Featured Image for the blog: Seven Ways Mindfulness Training Can Transform Your Contact Center

A buzzing contact center filled with agents on the phone and clicking keyboards isn’t what you’d consider an ideal setting for a moment of calm. It’s far from the yoga mat and serene lake you picture when you hear the word mindfulness.

But, as more studies reveal how mindfulness positively transforms the way agents work, contact centers are making room for a little slice of calm among the chaos. And, they’re seeing the benefits.

What is mindfulness?

According to mindful.org, “Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”

Don’t worry – mindfulness isn’t about training agents to say “ommmm” and sit in the lotus position.

Bringing mindfulness into your contact center means your agents gain perspective, maintain focus, and keep their thoughts and emotions in check. Being mindful teaches your agents to look at situations objectively, rather than sweating the small stuff and taking customers’ reactions personally.

With emotional reactions removed from high-stress situations, agents can act with urgency not emergency. They remain cool and calm in frustrating situations. And, they solve customer issues quickly and thoroughly with a clear headspace.

The proven power of mindfulness In the contact center.

Researchers in Canada wanted to see the benefits of mindfulness in a high-stress work environment, like a contact center. And yes, handling angry customers and meeting daily KPIs is downright stressful. So, the researchers conducted a study to see the impact of mindfulness in a contact center.

During the five-week study, 43 full-time call center employees in Canada listened to 10 minutes of guided meditation before work. Then, they tagged back in for five additional minutes after lunch. During the mindfulness moments, they learned the basics. Like, how to gain moment-to-moment awareness of their thoughts and feelings. And, how to cultivate feelings of calm and acceptance in the face of turbulent emotions – like their insecurities and anxieties on the job.

Agents participating in the study reported more awareness of their in-the-moment thoughts and feelings, and fewer feelings of distress on the job. All in all, their levels of stress, anxiety, depression, negative emotions, and fatigue decreased substantially.

To get a better view of how these changes impacted the agents’ work, the researchers sent CSAT surveys to customers throughout the course of the study. Over the five-week time period, customer satisfaction rose slightly. While the change in CSAT scores was only slight, it was a significant moment of growth for the company.

The researchers said, “Client satisfaction within the call center had been stagnant for many years, and they had made various attempts to increase it without success. For these managers, the extent of change in client satisfaction was thus important, meaningful, and useful.”

7 Ways Mindfulness Can Transform Your Agents

The benefits of mindfulness for your agents extend beyond just personal well-being. They dip into productivity hikes and increases in your customers’ satisfaction, too. Here are seven more powerful ways mindfulness impacts your agents.

It protects them from stress.

Research backs mindfulness as a way to lower the levels of cortisol in the body and protect the body from stress. When your agents are less stressed, they show up for their shifts and stay with your company longer. Plus, agents with less stress are more productive and more understanding during customer interactions.

Your agents see improved empathy.

Agents need high levels of emotional intelligence and empathy when handling customer complaints. Mindfulness helps agents stay grounded, even in the most difficult situations. And, according to one experiment, mindful meditation even improves people’s willingness to help others.

Mindfulness boosts brain power.

Paying special mind to the present moment has the power to transform your thinking, so you’re more attentive. That extra attention to detail and in-the-moment presence improves memory.

They get more focused.

Mindfulness practices teach you to tune out unnecessary distractions, improving concentration. It will help your agents stay focused on the customer they’re working with, ignoring the rest of the hustle and bustle in the contact center.

It keeps them healthy.

How does a little less agent absenteeism sound? In one study, people who regularly practiced mindfulness took fewer sick days from work.

It powers creativity.

Sometimes, your customers’ issues need a little bit of out-of-the-box problem-solving. One study found that mindfulness inspires creativity, so your agents can come up with better solutions to benefit your customers.

Your agents’ decision-making skills improve.

Researchers at UCLA found that people who practiced mindfulness for several years have larger amounts of gyrification (the “folding” of the cortex) in the brain. According to scientists, gyrification makes the brain better at processing information, making decisions, forming memories, and improving attention.

The benefits of mindfulness are clear – now, how do I train my agents to be more mindful?

In the constant buzz of the contact center, you’re probably wondering how you can create a Zen space for your agents to take a few moments for mindfulness.

We mapped it out for you in another blog post: How to Make Your Contact Center Agents More Mindful. There, you’ll find tips and techniques to help you bring mindfulness into your contact center. And, we talked about how our training tools let you queue up mindfulness lessons for your agents, so they can take quick moments to realign their thoughts and emotions throughout the today.

This post was originally published on March 20, 2018, and we updated it on January 25, 2019.