Company leaders leave $483 to $605 billion on the line each year by brushing employee engagement and empowerment under the rug. That’s the astronomical cost of lost productivity from actively disengaged workers in America.
Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report found that only 33 percent of employees are engaged at work. That means two-thirds of the American workforce is either coasting through their workday or they’ve completely checked out at work.
For your contact center, it means your customers have twice the chance of talking to an agent who isn’t invested in their success as they do an agent who’s dedicated to delivering the best service.
Engagement at work has been stuck for years. Kind of like CSAT scores. (Coincidence?) You have the power to fix both. As a manager, focus on your agents’ engagement and empowerment, first, and your bump in CSAT will follow. Better customer satisfaction comes with a bigger commitment and higher price tag, but fostering a team of happy and empowered agents sets you on the right path.
Your agents crave better coaching and feedback, more obtainable metrics, a positive work environment, and growth. It’s a lot to take on, but with results like saving your employees from burnout and your customers from frustrating experiences, it pays off.
Make strides towards a better agent experience and get the data to build a business case with these 8 can’t-miss statistics from Gallup’s Report.
1. Only 22 percent of employees think their company’s leadership team has a clear direction for the company.
A lack of communication, transparency, and purpose leaves organizational trust at a stand-still. Agents who aren’t connected to a common cause disengage at work, then burn out. According to customer service and employee empowerment expert Jeff Toister, it’s called learned helplessness. When employees feel a company isn’t fully dedicated to helping customers (Read: having a direction for the company), their jobs become unimportant. If company leaders don’t know what they want for the future of a company, how can agents feel secure in their roles and with their potential for growth?
Bring clarity and transparency to your agents’ roles and your company’s direction. Chances are high that well over 22 percent of company leadership teams have a direction for the company in mind. But sub-par company communication or an exec team wearing a cloak of invisibility can cloud the visibility of that direction.
2. Remote workers make up almost half of today’s workforce.
Those remote employees clocked more hours than their in-office counterparts, too. Likely because 53 percent of employees say a role that allows them to have greater work-life balance is very important to them. And employees are more engaged and productive when their needs are met.
Empower your employees with the trust and autonomy that comes with more flexible schedules. You need your agents online at certain hours of the day to meet customer expectations, sure. But global cloud technology makes work possible from anywhere. The demand for a life that fits work into a person’s schedule rather than work that fits life into a schedule isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Embrace it and be flexible.
3. A whopping 91 percent of employees left their company the last time they changed jobs.
That means only 9 percent of employees were able to grow WITH their current organization.
Disengagement spikes when you don’t make your employees’ futures with your company clear. Actively disengaged employees seek out a new workplace twice as often as engaged employees.
As a manager, you’re in charge of giving employees a compelling reason to grow with your company. You might not be able to reign in the budget to promote your team members regularly but work with HR and your leadership team to make it compelling for your agents to stick around. Only then do you stand a chance at reducing your taxing and costly attrition rate.
4. A slim 12 percent of employees feel like their companies do a great job onboarding new employees.
If you hire 50 new agents this year, only 6 of them will be satisfied with the initial training they get. Bad onboarding and poor training don’t set your frontline agents up for success. Instead, your agents lack the confidence and preparedness they need to deliver frictionless experiences for your customers. They worry about what’s missing from their company-terminology vocabulary instead of focusing on building conversational customer relationships.
Improve your agents’ training, starting with onboarding. Be a resource for your team and provide actionable and relevant coaching moments from the get-go. Stash training resources and short micro-learning lessons in their contact center platform, so they don’t have to leave their desktop window to soak in knowledge. And, pair new agents with more experienced team members during onboarding so they better grasp how you help customers and what your company offers.
5. Only 21 percent of employees feel like they have the performance management they need to do outstanding work.
Your agents need more frequent feedback, clear goals, and visible KPIs to know how they’re performing, then to improve further. When only one-fifth of employees feel like they can do outstanding work, 79 percent of your customer interactions fall into the hands of agents who aren’t confident in their ability to deliver incredible service.
Review KPIs and goals often to manage performance. But, use data for accountability, not as the ultimate authority to regulate your agents’ performance.
As you review goals and KPIs, develop your agents where they need help, too. You’ll improve their performance by squashing the chance of recurring mistakes. That’s the kind of support and management they need to do outstanding work.
6. Some 20 percent of employees say they’ve had a conversation with their manager in the past 6 months about what they can do to reach their goals.
Wow. Six months is a LONG time to go without a conversation about how to reach goals. Especially when employees who’ve had conversations about goals are 2.8 times more likely to be engaged than other employees. Skipping developmental conversations with your agents puts their engagement and empowerment at risk.
In your 1:1 conversations with agents, talk about your agents’ goals, your team goals, and your company goals. Connect their daily tasks to the end-game your contact center and company have in mind. Plus, walk through tips and tactics to help each agent reach their personal and professional goals.
7. About 23 percent of employees think their managers give them meaningful feedback.
More than three-fourths of your team members are skating by without feedback that helps them grow or gives them the congratulations they deserve. Whether your agent knocks an interaction out of the park or tenses up on the phone, meaningful feedback empowers them in future interactions.
If your agents nailed it, your feedback reassures them they’re a problem-solving powerhouse. They’ll keep up the fantastic work in hopes of getting similar praise later on. And if your agents missed the mark, your feedback helps them course-correct next time around. Their confidence doesn’t take a hit because you give them the input they need to improve in the very next interaction.
Give your agents actionable and relevant feedback often. Use call transcriptions and in-line feedback to point out moments for improvement or moments to put on repeat. Be a resource for your team and watch your most-valued metrics trend upward.
8. Roughly 21 percent of employees say they have performance metrics within their control.
Only measuring KPIs out of your agents’ control crushes autonomy. Your agents won’t work to improve their performance or find new ways to help customers because they’ll always think metrics are out of reach. The angry customer call that sets Average Handle Time off the charts will diminish your agent’s positive attitude and perseverance for the rest of the day.
When uncontrollable metrics start to slip, your agents check out and chalk the day up as a loss. Then your customers get apathetic help, and the rest of your daily KPIs tank, too. With one frustrating experience sending 33 percent of customers into the arms of your competitors, your contact center can’t afford a team full of agents who don’t feel in control of their outcomes.
Rethink what you measure and what it means for your agents. Rope in more human metrics that account for factors beyond your agents’ efficiency and effectiveness. Measure your agents’ holistic experience at work, not just hard and fast KPIs you use for accountability.
Your agents, your customers, you, and your company all suffer when the employee experience suffers. Don’t just slap a Band-Aid on the broken aspects of your AX. It won’t be sticky enough to leave a lasting positive impact. Instead, change the culture of your contact center for the better.
Learn more about how to measure your agents’ efficiency, effectiveness, and empowerment to harness more complete data to coach and train your team. Ask us about the Agent Experience Score.