How to Find Out What Motivates Your Call Center Agents Without Saying a Word

How to Find Out What Motivates Your Call Center Agents Without Saying a Word

Last Updated on January 31, 2019

motivate-employees

It’s the age old question when it comes to managing people…

What makes them tick?

Is it money? Recognition? Pride? Love of service?

For each call center agent it’s something different. Trying the same approach to motivate the entire group is an exercise in futility. An individualized approach that values each person’s unique talents and contributions often works best. But sometimes one on one conversations don’t help you craft an effective individualized plan. Have you ever felt like your agents were just telling you what you wanted to hear?


There is a way to learn what motivates each one of your call center agents without saying a single word to any of them. Sound too good to be true? It’s not. Time to have your cake and eat it too.

Below are fictional scenarios depicting three agent and customer conversations. Following the scenarios we’ll look at some key statements that reveal each agent’s primary motivation. The great thing about this process is you can use it in any conversation you have, or observe, in order to determine the motivation behind what each person is saying.

Scenario 1

The customer talks about a recent vacation they took abroad. They clearly enjoyed the trip and are proud of the fact they were able to take it. The agent says they’re glad the customer had a good time, then starts talking about a vacation they took a few months before. The customer is intrigued and asks questions about the vacation and expresses an interest in visiting that destination in the future.

Scenario 2

The customer asks some specific questions about the product’s features and the benefits. These are questions that can be answered directly and with certainty by the agent. Instead, the agent refuses to speak in definitive terms, opting to use qualifying words like “should”, “could”, and “most likely”. The customer is frustrated by the agent’s evasive answers.

Scenario 3

A customer calls because of a delivery mix-up. They’ve received the wrong package and are trying to locate the package they’re supposed to receive. The agent is supremely confident the situation can be rectified quickly and makes grandiose promises of resolution within what would be considered an unreasonable time frame. In fact, it’s not certain the package the customer was supposed to receive can ever be located.

Let’s dissect each scenario to see what’s most important to the agent involved, with the assumption that each agent has displayed a pattern of consistent behavior.

In scenario 1, the agent is playing a game of one-up-man-ship with the customer. The agent feels important and special because they were able to share information about their vacation and receive a favorable response. This agent is motivated by validation. Recognition of their contributions and achievements will be the primary method to keep them engaged and doing their best work.

In scenario 2, the agent was anything but confident in their answers to the customer’s questions. The agent was afraid to risk making a mistake or breaking a promise. Security is the primary motivation for this employee. Assuring them that mistakes are tolerated and part of their development will be a key to motivating them to be more confident in their customer interactions.

In scenario 3, the agent promised the moon, sun and the stars and took great pleasure in doing so. This agent had absolutely no fear of the consequences of their actions. Excitement would be the primary motivation for this employee. The way to motivate this employee is by allowing them to spread their wings with changing job responsibilities and by providing opportunities to take controlled risks within the scope of their duties.

Practice this on your own with a sample of each of your agent’s calls. Identify trends that point you towards their primary motivation based on the criteria discussed above. Use that as you develop individualized development plans for each agent.

Obviously, you have to hear your agents in action to use the process described above. Live service observes are great but not always practical. This is where your call logging software becomes more than just a tool to monitor phone stats. Use the unique features of your call logger to produce a sample of calls that you can access and review at a moment’s notice.

Versadial’s call logger is more than just an engine to record incoming and outgoing calls. It’s the core of our call monitoring and recording solutions. Customize whom, when and how your record, gain unlimited access to your data, and retrieve calls any time you want. Versadial’s software is easy to install, easy to use and full of features that make each call center team easier to manage.

Motivated employees do the things that help you win in the marketplace every day. Winning never gets old. Call Versadial today to set up a demo.

Last Updated on January 31, 2019