5 types of call center agents – and how to motivate them

June 14, 2018

Call centers seem to attract particular types of personalities. And although every call center – just like every office – is comprised of individuals, there are some types of call center agent characters you’ll meet at almost every call center.

As we all know, a happy team is a productive team. So, as a call center supervisor, one of your most essential ongoing tasks will be to keep your agent team happy and motivated. However, as your team consists of individuals, you will not be able to simply deal with them in the same way.

In this article, we’ll highlight the five most common types of call center agent characters, and show you how to motivate them successfully.

1. The overachiever

“Overachievers” are the highest performing employees in your team, both in terms of success and work rate: they are the first to arrive at work and the last to leave. Chances are that you’ll even see them scrolling through their emails during their lunch break.

“Overachievers” are determined to climb the call center career ladder (for pro tips on how to do that, click here), and most likely no one will be able to stand in their way.

When it comes to their daily work, “overachievers” are committed to getting things done. Their persistent attitude makes them excellent problem solvers, which is a great asset to any customer service team.

How to motivate them:

As they always strive to be the best, you can best motivate them by assigning them tasks with a higher level of responsibility. By being entrusted with such responsibility, they’ll feel that they stand out from their team of agents due to their excellent performance.

“Overachievers” want to feel valued by management as well as their teammates, so you can best empower them by giving them positive feedback. And don’t forget to promote them when they are ready to take their skills to the next level: that will be their ultimate motivation!

2. The entertainer

Every office has a clown: the agent who loves to socialize and keep people around them laughing, with a joke for every situation.

“Entertainer” agents have a positive mindset, a really great skill to have when your job is to help customers over the phone. They tend to provide a high level of customer service, and should definitely be considered an asset to your team.

One thing is for sure: an “entertainer” call center agent character will never mistreat your customers, even if they are having a bad day.  Furthermore, due to their positive mindset, they tend to get along with both their colleagues and customers. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

How to motivate them:

A positive and fun office culture will greatly motivate this type of call center agent. An “entertainer” center is usually an energetic person who can be very productive in their preferred environment. However, always bear in mind that they won’t function very well if they feel they’re too restricted.

Pro tip: When it comes to team building activities, ask them to help you organize the event. You can be sure they’ll totally go for it.

3. The transient agent

Like it or not, there will always be “transient” agents in your call center agent team, here today and gone tomorrow (or maybe the day after). Many employees see call center work as a temporary workplace until they find a better job. “Transient” agents in your team will most likely lack a sense of responsibility and will have no intention of settling in.

How to motivate them:

First of all, don’t give up on them so easily! Although many people think that call centers and careers don’t mix, the truth is that call center employees have the opportunity to explore a wide variety of career opportunities. So, why not highlight the career possibilities in your call center to such employees? If you manage to change their attitude, they may even end up becoming valuable members of your team.  

4. The loyal agent

In contrast to the “transient” agent, “loyal” agents in your team have been with you for years, and the good news is that they have no intention of leaving. This type of call center agent plans for the long term and their long-term plan is to have a stable career in the call center. Yes, really.

As they are committed to help your company succeed, they tend to provide exceptional customer service, representing your business in the way you want them to.

How to motivate them:

While the “loyal” agent probably won’t be striving to climb the career ladder much, there is one thing that’ll be essential to them: organized internal processes. Make sure to give them clear instructions, and always provide them with the tools they need to carry out their tasks. Furthermore, give them a free hand in complex situations so that they can make their own decisions. Finally, don’t forget to involve them in training sessions. As they have extensive knowledge and experience, they may well be able to help the rest of your team improve.

5. The leader material

The “leader material” agent is a highly valuable asset to your organization. This type of employee is a real thinker: they see the whole picture and come up with ideas that could help you improve productivity. Maybe once you’re ready to leave the company, you’ll be happy to turn over the reins to them. As they are high achievers, gaining specialist knowledge is what’s important to them.

How to motivate them:

Once you have them in your team, you better do your best to try to keep them motivated.  As they crave challenging tasks, they will soon become bored with routine tasks. Therefore, make sure to assign complex duties to them, and look for alternative roles for them when they’ve outgrown their current job. If you empower this type of call center agent, then you can consider them potential future leaders at the call center.

Explore more topics covering HR in a call center

Call centers can be rather tough work places with some of the highest employee turnover among any other industry. It’s up to the management to help ease this trend by ensuring the work environment is as rewarding as it can be. Be sure to read the following guides to get some more inspiration in how to make your agents happier.

Here’s how to survive a call center night shift

Call center career: what are the possibilities?

A Day in the Life of a Call Center Manager

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