Featured Image for the blog: Your Frontline Agent Success is More Important than You Think: It's Your Ascent to the Top Ranks of Customer Experience or It's Your Downfall

Choosing to invest in your frontline agent success and happiness is choosing to deliver a better experience for your customers.

The average worker dedicates some 90,000 hours to their career over the course of their life. That’s more than 10 years of your life spent at work.

Now, imagine that of those 10 years, you only enjoy or find meaning in your work for one or two of them.

You wouldn’t be thrilled to wake up and give it your all each day if you knew you were wasting 8+ years of your life on meaningless (or unenjoyable) work.

But for many people, your agents included, punching the clock each day and working for the weekend is a reality. Employee engagement rates sit at a low 33%. And, lack of agent empowerment at work is directly linked to burnout.

These uninspired agents go through the motions, but they don’t excel at work or pour passion into their roles.

And that lack-luster attitude translates to a poor experience for your customers.

Years ago, MetricNet found that low agent satisfaction has a direct, negative impact on customer satisfaction, agent turnover, and daily agent absenteeism.

And years later, that correlation still rings true. 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.

Grow your agents and empower them to take ownership in their roles. Then, engagement will spike and so will your CSAT scores. Here are 11 ways to invest in your employees.

How to Develop Your Agents for Higher Engagement and CSAT

1. Improve your tools. Give your agents efficient tools and processes to increase their productivity.

2. Empower your team with more autonomy. Give your team the resources they need to be successful. And, clearly communicate how each individual impacts your company’s vision.

3. Coach more frequently. Serve up frequent coaching and training to your agents, so they can improve their effectiveness and customer approach. Some  67%  of contact center managers agree that employees need relevant and sufficient training to be satisfied.

Get 29 actionable takeaways to coach and train your agents. Fly through our quick guide on the topic.

4. Use the 5:1 ratio for positive to negative feedback. Praise your agents’ strengths more often than you criticize. Find out where your agents shine and give them more opportunities to show off their skills.

5. Develop a mission and vision for more meaningful work. An HBR study by Shawn Achor found that nine in 10 people would swap out higher lifetime pay for more meaningful work.

6. Give opportunities for comradery and connection. Create an environment where employees feel they can be part of a team. Encourage your agents to celebrate successes together (both big and small). And, build confidence and trust within your team.

7. Map out career paths. Talk to your agents about their long-term goals and develop a plan to help them achieve those goals. When your agents know you’re invested in their success, they’ll be more invested in their work. They have an end-game in mind.

8. Make your KPIs visible. You empower your agents when you give them more visibility into important metrics. And, when they can keep tabs on how they’re performing against those metrics. Set KPIs with your team. Then, go further and explain what each metric means and why it’s important. Share over dashboards to your agents so they can track these KPIs and keep performance top-of-mind.

Here are 13 contact center metrics to track and measure with your agents.

9. Offer constructive feedback. Four out of ten workers remain actively disengaged when they get little or no feedback from their employers. That’s too many. Feedback builds a healthier relationship between employees and managers. And, feedback gives your agents specific ways to grow and continue to do good work.

10. Support your agents. Part of developing your agents means supporting them at work and beyond. Push your agents to set lofty goals, be flexible when life gets in the way of work, and always bring your listening ears.

11. Create a mentorship program for further development. Pair agents together as mentors and mentees. Outline a program where your teammates can learn and teach valuable skills from one another. And, give them guidelines to follow for successful, lasting results.

Outcomes for service employees include an environment that fosters a sense of responsibility and pride. Employees feel they’re an important part of the team and the company’s success will radiate positivity down to your customers.

Instead of being met with lack-luster greetings and unenthusiastic help, customers will reach out to agents who are ready and willing to handle complicated problems with poise. And they’ll have better customer service experiences because of it.

Prioritize your agent experience and make employees happy. Discover more tips and learn about your agents’ states of empowerment, over here.

We originally published this article on January 16, 2018. We updated it for new insight on August 14, 2019.