Does “Friendly Competition” Really Motivate Call Center Agents?

Friendly competition and contests can help facilitate goal achievement, quotas and development in a call center. But does such competition really motivate agents to succeed? The answer isn’t necessarily black-and-white.


The Pros Of Friendly Competition

Competition challenges agents to outpace their coworkers, which ostensibly means employees get more done than they would without that carrot dangling in front of them. Beating out others can create a feeling of self-validation when the final numbers come in.


Competition can also help zap out laziness and mediocrity.  If agents are tasked with making a specific number of upsells on service calls, for example, some may avoid the sales conversation all together. Competing against others can light a fire under hesitant or complacent employees.  This can also help eliminate boredom and idleness. Everyone knows what they have to do in order to win, and are more apt to use downtime to their advantage.


If you want your team to adapt to change or implement new processes, competition can be a strong motivator. Change can be difficult for many employees to embrace, but tying that change to a specific goal and framing it in a competition can jumpstart adoption.


The Cons of Friendly Competition

There are two sides to every coin, and friendly competition is not without its drawbacks.  There is an old saying: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Competition forces employees to compare themselves to others, and there will always be winners and losers. That’s life, of course, but constantly chasing after perfection can lead to unhappiness at work and eventually, disengagement.


Competition can also be detrimental to teamwork and cooperation. In the throes of competition, it’s every man for himself. Agents may be less likely to step in to help someone else, or offer new ideas for fear that someone may steal them.


When competition becomes constant, it can have a negative impact on culture and morale. Negative feelings like resentment, envy and discouragement can fester over time, especially if the same agents always come out on top.


Everything In Moderation

Competition can be extremely motivating, but if the culture revolves around pitting agents against one another, it can have the opposite effect. There is nothing wrong with friendly competition; call center managers must simply watch that they don’t rely on it too much or too often. The recipe for success lies in striking a balance between competitiveness and cooperation.


If you are looking for effective customer service agents for your company,  contact the call center recruiting experts at Contemporary Staffing Solutions today.   We can help you locate the right team members to keep your CSR team humming.