We’ve all heard it: “Find a job you enjoy, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” In today’s uncertain job market, this turn of phrase might feel more like a platitude than potent guidance, particularly in the workplace wake of the pandemic. The Great Resignation and “quiet quitting” trends became widespread indicators that employees everywhere, still reeling from the challenges of the last 3 years, were starting to question not just their current positions, but their career goals and deeper calling as well.
While all industries have been impacted by these trends, the contact center industry has been particularly hard hit. The transition to a work-from-home or hybrid model vastly altered the work experience for agents; removing them from the office set off a cascade of challenges, from IT and security considerations to productivity and training issues, to low team connection and camaraderie. These issues helped seed the current landscape of increased agent disengagement and attrition, but as contact centers move back to in-office operations or to a hybrid approach, employees are weighing the pros and cons of their current positions on a new scale, one that favours their personal satisfaction and career growth as much, or more, than just a paycheque.
Employment trends continue to shift and settle, and 2023 is showing some stabilization as workers consider the realities of both the economy and the job market alongside their individual career motivations. But thanks to the complexities of the past few years, the bigger picture is already changing. Companies are now paying closer attention to how they can foster a kind of workplace, both in-office and remotely, that keeps employees not just engaged, but motivated and committed to delivering consistent, high-quality customer service. And for contact centers that focus on improving agent retention, these efforts have the potential to measurably improve revenue and brand reputation as well.
A happy contact center agent is your company’s best investment for the kind of consistent, impactful customer service that strengthens the relationship between your brand and your fans. Workplace happiness and satisfaction are directly linked to better productivity, and it’s no wonder why: satisfied agents, those who feel supported and motivated by their workplace and its processes, are more likely to understand and embrace how consistent service quality benefits both customer and company alike. And agents who feel invested in improving day-to-day operations and are rewarded for their ongoing efforts are more likely to feel committed to helping their team achieve its long-term business goals too. So, how exactly do we take agents from “in it for the paycheque” to “in it for the long haul”?
Here are the four cardinal points of creating commitment, consistency and satisfaction for your contact center team, and ultimately, for your customers.
Train to retain
Ongoing training and skills development opportunities are absolutely key to keeping your best and brightest agents motivated in their roles. Beyond a thorough onboarding and initial training plan, ongoing coaching helps build confidence and resourcefulness in agents, making them better brand ambassadors who feel supported to expand more fully into their role. Skills upgrades also help prevent boredom by facilitating greater agent autonomy: instead of having to follow continuous scripts, well-trained, confident agents could be given the opportunity to interact with customers off-script, but within the brand guidelines that they know so well, creating a more authentically human, empathetic customer experience.
Play together to stay together
With gamification now a consistently incentivizing element in our personal lives, why not harness that same potential of play, motivation and reward to motivate your contact center team? Due to the repetitive nature of their work, contact center agents have historically been at higher risk of losing productivity and motivation, and when they have less in-person contact with their team (as was the case during the pandemic) it can compound feelings of isolation and disengagement. Applying gamification to your contact center’s work environment, like friendly competitions (KPI of the day!) team building challenges (junior/senior agent pair-ups!) and results-oriented contests (business goals bingo!), resulting in rewards that employees actually want, can create real engagement, excitement and connection for your team – essential for building greater job satisfaction.
Level the playing field
In addition to replacing outdated or ineffective software that might hinder rather than help agent workflow, it’s vitally important that your contact center software promotes equitable employee treatment and access. From the day-to-day needs of detailed customer journey info and effective workflow automation, it’s important for agents to feel that they are being fairly supported to succeed. By allowing equal, transparent access to agent-centred information like productivity tracking, scheduling and overtime opportunities, and feedback and training processes, you are creating an environment of open communication and trust that shows agents that they are appreciated and valued.
Reward quality over quantity.
Your contact center’s workplace environment and culture are absolutely vital to promoting team productivity, lasting agent engagement and ongoing business success. It’s important to recognize and reward agents’ efforts frequently, and in a capacity that makes a difference to them. Focus on their unique contributions to the contact center team, and measure their success by the quality and consistency of the customer service they provide, rather than the number of customers they deal with. And remember: rewarding employees well often costs much, much less than having to find, hire and train new ones!
Agents are a contact center’s not-so-secret power, and their input, motivation and commitment are crucial to helping your brand achieve its business goals, both short and long-term. By prioritizing support for your agents’ success and incorporating their feedback, opinion and experience into an effective operational strategy, you’ll strengthen your team’s workplace commitment and career investment, so that your brand can strengthen its customer relationships through agents who really care.
bespokeCX gives contact center teams the framework, tools and perspective to deliver consistent customer experience while building supportive workplace culture, lasting motivation and increased job satisfaction for agents. By maximizing operational alignment and engagement, bespokeCX helps your agents excel at providing confident, authentic customer service that can improve your brand’s reputation and revenue. Visit www.bespokecx.com to learn more.