Working from home is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. Stick to these call center management best practices to ensure your employees remain engaged.
No matter how accustomed to remote working many people have become over the past several years, the reality is that motivating teams from a distance is an ongoing challenge, one that must be considered and continuously re-evaluated. And with the future of in-person work uncertain, it’s especially important to implement call center management best practices that address this remote condition (if you haven’t already).
There’s a lot of research out there—both pre-pandemic and currently—that suggests employees are more productive when working from home. However, at least one study indicates that managers see their employees as more productive than the employees see themselves. Then there’s the overall engagement of employees, which sits at a mere 34% (though that’s the highest it’s been since Gallup began reporting the statistic in 2000).
This data suggests that while there is potential for more productivity with remote workers, it’s unlikely to happen without executing strategic call center management best practices. In other words, motivation comes from the top.
If you don’t have a plan in place or you’re looking to amend one, these call center management best practices are an excellent place to start!
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Call center management best practices that will move you and your team forward
1. Communicate like you’ve never communicated before
Regular check-ins with your remote teams are a must for keeping employees motivated. We recommend weekly one-to-ones with your direct reports and also at least one weekly team meeting. In addition, communication tools like Slack and Zoom can help bridge the gap left behind by a remote setup. Keeping in touch regularly with your employees is critical to their success.
A word of caution: Communication is a carrot, not a stick. If your employees feel as though you’re checking in to make sure that they’re staying on task, they’re likely to become less motivated. Instead, frame communications as opportunities to collaborate. Take a few minutes to check in on a personal as well as professional level. This will help employees feel empowered and cared for, which should lead to stronger motivation.
2. Lead by example
If you don’t come across as motivated, your employees may not see a need to be so themselves. All call center management best practices need to be embodied by a business’s leaders before most employees will buy in. Demonstrate strength, confidence, and optimism, and those qualities will likely trickle down into your employee population, even if they’re not in the same room with you.
3. Invest in resources
Never before have there been so many resources for remote workers. Cloud-based platforms like Call Logic allow people to work from the same database without connecting to a server or other in-office equipment. We’ve already mentioned Slack for quick communication as well as Zoom for face-to-face meetings and collaboration. There are tools out there to help manage calendars, automate email and other tasks, and track goals, among many other things. If employees have what they need to do their jobs, they’re more likely to sink their teeth in.
4. Conduct performance reviews
People like to know how they’re doing at their jobs. Too often, we call out mistakes without making an effort to address success. Conducting semi-annual performance reviews goes a long way in motivating employees. These reviews shouldn’t replace regular, ongoing feedback, but they do give you a chance to formally catch-up on what’s working, what isn’t, and what should happen moving forward.
5. Hold virtual events
All work and no play isn’t good for any business. Virtual happy hours and other social events are an integral part of call center management best practices. They allow employees to connect and be their authentic selves even when they’re far apart. The more connected coworkers feel, the more likely they are to be motivated as individuals. (Not to mention virtual events will show that leadership cares, which is another primary motivator.)
6. Celebrate wins publicly
When someone does something well, call it out to the entire team via email, Slack, or a team meeting. It doesn’t have to be a big deal; merely acknowledging success in a public way will likely empower someone who’s doing well to continue doing so, while also motivating those who may be struggling.
7. Convey a sense of purpose
Call center management best practices should also include giving each employee a sense of purpose. When people feel there is meaning in what they do, they’re more likely to work harder at it. Don’t assume that everyone feels the same sense of purpose. Have open discussions with employees about how their contributions are critical to the success of your business as well as your customers.
8. Allow for autonomy
Studies have shown that autonomy can significantly improve employee motivation as well as productivity. Simply put, when people are treated as responsible adults, most of them will act like responsible adults. Allowing autonomy is particularly daunting in a remote world, but the reality is that good workers don’t need high levels of supervision. And if someone is only “motivated” because they think they’re being watched, that person will likely underperform. Genuine motivation is harder to come by when employees feel that they’re simply cogs in a machine.
9. Be flexible
The last of our remote call center management best practices is closely related to autonomy. Strict working hours of 9-5 don’t make sense in a remote world. Instead, set 9-5 as standard operating hours, but allow employees to adjust their schedules to meet their needs. They still need to attend meetings and such, but if someone wants to do their data entry work at 7 pm, what difference does it make? Besides, things may come up throughout the day for all of us to deal with. Allowing for flexible hours will likely enhance employee motivation.
Remember, when it comes to motivating your team, sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference.
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