The Relationship between Motivation and Performance of Call Centre Agents at a Telecommunications Industry

The call centre agents’ job is complicated by the expectation of customers and management to provide ‘personalised’ services, without having an opportunity to interact with a customer in a ‘normal’ face to face context. Hence, call centre agent performance is critical for the company to maintain customer satisfaction and high operational efficiency. Hence, motivating and retaining a workforce that is skilled and professional is fundamental to the success of organisations that utilise call centres. The human resource literature suggests that excellent service is ensured through the management support of the employees through developing skills and ensuring motivation and commitment (Wallace et al 2000:3). This is especially true in the case of call centre agents where emotional labour is needed (Wallace etal2000:3).Regardless of which theory is followed, interesting work and employee pay are important links to higher motivation and increased work performance. Options such as job enlargement, job enrichment, promotions, monetary and non-monetary compensation should be considered. Research done by (Higgins, 2004) has come out with ten most motivating factors which are: interesting work, good wages, a full appreciation of work done, job security, good working conditions, promotions and growth in the organization, feeling of being in on things, personal loyalty to call centre agents, tactful discipline, and sympathetic help with personal problems. The key to motivating call centre agents is to know what motivates them and designing a motivation programme based on those needs.Research conducted by Sears (2006,) found out that call centre agents attitudes which are driven by motivation impacted on the bottom line of sales and profitability. The study indicated that when employee attitudes improved by 5% in call centres, customer satisfactionincreased by 1.3%, consequently increasing revenue by one-half a percentage point.This study showed that the search for ways to motivate and build worker morale pays dividends to any business or organisation because a motivated workforce is more committed to the job and to the customer and call centre is no exception to the rule.