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A customer’s satisfaction depends solely on the mindset of the call center employee. The American Customer Satisfaction Index poll has shown a customer satisfaction score of around 73%. With customer engagement becoming more important and dynamic, an employee needs a motivational booster for call center excellence. 

According to a study, 47% of call center managers believe that one of the biggest issues they face is the higher call center attrition rate, stressing the need to keep the agents engaged and motivated. 

So, if you are looking for ways to motivate employees in a call center to meet business targets and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), go through our following sections as we delve into a few call center motivation ideas you can use to keep your call center agents motivated and happy.

How to motivate employees in call center: 15 proven ways

As per the size and scope of your call center business, you can use all or any of the following ideas for motivating call center employees.

1. Foster non-task engagements

Most call center businesses prevent their agents from engaging in activities unrelated to their tasks in the workplace. And that’s counterproductive. As it prevents the agents from interacting with their colleagues, sharing ideas, or even having some lighthearted laughs.

These activities are crucial for your employees to build bonds and ease their minds during stressful work. Prohibiting them from these engagements could make it harder for your agents to perform well.

Here are a few things you can do to foster non-task engagement between call center agents:

  • Establish virtual coffee breaks for the agents at regular intervals for a few minutes for them to interact with each other online.
  • Organize small games and contests in which agents can participate. This will also ease their mind from the stress of continuous calls or customer chats.
  • Give responsibilities to experienced agents to assist newcomers in the team. This will make them more excited to work.

As a manager, your job is not just about getting the work done anyhow. It is about leading your team to success by motivating and supporting them during times of doubt, challenges, stress, etc.

If your only concern is metrics and agent performance, you are setting up your team for burnout. And once that happens, they will quit. Therefore, encourage your agents to have spontaneous, genuine communications and engagements at the workplace. And you will see the performance picking up.

2. Recognize contributions and encourage them

Understanding the contributions of your call center agents and rewarding them for the same is an excellent way to motivate employees to work better.

Rewards are historically crucial for professionals, as explained in Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs theory. The need to be recognized and rewarded is among the most important ones for humans.

An example of what you can do is given below:

Select a ‘Best Performer of the Week/Month/Quarter’ based on various KPIs, such as upsells, compliance to parameters, client appreciation calls, etc.

Host an annual rewards and appreciation event to honor the best-performing agents, teams, managers, etc., and create a sense of growth and recognition in the employees.

Create different categories of awards to include everyone from newcomers, seniors, managers, etc., in different categories of performance like customer satisfaction, sales, highest number of calls, shortest hold period, etc. 

As a call center manager, you can cater to these basic needs of the employees and motivate them to work harder and better. It will also encourage others to perform well, too.

3. Invest in employee learning and growth programs

Every employee wants to acquire skills and grow in their career.

They may not have the time or the financial resources to do that all by themselves. And if you can invest in your employee’s growth and arrange for upskilling sessions, training programs, or masterclasses, your agents will be motivated to work better and more efficiently.

Here are a few ways to do this:

  • Host seminars or workshops for your agents to improve their communication and problem-solving skills.
  • Associate with leading institutes to offer subsidized or free certification programs for agents.

When you take an interest in helping your agents learn and grow, they will become more committed to your causes and goals. That’s more than enough to create dedicated, happy employees. And they will be motivated to work harder.

By investing in your employees’ growth, you can reap 10x the benefits from them, as they know that you take care of them well.

4. Support autonomy in decision-making

In customer service, agents need to make decisions quickly on the call itself. It is a skill that your agents must develop over a period of time to provide the best available solution to the customers.

And agents do this best when they are given the autonomy to do so. While you can still provide broader workflows and describe agents' responsibilities, limiting employees to scripts and rigid guidelines is counterintuitive.

This can make agents disinterested in work, as they are not allowed to innovate or improvise call center interactions.

Here is an example of how you can provide autonomy to your agents.

If you have sales targets for agents, give them the autonomy to offer free trials to the callers at their discretion.

When your agents are given autonomy to work based on customer interactions, they will be more motivated to work.

And it will reflect on the quality of customer experience and interactions.

5. Provide flexibility in working

Flexibility is an integral part of the modern workplace. Whether it is a call center business or not, your employees, especially Gen Z and millennials, expect the workplace to be highly flexible based on their requirements.

They expect the business to understand their lifestyle and enable them to work accordingly. And they value businesses that offer them such flexibility.

When businesses respond positively to the demands of the agents, they will be more than willing to work hard and meet your business goals.

On the other hand, if you are rigid with working hours and want every agent to be working from your facility, you will ultimately alienate employees gradually. This will lead to higher levels of employee dissatisfaction and attrition.

And that’s something you don’t want to happen in your business.

Here are a few things you can do to offer flexible schedules to your agents:

  • Provide work-from-home options if the agents request for it.
  • Allow your agents to talk leaves when needed.
  • Ask for schedule preferences from agents before scheduling the next week’s roster.

All these will also help you reduce employee attrition and absenteeism.

6. Create a positive work environment

Creating a positive work setting that’s safe and comfortable is increasingly important for call center agent performance. An encouraging work setting will make the employees feel more connected to the organizations they work at.

An open and welcoming work culture stems from honest communication, flexible work conditions, adequate paid leaves, and other fringe benefits.

You can do the following to make your workplace more positive:

  • Improve team bonding with gamification and similar team-building activities.
  • Support teams that are under stress with diverse training programs, activities sessions, team dinners, etc.
  • Indulge your agents in activities like chess, puzzles, and other indoor games.

7. Encourage agents to communicate openly

Your work environment must be inviting for the agents to give their best. It is the responsibility of the employer or manager to build such an atmosphere in the workplace.

When there is an open atmosphere in the workplace for everyone to talk openly and share ideas, it creates a sense of belonging among the employees. It also helps the business understand the expectations of the employees and provide them with what they need.

As employees feel that they can openly communicate and be heard, they are naturally inclined to be more dedicated to the organization.

Here are a few things you can do:

  • Ask for suggestions from agents about the improvements they expect to see in the workplace or the challenges they expect to resolve.
  • Create a suggestion box and install it at the workplace. Encourage employees to add suggestions anonymously and implement the best ones.

8. Set SMART goals and communicate

Some businesses make their goals unrealistic or generic. These results are harder for their employees to relate to. That’s why you need to set up SMART goals for your call center.

You need to set up goals that are SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Instead of setting one huge long-term goal, you can break the goal up into smaller pieces that are easy to communicate and achieve. These goals will also feel achievable by your call center agents, and they will work toward them.

Show them a long-term, colossal goal; they will give up right at the beginning. Setting up SMART goals is one of the wisest call center motivation ideas.

An example of a long-term goal is:

Improve the quality of calls

On the other hand, a SMART goal is:

  • Reduce the average call handling time (AHT) by 15% over the next six months

9. Treat employees how you treat your customers

Many businesses fail to understand that their employees are as essential to the business as the customers are. This is a huge mistake you must be smart to avoid. Your call center agents are the face of your business. That’s who your customers will interact with.

Hence, your customers’ experiences—bad or good—are not with your agents but with you in spirit. Therefore, do everything you can to treat your agents well.

Treat them well and with dignity. Create an environment that’s fun and exciting to work in. Be gentle with them. Mistakes can happen, and when things get out of hand, understand them. Handhold them to grow and become better.

And if you take care of your agents, you can be sure they will take care of your customers.

Some of the ways to treat your call center agents better are:

  • Take them on lunches and dinners at the expense of the company.
  • Provide them with free snacks and coffee at the workplace.
  • Go on vacations with your agents to exotic resorts and restaurants.
  • Provide discounts and coupons to employees to take their families to theme parks like Disneyland.

10. Create a rewards and recognition system

Having a great rewards and recognition system boosts your employee morale. Your employees feel valued when they are recognized for their hard work and appreciated for it. And this enhances their self-image, which will also motivate them to work better and more productively.

There are diverse ways you can reward your employees for a great job done:

  • Pay them incentives
  • Give them certificates of appreciation
  • Celebrate their success within the company
  • Share the experience on company social media
  • Appreciate them in front of the rest of the employees

This not only motivates them to work hard, but it also encourages others to follow suit. And the result is a great team that overachieves for you.

11. Encourage employees to build careers with you

Many call center agents consider their job as a transitional gig. And that approach to call center jobs needs to change if you need your team to perform better.

You can do this by motivating your team to look at the job as a career with growth opportunities rather than a temporary hustle.

Talk to and educate them about career opportunities in the call center industry. Let them know that there are opportunities if they are willing to learn and grow. Offer them upskilling opportunities to expand their skill sets.

Here are a few ways you can do this in your organization:

  • Associate with leading colleges and institutes to offer discounted/free courses to your employees.
  • Provide financial aid to those who are already pursuing higher education programs.
  • Offer flexible schedules to those who are juggling between work, education, and family.

This will further enable them to look for higher-level jobs in your organization. When you show interest in their growth within the organization, the agents will also be inclined to pay back in performance.

12. Promote your employees instead of external hiring

No call center agent wants to be in the same position for years to come. They all aspire to grow, reach top heights, and lead teams. And if there are openings in your organizations, consider your agents for promotions first.

The advantages of such a strategy are numerous. It will help you:

  • Hire someone who has a solid history of high performance
  • Pick a person who already knows your organization well
  • Reduce the cost of hiring to a great extent
  • Invest less time and effort to train them
  • Motivate others to work hard for promotion

When your agents know there are opportunities for growth within the organization, they will be naturally motivated to perform better.

You can do the following to promote internal hiring and motivate your employees:

  • Create a list of high-performing and qualified agents and communicate the same to the recruitment team.
  • Announce any job opportunities internally first to encourage agents to apply for the role if they meet the requirements.

13. Improve your training and coaching style

Call centers spend a lot of money on training and coaching their agents. And you may be doing the same, as well.

If you are not seeing the results that you expect in your agent performance or customer experience metrics, there is something fundamentally wrong with your approach.

It is time to look within and evaluate your coaching and training style. You may be training all your agents—newcomers, experienced agents, low-performing agents—similarly. If so, you need to adopt different training strategies fitting your agents.

You can do the following:

  • Experiment with different training styles, like virtual training, on-site training, gamification in training, etc.
  • Ask your agents how they like to be trained and what their preferred training methods are.
  • Put your employees into groups based on their experience, skill sets, performance, etc.

And then build a suitable strategy based on these pools. Personalized training will surely motivate your employees and encourage them to work harder.

14. Check your leadership behavior

Evaluate your leadership style at work. Are you someone who encourages and motivates your team to work freely? Or are you a leader who’s more controlling or dominant?

If your style happens to be the latter, you need to rethink your strategy. If you need to motivate your agents to deliver the best customer experience, it is crucial for you to let them be creative and inventive at work.

You can learn about your leadership style using the following:

  • Conduct surveys to understand what your agents would like the organization to improve.
  • Carry out a 360-degree survey to learn about where you are performing well and where you are not as an employer. Based on the survey, try to improve.
  • Provide training to your supervisors, team leads, managers, etc., to improve their leadership skills.

Based on your learning, make changes. Create an environment where agents can work freely and confidently.

When your agents are free to work in their own style, with more agency and autonomy, they will deliver better quality, performance, and improved KPIs.

15. Provide the right, efficient tools to work with

Having the right tools to work with is essential not only for ensuring excellent customer experience but also for agent performance.

Jumping from app to app or window to window aimlessly for information will bog down your call center employees. On the other hand, providing them with efficient systems integrated with all the solutions and means to do their job will make them work better.

Therefore, evaluate your technology infrastructure and make sure that the agents have seamless, robust, and reliable technology that empowers them to help customers. Having such supporting systems makes your employees happy to help callers.

You can do the following to ensure that your agents have adequate tools to work:

  • Conduct regular technology audits to ensure that the systems work as expected.
  • Maintain your tech infrastructure regularly to avoid outages.
  • Update and improve your tech infrastructure when newer versions and features become available from your service provider or the development team.

This will make your agents happy, and when your agents are happy at work, they will take care of your customers perfectly.


Call center jobs are never easy. Nothing is exciting about listening to customer complaints and when agents do not have any autonomy to innovate. This is the reason for high levels of burnout in the call center industry, which directly leads to hefty turnover rates. However, you can address these issues and meet the KPIs by using the methods we have just discussed for motivating call center employees.

However, before trying to improve your company’s bottom line, analyze if you have provided your employees with enough motivation to stay happy and satisfied at work. If not, go ahead and use all or any of the above ways to motivate employees in a call center to improve the productivity of your business.

Also, before adopting these methods, evaluate where you are going wrong and then implement these ideas on how to motivate employees in the call center strategically.

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