4 ways to keep your contact center agents engaged
To the outside observer, advancements in modern technology have diminished the importance of contact agents. The telephone is no longer the only way to contact a company, and email and social media options are more appealing to a lot of people. However, those who work in the contact center understand a very different truth: engaged, experienced contact center agents are more important than ever, and their increased value is due in large part to this new technology.
Managing changing customer behavior
As companies have expanded self-service options on their websites and have adopted new channels, many questions have been eliminated or filtered through email or social media channels. While these mediums are adept at handling routine questions, they are poor substitutes for the customer whose question is overly complex or for the customer who is feeling a heightened level of frustration. These are cases only a contact center agent can handle, and the more experienced the agent, the better.
Keeping your contact center agents engaged
Retaining talented knowledge workers is more important than ever before. Doing so requires agents to feel engaged with their place of work. Companies can support agent retention by employing the following workforce engagement strategies:
- Make them feel valued. We all want to feel valued when we come to work, and this is especially true for call center agents. By the very nature of their jobs, agents can often be thrust into difficult situations. Rewards programs, longevity incentives and even a simple compliment or department-wide recognition can go a long way.
- Provide them flexibility. Because the work your agents do is largely done through a computer, in many cases it can be done from anywhere. Encouraging schedule flexibility—be it working from home or giving them input into their schedules—will make your company more appealing to talented agents and encourage retention. The minor investment you’ll make in work-from-home technology will be recouped easily in diminished hiring and training expenses.
- Invest in your agents. Your agents may work one interaction to the next, but when it comes to their careers, they are looking at the big picture. What are they working toward at your company? Make sure their career path is clear to them. Your agents should be able to recognize their organization chart, where they fall on it and what other roles may be available through promotion. This is also a great opportunity to showcase training and career growth opportunities available to agents so they understand all of their options.
- Hire smart. This is where it all begins, and when it’s time to make a new hire for your team, you can greatly improve your chances of future success by selecting the right candidate. Self-described “people persons” who speak in a clear voice or have experience in customer service roles are ideal, but what you really want are those who see your call center as a career opportunity, not just a job. Look for those interested in making a long-term investment in your business and they will stand with you in the months and years ahead.