We all want to be happy in our jobs. We all want to feel positive and excited when we wake up to our alarm clock every morning. We all want to feel as if the working day just races by without a single minute spent watching the clock.
Sadly, though, that’s just not the case for many of us. A survey of American workers found 51% feel unengaged by their job, while 16% are described as “actively disengaged,” meaning their dissatisfaction is so potent it can actually affect colleagues’ morale.
This can be a problem in any working environment, but it’s a particular danger in contact centers and customer service departments. Workers who are not feeling motivated are unlikely to deliver the level of customer experience your audience expects, increasing the risk of losing buyers you can’t afford to.
How do you know if demotivation is taking over your customer service operations?
It’s important to recognize the signs of a demotivated customer service team and arm yourself with ways to combat them.
Four Common Signs Of A Demotivated Customer Service Team
As a team leader or admin for a contact center or customer service department, you have a responsibility to stay connected to your team.
Team leaders, in particular, must forge strong bonds with the service agents they oversee everyday. They have to encourage, support and inspire agents to work at their best — and if their team lacks motivation, they need to take action to change that.
Likewise, admins should help team leaders and managers coordinate motivational exercises and strategies, helping to boost engagement and job satisfaction.
Leadership on all levels must watch out for the warning signs of a demotivated customer service team.
Happy workers are more productive than unhappy ones. That’s simple enough to understand: employees engaged by their job will feel driven to stay on-target and achieve goals. Those who feel actively disengaged will do the bare minimum required — or, in extreme cases, not even that.
And they may not even care if that endangers their job security.
Studying productivity trends over a set period, such as a couple of months, will reveal any drops. Ask your quality analysts to watch out for tell-tale patterns using their QA software.
According to Forbes, 81% of employees fake their happiness in the workplace. That means there are a lot of employees who might be feeling down and potentially dragging others down with them.
Demotivated employees could revel in their unhappiness and end up dragging the mood of their colleagues right down to their own level, or even interfering with their productivity.
This will manifest as prolonged complaining, displaying a resentful attitude toward the company and talking to colleagues to keep themselves amused.
One way to deal with a job you hate is to avoid it altogether.
Demotivated employees are more likely to take full advantage of sick days and stay away from the office as often as possible. Obviously, every employee is entitled to their paid time off and should take it whenever they feel they need to or want to.
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However, if they’re using it to escape work due to demotivation or unhappiness, this has to be addressed.
No Interest In Developing Skills
Demotivated employees are unlikely to feel excited by the opportunity to improve their skills and make themselves a more valuable team-member. Even though further training can increase their worth to other businesses and possibly open doors, workers could still turn down the chance.
Training is obviously key to quality assurance, so take note of employees who avoid it or fail to integrate new techniques into their work.
If you spot any or all of these signs of a demotivated customer service team, be prepared to address the root causes. You have to do whatever you can to start preventing demotivation in your contact center by inspiring agents to be better, to be more productive, and — crucially — to deliver the highest standard of customer service they can.
How To Deal With Demotivation
Every business can benefit from trying the following motivation-boosting techniques. Each may prove invaluable in preventing demotivation in your contact center.
Implement A Rewards System and Gamification
Offer employees a tangible reward for a job well done. Their basic salary and pride aren’t enough to inspire workers to give more than the bare minimum.
Implementing a rewards system is easy to do using the right QA software, and allows workers to earn points based on their performance. Recognition badges visualize their achievements and show colleagues how well they’re doing.
This adds an element of gamification to their everyday tasks and makes it easier to track their progress. It inspires a touch of healthy competition too.
Points can be cashed in for a different type of reward after a while, such as tickets to sports events or gigs, snacks, gadgets — anything you know employees will want to earn.
Deliver Constructive Feedback On A Regular Basis
Don’t let your employees feel invisible or like anonymous drones. Team leaders and managers should let them know their work is recognized.
Delivering constructive feedback helps, which is why it’s an essential part of any good quality assurance program. Use scorecards, play recordings of their customer interactions, and discuss the employee’s strengths honestly.
Obviously, you need to address any mistakes and indicate where improvement is needed, but make sure all criticism is constructive. Focus on helping the individual provide stronger customer service and create clear objectives for them to achieve. Agents understand the value of constructive criticism — and they even prefer it to praise. By a three to one margin, respondents in a Harvard Business Review study believe that constructive criticism does more to improve their overall performance than positive feedback.
Call Center Stars
And don’t be shy to get feedback from employees too. Invite them to complete anonymous surveys about their job satisfaction, welcome ideas to improve working processes, and include them in the review process in new and exciting ways. They’ll feel valued, respected, and empowered.
Create Rest And Social Spaces For Downtime
Your workers need a break from time to time — and an hour for lunch isn’t always enough for a long, busy day.
Establish spaces dedicated to relaxing and socializing: fill them with such luxuries as couches, beanbags, air hockey tables, games consoles, snacks. Or if your workforce is remote, create digital spaces to relax: Slack channels, mindfulness apps, and Zoom happy hours. Make sure employees know they can use them at any time.
Don’t impose time limits on them, either. Just trust them to take breaks responsibly.
Tailor Coaching And Training To The Individual
Coaching and training are both critical to an effective quality assurance program and preventing demotivation in your call center. But they must be personalized to each employee.
Generic training sessions delivered to groups are less likely to engage workers than a tailored approach.
Use data gathered through your QA process to determine where the agent needs to improve. Help them understand where they’re going wrong, what they’re doing right and how focusing on both will create a better customer experience.
Again, this ties in well with a rewards system, as employees know working to a better standard means more “prizes.”
Give Employees Visibility
Finally, combat demotivation by integrating a QA software that helps employees monitor their own performance and progress.
With Playvox, they’ll have access to important data via a user-friendly dashboard. They can study scorecards, feedback, coaching information and more as they see fit. This helps guide their growth and makes improving their customer service skills much easier.
Being able to view their karma points, recognition badges, and the rewards they’re on-track to earn will serve as ongoing inspiration to work harder. They’re great ways to continue preventing demotivation in your contact center.
Demotivation can be a big problem in your contact center or customer service department. Workers feeling disengaged and frustrated by their job may never achieve their full potential, or could even affect the productivity of others. As their negativity spreads, your customers are likely to notice a drop in the quality of their experience over time.
Follow the tips covered above to help motivate your employees in simple but effective ways. Keep your quality assurance program focused on evaluating performance, preventing demotivation in your contact center and driving improvements consistently.
What do you do to motivate your employees? How have you tackled demotivation in the past? Let us know in the comment section below!