What is employee engagement in your contact center?

Don’t Be a Cynic About Retention: Engaging with Your Contact Center Agents Is More Important Than Ever Before

Today’s workforce craves engagement and empowerment in the office. And when they don’t get the engagement they need, they leave. But what is employee engagement in your contact center, and what can you do to keep your agents?

Your agents head for the door when they don’t like how you manage, when there’s a negative work environment, and when they can’t plainly see opportunities to grow with your company.

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement is how passionate your team members are about their jobs. It takes into consideration how committed they are to your company, and how much effort they put into their work. Measuring employee engagement looks at your agents’ motivation, involvement, or commitment to the company.

In your contact center, the foundation of employee engagement is understanding and valuing your agents. That means you support them in their work and their personal development. This engagement drives performance and leads your agents to better, more empowered decision making.

Because the contact center is the pulse of your customer’s experience, valuing your front line agents inspires them to share the insights they’re gaining from your customers. Inspire employees perform better and stick around longer.

Why bother with engagement?

Today, customers expect to reach you at all hours, even when you’re in bed eating popcorn and bingeing Stranger Things. They expect immediate solutions and easy fixes.

But, traditional companies struggle to keep up with these customer expectations and the rapid changes in technology.

High-quality customer service depends on properly trained, knowledgable agents.

But, contact centers can’t keep their seats filled. Contact center employees are undervalued and often treated as interchangeable. The agent turnover rate in a contact center, between 30 to 45 percent, is more than double the average of all jobs in the U.S.

We know what you’re thinking. If they’re going to leave anyway, why pour more time and effort into your agents?

Apart from being a cynical attitude to have, the constant ebb and flow of employees has a cost for your company. It’s estimated that with every new agent hire, a contact center can spend between $10,000 to $20,000 on on-boarding and training. Add on the cost of ramping a new agent’s queue. And, the emotional toll it takes on the agents left with queues longer than a CVS receipt for a $3 chapstick.

It is worth it to invest in employee engagement. You’ll see growth, greater customer satisfaction, and save loads of money.

Employee engagement impacts…well, everything.

Engaging your contact center agents impacts their performance. As a result, a high-performing workforce increases innovation, productivity, and, yes, even retention.

Harvard Business Review, found the top three factors that bring the most success to businesses are: excellent customer service, effective communications, and a high level of employee engagement.

And, the Aberdeen Group found that employee engagement is more than a buzzword. Let’s look at the facts:

  • Companies with an employee engagement program enjoy 233 percent greater customer loyalty.
  • Employee engagement programs help companies see a 26 percent greater annual increase in revenue.
  • Employee engagement program users are 7 times more likely to link employee performance with good customer experiences.

Companies with employee engagement programs excel at serving their clients and customers. So, embed company goals in the job expectations of front-line contact center employees, and those employees will move beyond being satisfied in their role.

Recent research shows that engaged and satisfied contact center employees are 8.5 times more likely to stay than leave within a year. They’re 16 times more likely to refer their friends to their company. Even more, they are over 3 times more likely to feel empowered to resolve customer issues. That’s a huge impact!

For more statistics on employee engagement and how it affects your customers, check out our recent post.

Strategies for engaging your contact center.

So, what influences engagement? McKinsey and Co. found that there are five top drivers of satisfaction for agents: promotion opportunities, connection to your mission, a sense of belonging, stress management, and job security.

Focus your managing and coaching efforts on those five core areas to increase employee engagement, and to go a step further and empower your team. There are tons of training resources and engagement surveys out there to help you establish a culture of coaching and feedback.

But, to make it simple, here are some strategies to improve engagement in your contact center:

  • Keep things simple. Give your agents priorities that are actionable and clear, so they know how to reach attainable goals.
  • Encourage camaraderie. Community is essential to make hard days bearable. Encourage your employees to take breaks, celebrate wins, and process with one another. Be a team, and value socializing to show the team that you support each other.
  • Create a culture of vulnerability and humility. Make sure your agents know they can come to you for help and to offer feedback. Managers can learn from their employees, so posture yourself to hear their thoughts, complaints, and ideas.
  • Improve your metrics. If you only measure efficiency and effectiveness, you miss out on key indicators about your agents’ experience and well-being. And your agents’ well-being impacts your CX. Use people-focused metrics, like the Agent Experience Score, to get a holistic view of your agents’ efficiency, effectiveness, and empowerment. Then, use the specific data points to see where you can improve as a coach and a manager to make work better for your agents.

These small ways to start engaging your agents are just the beginning. Also take time to consider establishing engagement programs company-wide to see a real impact on employee loyalty and growth.

If you need some ideas on how to celebrate small wins in your contact center to engage your agents, check out our blog on the topic: How to Keep Employees Engaged by Celebrating Micro Wins.