How can you keep your customer service employees happy and productive?
Think about the employees at your call center. When you walk around among your customer services reps, what’s the vibe?
Chances are, they’re not feeling too cheerful today. Working in a customer call center can be challenging, as anyone in the industry will know.
It’s always an advantage if you have formed a wellbeing team at work, preferably consisting of employees from different areas. This way you can prepare and schedule activities throughout the year.
Perhaps one of these fun 11 ideas will work for you to increase employee engagement!
1. Office Candy Land
Remember that activities to raise morale at work can be initiated by anyone. Why wait for management to take the lead? 🙂
Let’s say your morning shift wants to do something for the rest of the office. Let’s surprise everyone with a handmade Candy Land! Decorate your part of the office in style and invite everyone to go and play your game. It can be quizzes related to your company or customers, music trivia, or anything that goes with your company culture. Organize prizes for the winners, you could offer freebies like chocolate, snacks, a hand-written note, win a free lunch, etc.
If you arrange it in advance, you could suggest a one-week schedule where everyone can get off the phone for a while and go test their luck. A fun way to surprise your colleagues!
2. Welcome New Team Members
There’s nothing worse than starting a new position and feeling ignored or as an outsider, right?
Make it a mission for your customer service employees to feel like they are part of the team! Retention tends to be a problem in the call center industry, meaning that hiring happens… a lot. The longer you can keep a good employee, the better, meaning you should start from day one. Quickly celebrate new hires who have joined and introduce them to the rest of the team.
A nice idea is to use mentors and make your new agents feel supported by the rest of the team to get new agents contributing quickly. Give your new hires extensive training sessions on how everything works, make sure they have all the IT equipment they need and schedule future training like online language courses if needed.
Don’t just send your agents to take calls straight away, first, focus on making them feel welcomed, appreciated and informed.
3. Customer Service Week
Customer Service Week is a celebration of the importance of the people who serve and support customers on a daily basis. It’s the perfect excuse to celebrate with an abundance of internal recognition and rewards.
Make sure to plan for a week jam-packed with fun for your front line representatives. The first task is to pick a theme. It could be in line with the official yearly theme or go for something that your employees will like.
Next, plan actions and fun things related to your theme: dressing up, food, snacks, awards, etc. And perhaps a quick party on the very last day?
4. Harry Potter Theme
How would you react to an invitation written in the Harry Potter / Hogwarts font? Perhaps a Hogwarts acceptance letter?
There is an abundance of Harry Potter costumes online and in local stores, yet many times the funniest and most innovative Harry Potter themes are homemade.
How about organizing a Harry Potter theme day to lift the mood at your customer service center? Would your agents get into it? Just don’t make it mandatory to participate, or dress up, as there will always be someone who’s not interested, or simply isn’t up for these types of activities.
Chocolate frogs, anyone?
5. Company-Wide Moments
Never underestimate the power of bringing the whole group together! You don’t always need a theme to throw a company-wide party, dinner or brown bag lunch, right?
It’s just a matter of finding a date and time that you communicate in advance, and the budget behind it (which doesn’t necessarily have to be a big one).
Sitting down for a meal really glues the customer service team together and creates a we-feeling. It’s the perfect excuse to get to know colleagues you perhaps haven’t been introduced to, or never got the chance to speak a bit more with.
For shift workers, this is a bit more tricky. Try to prioritize these types of events every now or then, or keep them short and celebrate during breaks, etc. A nice gesture is to let the top managers stay on the phones, while the rest of the customer service team go enjoy a yummy cake 🙂
6. Back To School
As Summer starts waving goodbye, it’s time to go Back To School. This can be a stressful time for many working parents. Particularly in call center environments where shift hours are strict.
Do you offer flexible work schedules? Many best places to work have been offering this for a long time and make sure that their family-friendly work culture also involves activities designated for parents.
Sign up with a local charity and get your employees to hand out pencils and books for the young ones that are heading back to school. It could also be a purely internal activity if you have a way to figure out who among your team is caring for kids. It always feels good to give, and receive.
7. A Carrot to Reach a Goal: Who Wants Free Pizza??
There is great power in the ‘small’ things at work. Those mini actions you can do that serve to break up a shift and add some friendly competition.
You can be the announcer, or find someone on your team who’s comfortable with announcing the task, and enjoys it.
Simply get up from your chair and say hey, please put your calls on hold… who wants free pizza?? Let’s see who can win this! Or hey, lunch is on us today if you achieve X!
You need someone with a lot of energy for this to work the right way. When done right, it can make a huge difference to productivity at your call center.
Many customer service teams get busy and decorate their offices for Valentine’s day.
One idea is to get each agent something individual, something with a positive note like you’re a great agent, keep it up! and focus on recognizing their improvement since they started with you.
Do you have a tradition of getting involved in the local community? It’s nice to do something for others right?
Activities outside the office for Valentine’s could involve reaching out to senior citizens. Print cards and get your agents to write notes to leave to senior citizens in a center nearby. You can hand out boxes of chocolates, candy, teddy bears and other small gifts.
9. Halloween: Haunted House!
Halloween is here!
Prepare a haunted house inside your building. Divide your office into sections, and get each to organize their own, different, haunted house. Get agents and key members from your staff to work together as a team to come up with the best and most original decoration. It’s a different way to get people to team up and get some friendly competition going!
For Halloween, your call center can also organize best costume awards, the most original, the scariest costume, and so forth.
Get your agents to bring out their hidden skills and impress each other with baking contests, pumpkin carving contests…
As for Thanksgiving, due to the nature of the call center business, some agents have to work. Make sure they get a complete nice festive meal to brighten their day a bit.
10. Thirty-One Themes in December
The holiday season tends to be the busiest, and many times the most chaotic, period at call centers.
Since December is tough, you should crank it up with even MORE events and actions to bring up the morale. Launch a theme each day!
And when you read the list it just sounds so fun!
# Twin Tuesday
# Wacky Hair Wednesday
# Necktie/Bow tie Thursday
# Crazy Sock Day
# Tacky Tourist Day
# Disney Day
# Dress Nerdy Day
# Pajama Fun Day
# Sports Day
# Santa Day
# Backwards Monday
You could team up with local charities and help out low-income families and make sure that more kids get a little something for Christmas. Ask if your call center agents would like to volunteer and buy stuff for the kids and go to the local organization.
These ideas are a nice way to unload from the Christmas stress.
11. New Year’s Eve Party
As anyone who has worked in a call center environment knows, the phones won’t stop ringing just because it’s a holiday. New Year’s Eve is no exception.
Let’s throw a New Year’s Eve party for those working!
At some point during the day, tell everyone to get off their phones and make a new year’s toast where you toast with everyone. If possible, direct the incoming calls to colleagues at other locations who will cover as you toast with alcohol-free cider. Make sure that everyone is a part of the celebration. If retention is a problem you could announce a new bonus that everyone will get on their birthday.
For parents that are away from their kids, give them a few minutes extra to call their family.
If you’ve got several shifts, make sure that your managers repeat the same toast for the afternoon and night shift. And to top things up, stock up on nice stuff in the kitchen, like a yummy dessert bar and festive food to celebrate the new year.
It’s hard to keep customer agents happy, but it does magic for employee retention, quality, and productivity. It’s worth it from a business and revenue perspective.
Showing that you care goes a long way. Yet, organizing a Pizza Day won’t hide the fact that you’re not paying your customer service agents enough to stay, or hide the actions of bad managers. But hey, it can be a start and a first step towards something better.
Not everyone will be in a position to implement all of these themes, but they are guaranteed to lift the spirit at your call center. Steady wins the race. Start with one action, involve more managers as you go along, and start creating a better place for your customer service staff.