It’s the most wonderful time of the year — and the busiest. Forty percent of all businesses say call volume increases by as much as 70 percent during the Christmas period. This could leave your call center agents overwhelmed.
Increased call demand can soon ruin any festive cheer during the holidays. Overworked, overstressed call center agents can soon feel the pressure, and this will impact overall morale and productivity in your organization.
There is a solution to this problem, however. Incentivizing your call agents in the run-up to Christmas will result in happier, more productive employees, and you will be able to fulfill your call handling objectives without breaking a sweat.
Create an Incentive Strategy
The first thing you need to do is to implement a proper incentive program — strategies that encourage call agents to change their behavior at this time of the year. You can do this by engaging with your employees and asking them what would incentivize them during the holidays.
At first, you’ll probably get answers like “A new car,” but dig deeper, and you’ll agree on realistic rewards that will motivate employees.
“To truly motivate your call center agents, make sure your program is clearly defined and attainable,” says ExecVision. “You want to set your agents up for success; otherwise, your incentives could hurt morale and affect the customer experience.”
Rewards usually fall into the following categories:
Handing out cash when call agents meet particular sales targets in the run-up to Christmas, for example. Most agents will probably prefer to receive money, but there could be tax implications when giving cash to employees, though, so do your research.
Handing out physical prizes to agents will keep them working hard during the holidays. You will need to decide on the type of prizes you will offer, but some examples include gift cards, bottles of wine, perfume, and chocolate. The type of prizes you offer — and how many prizes you offer — will all depend on your budget and how much you want to spend on employee incentivisation.
Office perks will incentivize call agents who want to succeed in your organization. You might give an employee control over a project in exchange for meeting his or her sales targets, for example. Other perks include extended lunch breaks, time off work, or even allowing employees to bring in pets to work (if you feel comfortable with this).
Sometimes, you don’t need to reward employees with physical gifts. Recognition for a job well done can go a long — as long as it’s authentic. Research shows that 82 percent of employees think it’s better to receive praise than a gift. Moreover, most employees prefer recognition in the form of an award or certificate. Other ways to recognize your agents include “Employee of the Week,” where you can feature a valuable agent on your website or social media pages.
Host Team-Building Exercises
People work better in a team — and there’s science to back this up. Research confirms that when people work together, it boosts creativity, engagement, communication, and productivity. Hosting team-building exercises, therefore, can incentivize your employees at this time of the year.
Consider the following:
- Competitions: Host competitions where sales agents receive a reward for the most sales or taking the most calls in a day
- Team Work: Encourage agents to communicate more effectively in-between calls for greater outcomes.
- Raffles: Ask agents to buy raffle tickets and draw a prize at the end of the week.
Whatever you decide to do, advertise your team-building strategies on social media so everyone knows about them. You can also ask employees to contact you via email if they have suggestions or feedback.
Invest in More Training
You can’t incentivize employees if you lack the skills to engage with them properly. Investing in better training at the start of the festive season will help you and your call center agents achieve your goals.
Brushing up on your communication skills, for example, will allow you to interact with agents and provide them with the support they need. (This can reduce staff attrition rates, which spike after the holidays.)
You should also train your agents so they become more productive. Do this in the following ways:
- Pair top sales performers with agents who need a little more assistance.
- Ask your employees what motivates them — and do what you can to make this happen.
- Provide financial bonuses that correspond with milestone goals.
“It’s really easy for a salesperson to feel like a lone wolf. Creating a company-wide incentive will align everyone to do the work that is most likely to help the whole company succeed,” Aaron Schwartz from Modify Watches told Inc.com.
Remember, the happier your agents are, the better they will perform at work during the holidays. Company loyalty and happiness can make or break your work environment at this time of the year. Follow the tips above and incentivize your call center agents today!