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Improving call center agent motivation and morale

Find out how to manage and motivate call center agents to be productive and happy. This chapter includes tips on measuring agent morale, an employee satisfaction survey, causes of low call center morale and ways to improve the overall mood or morale of the call center.

Excerpted with permission from "Managing and Motivating Contact Center Employees" by Malcolm Carlaw, Peggy Carlaw, Vasudha K. Deming and Kurt Friedmann. Published by McGraw-Hill, December, 2002, ISBN 0071428925. ©2003. For more information about this book and similar titles, visit McGraw-Hill. Visit to purchase.

Managing the Mood in Your Contact Center: How to Lift Morale

Why is Morale so Important?

Guidelines to call center morale and motivation

Here's What We Know

  • The manager sets the tone for the entire department.
  • Morale is contagious.
  • Different things motivate different people.
  • Environmental conditions affect morale.
  • Motivations change.
  • There's no magic formula or 100 percent guaranteed approach to creating high morale.
  • Maintaining high morale is as much about caring as it is about caution.
  • When employees' needs are met, they tend to be willing to do what you ask -- and more.
  • Increasing morale makes good business sense.

It's not impossible to have high productivity and decent bottom-line results in an environment where morale is low, but it is unlikely. As you'll see throughout this book, our approach is that you should care about how your call center employees feel, if for no other reason than because it's the right thing to do. But if you're not yet a convert to that way of thinking and that style of management, we've got some other good reasons for you to care about morale.

High morale in a contact center environment can lead to:

  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Lower turnover rates
  • Higher productivity
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Higher ownership of customer concerns
  • Less job-related stress
  • Increased identification with the company's mission
  • Higher customer satisfaction
  • Increased customer loyalty
  • Strong "ambassadorship" (for example, through referrals) from your employees to their family, friends, and acquaintances

It's good for you, it's good for them, it's good for the bottom line. In a survey conducted by David H. Maister, the author of Practice What You Preach, it was found that happy divisions outperformed unhappy ones by as much as 42 percent. What's more, just think of all the time, effort, and expense of hiring and training new call center employees that could be saved if you could just keep your current employees happy!

You Know It When You See It
High morale doesn't necessarily mean an absence of tensions, disagreements, or challenges. These are -- and probably should be -- present in any dynamic working environment. And it doesn't necessarily mean a complaint-free workplace. As we've all experienced at one time or another, complaints are often good ideas having a bad day. The morale of your call center will be conveyed to customers through the words, actions and attitude of your frontline employees.

However, when morale is high, the team invests its time and energy in finding solutions rather than creating problems. Employees show respect for one another even if they disagree. Despite the inevitable challenges of working life, in a high-morale environment employees take pride in what they do and as a result give their best effort. They go the extra mile for the team or for the customer. They look forward to coming to work and they attempt to make the workplace an enjoyable environment for themselves and others.

Read the rest of this excerpt and download Chapter 1: Managing the Mood in Your Contact Center: How to Lift Morale

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