Sure, it’s a cliché –– if you have happy employees, you’ll have happy customers –– but, it’s true. When you’re on a mission to build a great culture, don’t stop with employee satisfaction. Having employees who are content or satisfied coming to work every day is only the beginning. As a manager, it’s important to know the distinction between a happy employee and an engaged employee.
There is a direct correlation between your employees’ investment in your company and your customers’ loyalty and satisfaction. In 2016, Temkin Group linked employee engagement efforts with success in customer experience. The study found that leading companies in customer experience have 1.5 times as many engaged employees as those who fall short when it comes to customer experience.
Clearly, engaged employees must be a priority in customer contact centers.
How do you know if an employee is engaged?
Anyone can spot the employees who are unhappy in their job. They do the minimum for your customers – they’ll fix the problem (maybe), but not cheerfully. They complain about a boss or customers after every interaction. Or they’ll bad mouth decisions made by their peers and leadership. These are the employees who often contribute to the high turnover rates of 30 to 45 percent in contact centers and leave you with high costs and a load of HR work. Attrition gets in the way of success for your team, and it leads to burnout for management.
You can also tell when you have a satisfied employee. But a worker who’s merely content isn’t ideal, either. In fact, satisfied contact center agents don’t always put in much more effort than the frustrated ones.
They reap the perks of the free coffee, lunch, or occasional office parties, but their efforts will stay within the limits of their job description. Once they get a better offer, these happy employees are just as likely to quit as those who are dissatisfied. Employees, both satisfied and unsatisfied, can disengage. There are tons of reasons for this, and it’s not just about the money or those angry customers on the phone.
Contact center agents leave when they feel like their ideas aren’t heard. They leave when they lack resources, when there’s little room for advancement, and when they deal with poor training and management.
So, how do you spot an engaged employee? They’re the ones who throw themselves into their work because they’re invested in it. They want to see themselves and the company succeed. They go the extra mile to please a customer, to find ways to develop personal skills, and find ways to make your company even better. And, they stick around long enough to do so.
Through employee engagement efforts, you, as the manager, inspire your employees by offering an extra bit of energy and love to your organization. It starts with establishing a team culture aimed towards engagement. Create a habit of frequent feedback sessions and invite your employees to be honest. Internal tools and employee feedback software can help support you in this mission.
It’s easy to put employee engagement on the back burner of your managerial responsibilities. But, empowering your contact center agents has incredible benefits for your customers and affects your entire organization. I’m not kidding.
Engaged employees influence customer satisfaction.
Contact center agents who are enthusiastic about their day-to-day tasks will spread their enthusiasm to your customers and offer more enriching customer service. Data pulled from a large employee engagement study with ISS, a facility services company, indicated that frontline service employee engagement correlates with higher customer satisfaction. When a customer has a positive experience with one of your agents, they’ll be more inclined to stick with your company for future purchases.
Then, employee engagement leads to company growth. According to Gallup, companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 147 percent in earnings per share. Organizations with an engaged employee culture can see a 10 percent increase in customer ratings and a 20 percent increase in sales. And when employees feel a greater sense of investment in your company vision, your customers have a stronger sense of commitment to your brand.
With a greater investment in your brand, employees deliver more authentic service. Morale is higher when employees feel a sense of purpose in what they do. Better training and coaching gives agents the tools to help customers more efficiently and consistently. As Temkin found, 63 percent of engaged employees always try their hardest at work, compared with 42 percent of disengaged employees. Engage your employees to see growth, better performance, and happier customers.
Invest in your agents.
When your contact center agents are passionate about their work, and have a heart for your customers, you’ll have more loyal customers.
Not sure where to start? Focus on your agents’ professional development, value their voice, and be open to feedback.
Improve your employee engagement by creating a mentorship program. Head over to our post on the topic: Everything You Need to Know About Creating an Inspiring Mentorship Program That Lasts – and Fast.