Smart businesses have turned the pandemic to their advantage, transforming and elevating the status of the customer service department. As consumer expectations rise, the contact centre takes centre stage and agents star in the lead role of brand guardians, with the power to boost customer loyalty and company profits. But stardom comes at a heavy price. Ninety-six percent of agents feel acutely stressed at least once a week.[i] For HR leaders, this presents serious problems in terms of day-to-day staff shortages, longer-term attrition or burn-out levels and recruitment costs. If your organisation is not ‘a great place to work’, how can you possibly attract and retain the best talent?
How to re-write the rulebook
As HR professionals, you have a critical role to play in re-energising staff. When it comes staff engagement, old tactics need to be thrown out the window and it is time to re-write the rulebook.
Create a positive work culture
Engaging staff effectively starts with a positive work culture that takes self-care seriously. It is driven by managers who lead by example, such as taking regular lunch breaks and holidays and building measurable, wellbeing-oriented goals into staff performance reviews. However, even the best contact centre supervisors need steering in the right direction. HR professionals can help by providing good-practice guidelines on how to identify major stressors or a DIY de-stressor kit for agents, full of practical tips to create a healthy work-from-home (WFH) regime.
Make agents feel valued
The contact centre is a goldmine of valuable intelligence but are supervisors leveraging their data to analyse the agent experience? Consider deploying the latest VoE (voice of the employee) analytics to capture how agents are feeling to identify those who are struggling and need extra support. Find out what really makes them tick. You will be surprised because it is not all about higher pay. Our own research indicates remuneration ranks third when it comes to the top reasons for leaving a company after ‘being unhappy in a job’ (36%) and ‘limited growth opportunities’ (26%).[ii] That is even more reason to make time for personalised coaching sessions.
Keep pushing for flexibility
After higher pay, agents want flexibility (at 34%)[iii] Forward-thinking organisations are introducing automation to help their supervisors drive remote and hybrid team flexibility with creative shifts and scheduling. For example, the time agents previously spent commuting can become an ideal window for agent e-learning and mentoring. Meanwhile, the latest self-scheduling tech and virtual assistants boost agent autonomy. Frontline staff can view schedule changes, build and edit their own schedules, add extra work hours on unscheduled days or even make partial-day shift trades with colleagues. I often hear customers say self-scheduling is a “brilliant idea” because the simple act of having lunch and taking breaks together helps – in their words “build teammate chemistry.”
Be powered by tech
Organisations that invest in agent empowering technologies keep agents motivated so they reach their full potential and the whole contact centre thrives. When Calabrio interviewed 250 contact centre professionals during the pandemic, we discovered agents welcome innovative tech driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI). Rather than put them out of a job, 40% said it frees them from tedious tasks so they can focus on the more fulfilling, higher-value services only experienced human agents can provide (30%).[iv]
Agents having to switch between multiple systems to find the customer information they need quickly is a major source of stress. Voice of the Customer (VoC) analytics and sentiment analysis are powerful tools that help agents understand the end-to-end customer journey with your brand and proactively improve customer service. Which makes analytics a sound investment.
Stay close with personalised coaching
Every HR professional knows meaningful opportunities for personal development and clear career paths are excellent retention strategies but they can easily fall by the wayside when agents are working remotely. Customers tell us their agents want training that is more frequent and personalised and many are adopting a data-driven approach to performance coaching to achieve this. Modern AI-infused analytics provide vital intelligence that identifies skills gaps to inform more effective training and coaching programmes. Another idea is to play to agent strengths, training them for different roles to boost morale and inject fresh ideas. Moreover, it is an approach HR can replicate across all parts of the organisation for a truly engaged workforce.
Now it is your turn to re-write the rules of staff engagement to attract and retain true customer service stars and brand guardians.
Calabrio is a trusted ally to leading brands. The digital foundation of customer-centric contact centers, Calabrio helps enrich and interpret human interactions, empowering the contact center as a brand guardian.
We maximize agent performance, exceed customer expectations, and boost workforce efficiency using connected data, AI-fueled analytics, automated workforce management and personalized coaching.
Only Calabrio ONE unites workforce optimization (WFO), agent engagement and business intelligence solutions into a true-cloud, fully integrated suite that adapts to your business.
[i] “Health of the Contact Centre 2021 – Agent Wellbeing + The Great Resignation” – report published by Calabrio in October 2021
[ii] “Health of the Contact Centre 2021 – Agent Wellbeing + The Great Resignation” – report published by Calabrio in October 2021
[iii] “Health of the Contact Centre 2021 – Agent Wellbeing + The Great Resignation” – report published by Calabrio in October 2021
[iv] “Health of the Contact Centre 2021 – Agent Wellbeing + The Great Resignation” – report published by Calabrio in October 2021