Elevate Your Customer Experience by Keeping Your Agents Motivated and Engaged.
If you run a contact center then you know that talented, engaged contact center agents are essential to your company’s success. They are the ones on the front lines, interacting with customers every day. Engaged agents are friendly, efficient, and ensure that every customer experience is a positive reflection of your company.
If agents are consistently unhappy with their work environment, however, this will likely translate into a poor customer experience. According to a recent survey by McKinsey & Company:
Satisfied employees are more than three times as likely as dissatisfied colleagues
to feel empowered to solve customer issues.
How does this play out during an actual interaction with a customer?
According to call center expert Dick Bourke, “Research indicates that when a customer is speaking with an agent, the message is influenced and interpreted in part by the tone in which it was given. In fact, 38% of the way the message is interpreted is influenced by the tone in which it was spoken. For call center agents, though, they don’t have the luxury of being able to communicate through body language and facial expressions, meaning it is their tone that represents 100% of the way the message is received, making it all the more important to keep them happy.”
So, if an engaged contact center agent is the key to creating positive customer experiences, how do you keep your agents happy and engaged?
FACTORS THAT DRIVE AGENT ENGAGEMENT
In their helpful book, Minimizing Agent Turnover, Jon Anton and Anita Rockwell present research that outlines primary factors that drive agent engagement at a macro level. In this research, here is what was most important for contact centers to do:
- Help your agents have trust in leadership and believe you have their best interests in mind.
- Give your agents a chance to use their skills on the job.
- Help your agents be assured their jobs are secure.
- Offer a competitive package.
- Maintain or improve the quality of your company’s products and services.
- Reduce work-related stress.
- Ensure your company is conducting business with honesty and integrity.
While there are multiple factors impacting agent engagement at a macro level, team leadership plays a primary role at the individual level. And the agent’s immediate supervisor or team leader holds the key to creating a positive and motivating work environment.
What are some ways to motivate your agents to improve engagement?
Motivate and engage individuals through public recognition and private affirmation. A good team leader knows what incentives motivate each team member. While some agents value public recognition, others might prefer a private word of affirmation for a job well done. Effective team leaders take an individual approach and focus on what matters most to each team member. Keep a stash of gift cards and small rewards on hand for spontaneously rewarding engaged agents. One company filled light bulb shaped jars with yellow candy and handed them out as rewards for bright ideas.
For a more serious approach to understanding what your contact center agents value, consider reading The Dream Manager, by Matthew Kelly, and learn how listening to employees dramatically increased engagement for one company.
Engage and motivate the entire team through the use of contests, games, and team building. Motivation is best determined by asking your agents what they would like to see happen. Form a committee to advise you on these rewards and events. Make sure you keep a cheerful and upbeat environment in the call center.
One company created a series of monthly contests. Agents were encouraged to self-report experiences of customer service that went above and beyond. Customers were given post call surveys to report the most extraordinary agent experiences. Each of these positive reports went towards earning a special reward for the group such as a celebration complete with food and prizes. Another company offered to make a donation to a different charitable organization each month based on the agents’ choice.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Think of engagement as a pipeline. You hire great team leaders who know how to foster a motivating and engaging work environment. This leads to more engaged agents, and then those engaged agents create better customer experiences.
According to the Gallup State of the American Workplace report, engaged teams show 17% higher productivity and contribute 21% greater profitability to the organization. (Download report here.)
And if you’re still not convinced, here is one final benefit of an engaged workforce. The Gallup report states, “Employees who are engaged are more likely to stay with their organization, reducing overall turnover and the costs associated with it. They feel a stronger bond to their organization’s mission and purpose, making them more effective brand ambassadors. They build stronger relationships with customers, helping their company increase sales and profitability.”
So engaged workers aren’t just the ones who deliver the best customer experience, they are also the ones who are staying at your organization longer and contributing more to your brand and bottom line.
Helping Contact Centers Engage the Best Agents
Want to know more about keeping your agents motivated, engaged, and delivering consistently stellar customer service? Contact us today! With more than 30 years of experience helping contact centers hire and engage the best talent, we welcome a conversation. 888.332.0648.