5 Ways to Keep Contact Center Agents Engaged

Contact center success is heavily dependent on the agents working the frontlines to service customers every single day. So, it’s important those agents feel engaged at work and are happy in their roles, with the companies they work for and the opportunities those companies make available to them.

Contact center agent happiness and engagement go hand-in-hand with customer happiness and satisfaction. In fact, the two have a cause-and-effect relationship. If agents are happy and engaged at work, they will be more likely to provide excellent customer service, thus impacting customer loyalty and, ultimately, the bottom line.

Happy agents who are satisfied with their jobs will also help to decrease absenteeism and turnover rates. According to ICMI, contact centers have a fairly high turnover rate of 33%. A few possible reasons for turnover include hiring the wrong people, agents feeling like their work is too monotonous, a lack of recognition and high stress. To reduce agent attrition, increase customer loyalty and improve the bottom line, contact centers should focus their attention on retaining their agents and keeping them engaged.

Invest in More Training and Coaching Opportunities

One of the reasons why there is such a high turnover rate in contact centers is the perception that there is a lack of growth opportunities available to agents. Agents want to know that they have a career path in front of them with plenty of opportunities for promotions and growth. Contact center leaders should not only make these opportunities available, but ensure that agents are aware of what might lie ahead for them.

Additionally, employees in any industry want to feel capable to not just do their jobs, but to do their jobs as well as possible. This is where coaching and training opportunities become important. Lean into different methods of training, such as team building, company events, multimedia training that can be completed alone, as well as regular job and skills training. This helps to accommodate different learning styles as well as the various individual goals that contact center agents might have.

According to the 2019 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report from NTT Ltd., e-learning has doubled and is now considered the training method of choice, while video training has tripled. However, nearly half of CX teams only have “traditional (static) knowledge management systems” available to them. A switch to new and more intuitive and interactive models can help to accommodate agents working off-site or from home — especially now as the future of in-office work seems so uncertain.

Give Contact Center Agents Tools to Help Them do Their Jobs Well

 The tools and resources being used in the contact center should be helping agents do their jobs, making their lives easier and simplifying their workflows. That’s why it’s important for the company to invest in an omnichannel contact center platform that gives agents access to everything they need on one desktop.

The best contact center solution is one with omnichannel capabilities on one unified agent desktop with consistent tools for all channels and quick access to customer journey information and context-data. Access to a knowledge base is also imperative as it gives agents easy access to a wide variety of resources, from articles to decision trees, allowing agents to provide a better customer experience. Since most organizations use a range of tools, integrations to multiple applications and CRMs are also imperative, allowing agents to truly streamline their workflows. Lastly, access to reports and analytics will provide management, and the company as a whole, with valuable insights about their customers and contact center operations.

Stay Connected to Agents

All employees want to know that their work and efforts are being appreciated by leadership and the company as a whole. Creating a recognition program shows contact center agents that their work is appreciated while keeping them motivated to continue doing a great job.

It’s important for contact center leadership to be in tune with the on-going needs of their agents. Conduct regular anonymous surveys to learn how you can better support your team and keep them engaged. Put a focus on how agents feel about their day-to-day tasks and the methods that would help them stay engaged and motivated as time goes on.

Once contact centers are aware of agents’ needs, they can take them into account when deciding on new workplace strategies and policies. According to the 2019 Global Customer Experience, Benchmarking Report from NTT Ltd., top strategies to meet employee needs in a contact center are flexible work schedules and addressing the workspace environment. And, 38% of contact centers have implemented employee wellness initiatives, showing agents that their wellbeing is a priority to the company.

Utilize Self-Service Options

Many contact center agents feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of customer interactions they have each day. Lessen this strain by making use of self-service options. A chatbot and customer-facing knowledge base (like FAQs) can go a long way in helping contact center agents deal with the number of interactions coming in by offering basic information, like hours of operation, payment methods and other inquiries that don’t require an agent. This allows agents to spend their time and energy on more complex customer issues.

Give Agents a Purpose

In a contact center environment, agents often don’t get to see the impact they are making on the customers they service or the company’s bottom line. Depending on the channel a customer chooses, agents might not get to even speak to customers to understand how their service impacted their day or made their lives a little bit easier.

Providing the ability for agents to connect with customers face-to-face through video calls can go a long way for both parties. It allows agents to connect with their customers on a more personal level, adding a face and voice to an otherwise anonymous request. This has a domino effect on customers who receive a more human experience.

Maybe there are stats you can share about the impact customer service has had on the company’s sales, or perhaps there are individual case studies that can be shared about customers’ journeys and interactions with the company. Make sure agents know that their work is important and that they are having a major impact on the customers they serve and the company’s bottom line. This information can be a great source of motivation.

Contact center agents also need to know how they have impacted customers. According to NTT’s 2020 Benchmark Report, only “25.6 of organizations ensure employees understand the big picture, the direction of the business, and how they plan to get there.” This is a huge missed opportunity for contact centers — one that has a major impact on how agents approach CX. For agents to provide effective CX, they need to know why their roles are so important and how those roles lend to the overall strategy and bigger picture of the company’s goals.

Learn more about Upstream Works’ omnichannel contact center solutions here.