The first and most significant interface of customers is with the front-end staff of a contact center. Even as artificial intelligence is replacing human interaction for FCR (first contact resolution) and self-service is becoming a demand from the customers themselves, human agents are still around in many contact centers who have not climbed the technological bandwagon yet. In fact, self-service is becoming the most preferred engagement and resolution support medium because customers were primarily unhappy to deal with ineffective communication with customer support at the business end. But it’s not all the contact center’s fault. Due to disruptive innovation, customer experience is taking an omnichannel mode and data has become extremely relevant to everyone. That’s why the impatient customer expects instant answers that agents may or may not be equipped with. According to statistics, companies that provide messaging-based customer care report an 8.6% profit margin as compared to 1.1% without messaging.
Responding accurately to customer’s queries requires skill, training and conversational etiquette and acumen. Agents have their own experiences and internal processes that affect their KPIs which in turn impact the bottom line of a business. The call center environment is not an easy one by any means. Stringent timelines, irate customers, and uncomfortable working conditions can easily demotivate agents and result in high attrition rates for contact centers. For a contact center, customer retention and employee retention both are crucial for profitability. Here are some of the key areas where agents can be motivated:
Empower Agents with Self-Initiative
Agents need to solve problems quickly or redirect the customer to the concerned person. All this needs to be done very quickly. An agent cannot afford to either pass the buck or hesitate in urgent decision-making. To address this, a contact center owner must attribute value to the agents by acknowledging their suggestions and validating their opinions. Implementing positive changes suggested by agents opens a door of fostering confidence and gives them a sense of ownership. When self-esteem and self-motivation of employees are addressed, they express more commitment to their task.
Create A Culture of Self Evaluation
It is a widely accepted fact that engaged employees are more contributory towards overall performance of any organization. Engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave the organization than the disengaged ones. Engaged agents have the potential to transform into high performing agents who go on to become advocates of the product rather than defenders and opponents while interfacing with the customer. Furthermore, engaging an agent with their own interaction data makes them insightful and less defensive about their shortcomings. Interaction analytics gives a 100% accurate report of individual agent interaction history and becomes proof of areas of improvement. It eliminates unfair evaluation and identifies gaps which can be covered by personal or group coaching.
Rewards, Recognition, and Incentives
Nothing boosts the employee morale more than receiving recognition of their efforts by the management. Investing in an HRMS software will ensure that periodic updates of achievements, acknowledgment and wishes appear as announcements giving the employee a very personalized place within the call center. Having a good HR team that implements effective motivation and work-life balance strategies bolsters agent and team confidence, making their work experience most meaningful. The organization wins loyalty and augurs high employee retention with this approach.
Usher in Gamification
As the customer is losing patience thanks to technology, so are the call center agent. Though rewards and recognition and incentive-based performance might propel agents into some amount of action, deepening their daily experience and assigning a value to everyday performance in a fun way is an even better methodology for agent empowerment. Microsoft employed a gamified performance and learning initiative to drive call center agent performance. Their goal was to engage in daily behaviors, develop skills and encourage sales in an exciting and interactive manner. It was found that the more emotionally engaged employees are, the better they perform and that there is a correlation between high levels of engagement and increased productivity. These behaviors augment profits, boost retention, and upgrade quality, among other benefits. Gamification also supports the learning phases of an agent lifecycle in a contact center which are:
Onboarding – When the organization spends time and money on the competency of a new employee till they reach the skill sets that align with appropriate KPI targets.
Ongoing learning – Covering knowledge gaps with additional specific skills and training.
Redistribution of knowledge – Once an employee achieves competence, they can share it with others.
TeleApps helps contact centers in empowering their own and their clients’ businesses with digital transformation and personalized customer experience management. TeleApps has a dedicated team of experts, products, services and strategic partnerships that aid in boosting contact center functioning. Read more about TeleApps here.