Eons ago, E. E. Cummings got it right when he said, “Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit”. The adage still holds true. Being motivated continues to be essential to how people perform their jobs. It is especially relevant in the world of customer experience. Because the human-to-human connection remains a crucial part of the service ecosystem.

In fact, Salesforce studies say that 83% of buyers always want to be connected to the most knowledgeable agent about their issues.

"Every contact center agent must have a personal action plan to align their work and commit to the plan"
Gartner

Sounds simple, doesn’t it, though? All you need to do is motivate your agents into giving your customers a great experience. Right?

Well, there is more to it than a simplistic equation.

Motivation is an internal drive or enthusiasm to do something. It can broadly be classified into intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation are factors that come from within us, like love for your job, being interested, challenging yourself etc. Extrinsic motivation are factors like, positive reinforcement in the form of rewards or feedback, monetary benefits, power etc. What drives you to complete certain tasks comes from a combination of all the above factors.

Self-motivation among the contact center agents will be consistent when they:

  • Are not involved in redundant activities
  • Have the resources to make independent decisions
  • Earn the autonomy to solve problems

Technological advancements, product augmentations and automation will aid in creating this ideal work environment and thereby result in improved customer experience.

The three driving motivators for every individual

The job of a contact center agent primarily involves, having constant interactions with customers via voice, chat, email, and other mediums, solving their issues, clarifying their queries, giving support etc. This is a job that demands the agent to be, courteous, polite, assertive and empathetic at all times. They also need to maintain a calm demeanour, be flexible, be quick in problem-solving and have great attention to detail. Working in such a demanding environment requires a lot of self-motivation to fulfil their daily tasks.

According to Psychologist David McClelland in his theory of motivation, he states that every person has one of three main driving motivators, either the need for achievement, affiliation, or power. For every individual, these needs are acquired over time and life’s experiences. A person’s motivation and effectiveness in certain jobs are influenced by these three needs and people with different needs are motivated differently.

Contact center agent_motivation

For a contact center agent, the need for achievement may come from completing a good quantum of daily tickets, being able to reduce the average handle time of customers with quick assistance, or not having any escalations on customer calls etc. These are individuals who yearn for regular feedback on their work to monitor their progress and to achieve the best results. High achievers should be given challenging opportunities and reachable goals with constant feedback on their progress.

The need for affiliation will come from aspects like, the contact center agent recognizing their role and contribution in enhancing customer experience, having a good rapport with their team, or deriving a sense of satisfaction from being able to solve customer issues. People with high affiliation will work best in a cooperative environment and will be team players.

A contact center agent with the need for power will constantly try to enhance their craft, align their role with the common goal of the organization, be an initiator who goes beyond the call of duty and looks for independence in making decisions. Individuals with a high need for power should be given extra responsibilities and work best when given an opportunity to manage others.

The difference between a motivated contact center agent and a demotivated one will be evident in the type of experience they are able to provide to customers. After all, contact center agents bridge the human gaps between customers and businesses. They should be naturally inclined to guide the customers in the right direction so that they get the experience they deserve. But first, they should give themselves the motivation they need.

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