Call Center Motivation: How to Inspire Your Agents

Customer Service | 5 minute read

When you think of improving your call center motivation, do you dream of near-perfect customer satisfaction scores? Impeccable customer service and experience? To get a real sense of how things are going, don’t just look at your customers; look at your agents. If they’re motivated, your customers will likely feel satisfied. If not? Everything goes downhill.

Call center managers and leaders have some of the hardest jobs when it comes to agent engagement. You’re dealing with high turnovers in contact centers, making it difficult to retain talent.

Here’s the thing: call center agents have monotonous days. Talking about the same issues with customers gets old after a while. And if you tack on impatient or rude customers, inspiring agents just gets harder. Your first step to inspiring your agents at work is to recognize how difficult their jobs can be. 

Show some compassion and be proactive to keep agents happy. If not? You’ll scramble to find new talent, and your customer experience, profits, and metrics will suffer. Keeping the ship steady in a call center isn’t just about operational efficiency — it’s also about human connections and inspiring your staff members.

Today, we’ll walk through ways to do that. Trust us; you’ll notice better retention and engagement if you follow some of these tips. But first, let’s explore what motivation and inspiration look like.

What Are the Elements of  Call Center Motivation?

Motivation is a desire to do something. On the floor, agent motivation is the desire to answer calls, help customers, and further business objectives. But you know better than anyone motivation isn’t easily achieved. To fix that, you need to understand two types of motivation:

  • Extrinsic motivation refers to external factors that motivate people, like money, recognition, accomplishments, reputation, and time off.
  • Intrinsic motivation refers to self-fulfillment and personal satisfaction. Examples include autonomy, pride in work, self-improvement, and connection.

Of course, extrinsic and intrinsic motivation are both necessary to inspire your agents. Extrinsic motivation speaks to bonuses, vacation time, competitive compensation, recognition, and improved status. Your agents want to feel monetarily and respectfully rewarded for their hard work.

But intrinsic motivation is just as, if not more, important. Call center agents have pretty restrictive jobs, set hours, and scripts to follow. It’s hard to find freedom or autonomy within these bounds — unless you intentionally foster it!

Forbes describes autonomy as a key driver for happiness. So if your agents feel autonomous, they’ll feel more motivated and inspired. Other ways to inspire intrinsic motivation include self-improvement and educational opportunities, as well as software to enable quicker wins.


Fonolo’s Voice Call-Backs reduce abandonment rates by 60%.

5 Ways to Motivate Call Center Agents

If you don’t have motivated employees, your call center may not be a positive work environment. The good news is that you have ample opportunity to pump up motivation. Let’s start with the most important tip.

Encourage Autonomy

Nobody likes a micromanager. You hired your call center agents because you trust their capabilities — start acting like it! Giving your call center employees freedom to pursue company goals on their terms is a fabulous start in motivating them. Take a look at your internal processes and consider which steps are absolutely vital versus those with room for flexibility.

  • Can you simplify agents’ work with programmable call-backs?
  • Does every team member have to start at 8 am, or can accommodate flexible hours?
  • Do you have to train new hires, or can you trust a senior agent to mentor them?
  • Do you tell agents how to fix things, or do you offer them a floor to share their ideas?
Do you give your agents enough #EmployeeAutonomy at your contact center? Here are some tips to foster agent motivation: Offer flexible hours, Ask them for feedback, Equip them with the right software and Allow them to share their skills… Click To Tweet

Recognize Hard Work

You know what’s worse than negative feedback? Radio silence. How can agents feel motivated if their hard work is met with zero feedback or rewards?

Regular feedback is a must for motivation. Receiving kudos for a job well done improves their self-esteem. Criticisms (always given privately) should be coupled with training opportunities, a pathway forward, and a goal to strive for. Here’s where you can make use of extrinsic motivation.

Recognize your call center agents’ performance with:

  • Promotions
  • Time off
  • Career advancement
  • Recognition and praise

Help Them Soar with Education

We mentioned career advancement as an extrinsic motivator. But helping your agents advance their skills can engage both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation drivers.

Think about self-improvement. When you learn new things, it’s natural to feel more engaged and confident. Training opportunities offer the same satisfaction to your agents. Not only will the extra knowledge make their skills more marketable; but it will also help them feel a sense of purpose and self-satisfaction.

And by training, we’re not just talking about a lunchtime PowerPoint. Invest in your agents. Set some room in the budget for education. You might even consider hiring a field expert for a workshop.

Agent education opportunities might include:

  • Courses
  • Conferences
  • Bootcamps
  • Workshops
  • Job shadowing

Create a Welcoming Workplace

Gallup released an article about employee engagement measures in the workplace. One statement that promotes engagement is:

“My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.”

Another statement: “I have a best friend at work.”

You get the gist: people want to connect with each other and feel a sense of belonging, even at work. All that comes down to company culture. While you don’t have to ensure everyone has a best friend, you should promote intra-office communications and social opportunities. If people feel connected, that’s a strong indication of a positive work environment.

What if your agents work from home? You can still encourage employee discourse and friendships. Consider hosting online social events where employees can gather and play games, or learn to paint with a guided online group painting session.

Encouraging your agents to share feedback can also spur their motivation. Welcome their thoughts through internal newsletters, suggestion boxes, time to speak at meetings, and so on.

Support Agents with Technology

If industry competitors are helping their agents with innovative tech for day-to-day efficiency, why aren’t you? Trust us; your agents will notice if your business processes are ancient and behind the times. The right contact center tech is a great motivator. If agents know the software will make their job easier, they’ll feel more enthusiastic to go about their work.

Fonolo’s Voice Call-Backs help alleviate the wrath of angry customers on your agents. Customers will feel more in control of the situation, and your agents won’t hesitate to avoid long hold times. Ready to take the first step toward more motivated agents? Start with the right tech. Book a demo or watch a short demo video to learn more about Fonolo’s Voice Call-backs today!


Fonolo Resource cover image

A Guide to Contact Center Agent Engagement


A Guide to Contact Center Agent Engagement

Fonolo Resource cover image
Fonolo Resource cover image

A Guide to Contact Center Agent Engagement


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