Services, IT, Quality Assurance, etc. They get to find out about all the different facets of the company and how their piece of the pie fits into other areas. It is important to have reps do this, too. We try to keep one rep in each department at any time. Having a rep in the QA department is a great experience for them.  They get to see firsthand how monitoring and scoring are done. They are then able to explain to reps on the floor that the QA team isn’t out to get them–they are just following a checklist regarding call quality to make sure the reps are hitting certain markers on each call. 

We also use “Supervisor for a Day.”  We will run some sort of motivator with the reps and whoever wins the motivation gets off of the floor and shadows their supervisor for the day.  They go through the whole day together, from the morning meeting to QA checks and monitoring. It allows them to see exactly what a person in that supervisory role does. If the motivator was based on quality, chances are the person who wins is someone you were already looking at for a possible supervisory or a management trainee program. “Supervisor for a Day” is a good way to not only gauge their interest but to also get a feeling if they are the right person for a job that might be coming open in the future.

Employees and middle-management want to be engaged with you while also feeling like they have been heard. All five of these ideas are ways to do just that.  Feeling heard keeps your culture positive, which keeps your turnover rate lower, your quality higher, and your customer experience gets better.

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