Whether you’ve been working in a virtual environment for a month or for years, you know that the key to success is employee motivation. The problem is that, by its very nature, a remote work environment makes it difficult to effectively collaborate, communicate, and lead.
From infrequent contact to different time zones and significant reliance on unreliable technology, working remotely presents some significant challenges for virtual leaders. That’s why it should be no surprise that more than 25% of virtual teams are not fully performing.
In particular, it can feel impossible to inspire and motivate call center teams, which is absolutely critical to virtual success.
Importance of Motivating Virtual Teams for Customer Service
Productivity is essential to getting more accomplished every day. It’s also responsible for increasing profits, engaging employees, and creating positive customer experiences. And the key to call center productivity in a remote environment is motivation.
Unfortunately, you’re fighting an uphill battle. According to Gallup, 53% of employees give the minimum effort required and have no problem leaving your business for something better.
Remote workers face unique challenges when it comes to feeling isolated and detached from their work, their coworkers, and their leaders. This leads to situations where balancing work and life is difficult and motivation feels out of reach.
But, if you can find a way to motivate your remote customer service employees, you can reap the benefits of everything from improved morale to increased customer satisfaction, a better company culture, and improved company profitability.
7 Ways to Motivate Remote Employees: Guide for Call Center Leaders
Best-in-class virtual call center leaders recognize the need to be deliberate and proactive in their interactions. They understand how essential it is to motivate people from a distance by inspiring, influencing, and engaging individuals and the team as a whole.
By taking time to develop important leadership behaviors and implement structural elements necessary for the virtual environment, they are able to improve performance and motivate their virtual teams.
1. Convey Optimism
Motivating virtual teams is impossible if you are not motivated yourself. That’s why it’s essential to be an optimistic leader. It’s especially important in a remote work environment where negative emotions, fear, uncertainty, and worry can creep up without warning.
Countless studies have looked at the importance of seeing the bright side of life. Not only does it have psychological and physiological benefits, but it’s also an invaluable leadership trait that’s essential to innovation. When you are optimistic, you convey strength, inspire others to build upon their skills, and encourage everyone you interact with to be their individual best.
Optimists have the power to propel others to take action. That’s because they see hurdles as opportunities and feel enthusiasm for every situation. The key is to be realistically optimistic. You don’t want to be so convinced of success that you miss the truth, but you also want to move forward into every task and goal with optimism as your guide.
2. Use Richer Communication Methods
It’s hard to be inspiring in an email or text message. It’s even hard to be inspiring over the telephone. That’s why it’s essential to use richer communication methods when trying to inspire and motivate individuals.
While face-to-face interaction is best for motivation, video is a close second. It offers you a compelling way to really connect with your team members. Through video, you’re able to demonstrate your excitement and commitment, not just through your voice, but also through your facial movements and actions.
Remember, the goal is to provide support to all of your team members regardless of their location, so don’t be afraid to use the best communication method for each situation. Through video communication, phone calls, and document sharing, it’s possible to engage with and motivate all of your team members as needed.
3. Match Proposed Tasks to People’s Values
You cannot accomplish anything in a remote work environment without gaining team member support. If they don’t want to do it, it won’t get done. One of the most effective ways to gain support is to use inspirational appeals to a person’s values and ideals. If you can connect your team’s mission to each team member’s values, it’s much more likely you’ll be successful.
To do this effectively, you must demonstrate emotional intelligence as a leader. When you are emotionally intelligent, not only can you identify and manage emotions, but you can also identify what motivates and drives people to act the way they do. This is incredibly helpful when it comes to driving behavior and matching tasks to values.
The idea is to build a sense of purpose and community based your team’s motives and values. When you do this, you create an environment where people feel that they are able to share their ideas openly and constructively challenge one another. This is essential to successfully motivating remote employees.
4. Encourage Non-Task Interactions
One of the best ways to motivate customer service reps, especially during a crisis such as COVID-19, is to allocate time for non-task related communication and interaction. Leadership must be about more than work. It also has to be about building relationships and showing genuine interest in team members as people.
The goal of any virtual leader should be to connect with their team. It’s only in this way that you can create a sense of community, no matter if you’re distributed across the country or the globe. Community is what binds everything together and makes it possible to accomplish your goals.
One way to encourage non-task interactions is to create a culture where people feel comfortable sharing ideas, interacting, and engaging with each other. They should feel like your team is a safe place for spontaneous conversations and interactions, one-on-one and in a group. When you can make the work environment about more than just the next task, you’ll create a greater sense of belonging and productivity.
5. Make Team Member Contributions Visible & Recognize Them
If you want to know how to motivate remote employees, they have to feel like they are seen. Invisible people don’t work hard because there’s no point. Employees want to be recognized for the value they provide. When you find ways to make team member’s contributions more visible, they are far more motivated to keep working.
There are many ways to make team member contributions more visible.
- Collect client testimonials and send them to team members.
- Ask senior leaders to drop into team meetings to demonstrate upper-level management involvement and interest.
- Help team members network within the organization by introducing them to contacts who can help advance their careers.
- Offer a reward—gift card, trophy, cash bonus, etc.—for employees who meet specific criteria. Present the reward in front of the entire team.
- Focus on managing accomplishments and not activity, so that way, the spotlight stays on contributions focused on success.
- Create a visual scoreboard where all team members can go to see shared goals, view progress, track tasks, and measure success.
6. Provide Regular Feedback and Coaching
Motivating virtual teams requires consistent interaction on behalf of leadership. You must provide regular feedback and coaching to help all team members develop their skills. By doing this, you demonstrate that you are dedicated to helping them grow professionally.
The key is to provide both positive and negative feedback on projects, tasks, procedures, and more. Feedback is the best way to keep in touch with the pulse of your team and ensure that the work being done is focused on the right goals for success. It’s also key to avoiding call center burnout in a work-from-home environment.
It’s about having a growth mindset, where your remote workforce feels that their personal improvement and performance goals matter. As a leader, when you focus on the potential of your team, it motivates them to keep stretching for new opportunities.
And remember, feedback and coaching are also valuable for improving your leadership. It’s an opportunity for you to take an in-depth look at the agent’s tasks and to ensure they are realistic. You want team members to be challenged enough to do their work but not so challenged they are set up for failure. Finding a healthy balance is critical.
7. Offer Autonomy for Decision Making
Trust is vital when it comes to how to motivate remote employees. You must trust your team members to follow through on all responsibilities, expectations, and deadlines because micromanaging is not the answer.
Instead, successful virtual leaders know the importance of providing the right tools and support for their employees and then leaving them to get the job done. If you want to achieve success, you have to get out of the way of your talented workforce and provide them the autonomy necessary to get their jobs done and make decisions as they see fit.
Just make sure you have a way to manage accountability within the parameters you’ve devised. QA software is critical for this. Not only does it provide your team members with guidance for making good choices, but it helps you, as a leader, schedule periodic check-ins and monitor performance, so you’re able to provide them with more autonomy.
How Scorebuddy Supports Employee Motivation Working Remotely
Scorebuddy is a valuable tool for not just call center quality assurance, but also remote employee motivation. That’s because the entire Scorebuddy platform was designed to help you manage remote relationships through transparency.
Whether it’s customer reviews, agent feedback, or self-scoring of interactions, Scorebuddy gathers all of the most essential call center insight into one system. From there, not only can agents see, clearly, how they’re performing and what they can do to improve, but management can provide rewards and recognition based on that performance.
It’s also a collaborative environment that provides opportunities for two-way communications between agents and supervisors, between supervisors, and between team leads and supervisors. Think of Scorebuddy as the focal point of data for all of your collaborative efforts.
When used in conjunction with a video communication platform, Scorebuddy provides a powerful and meaningful way to motivate employees by helping you evaluate and engage in:
- Task, project, and goal visibility
- Personalized coaching
- Rewards and recognition
- Positive feedback
How Do You Motivate Employees to Provide Better Customer Service Remotely?
The virtual work environment provides many opportunities for distractions and dissatisfaction. It’s too easy to lose expectations, deadlines, and goals in a remote world. But when leaders focus on motivating their virtual teams, success is much more likely.
What’s important is how you go about motivation. The idea should be to create a sense of purpose at the team and individual level, regardless of where everyone is located. When you can create an environment where every individual feels comfortable enough to share their ideas, engage with, and challenge each other, productivity increases, behavior improves, and performance increases.