Call centre worker
Image Source: Alan Clark
UCL School of Management

New research reveals the best way to pay call centre workers

People are not machines and, according to new research from the UCL School of Management, a proper way to motivate call centre workers is to strip away their hourly wage.

According to Assistant Professor Dongyuan Zhan; “Call centres currently use incentives which are effectively redundant. By simply offering rewards for the amount of calls they make, call centre employees are often ringing customers just to hang up on them.

“Encouraging workers to work as fast as possible also means there is likely to be a larger number of mistakes, whilst being too slow results in a loss of productivity.”

As well as the errors in motivating staff, the researchers found that the allocation of calls, and staffing in call centres are also ineffective.

“In the current model, customers are placed in a queue, and their calls are routed to the next available employee. This is the starting point to study more complicated systems with multiple types of customers and employees in the future, rather than customers queuing in a single line, assuming the company has exactly one service.” says Zhan.

Call centres are not listening to their customers and are not solving their problems effectively, this research shines a new light on why they are failing and how they can improve the staffing and compensation scheme for their employees.

The results come from over five years of theoretic research and were published in the journal Operations Research.

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