A successful contact center knows the importance of employee engagement and why it is essential. Understanding what an agent wants from the employer is the key to developing employee engagement.
For the purpose of increased employee engagement, the employer needs to make sure that the agents feel that the work that they are doing is meaningful and makes a difference in the contact center’s productivity and efficiency.
To achieve that and to be able to give their best at all times, agents should be provided with all the latest software and tools that have inbuilt support for various features like call recording, monitoring, conference etc. just like the best call center software. With the help of these tools, agents can effectively and quickly manage the multi-channel customer service.
However, only supplying the best in market facilities is not enough for increased employee engagement but by embracing and adapting to a more employee-driven work culture an organization can definitely achieve maximum employee’s engagement which is beneficial for the company as well.
So, in this article, we will see what employee engagement exactly means and how employers can develop that to build a better work environment.
What is Employee Engagement?
A lot of companies misunderstand “employee engagement” with “employee satisfaction”. While employee satisfaction measures the degree of employee’s happiness, employee engagement is the measure of an employee’s emotional attachment to their job, organization and its vision. This directly reflects in their behavior and the amount of effort they put in their daily work-related activities.
How to Develop Employee Engagement?
The following ways can help a contact center in gaining increased employee engagement and effective management.
1. Lead by example: Only when the employees see the top management or leaders exhibiting the behavior and characteristics they are being asked to follow, will feel inspired to follow those rules.
2. Transparency: When it is about employee’s engagement, this particular custom is very important. One of the main characteristics that drive employee engagement is trust in the management.
Once the employees feel that the management will follow the right course that will eventually lead to success and at the same time ensuring employees progress they will surely be motivated to deliver their best every day.
Transparency also helps in creating a co-operative environment and strengthening the management-employee relationship.
3. Be thankful: Thanking your employees for their work and dedication is a simple thing but it’s often ignored especially in large companies. Appreciation by colleagues and higher management is the easiest and surely the quickest way to create a bond of trust and build a strong relationship. This will also help in energizing the workplace and increase employee engagement.
4. Adapting to flexible schedule: We all know that contact centers are a tough place to work since they are highly structured. Unlike other professions, the contact center agents cannot take a break as per their need due to their nature of work. Allowing agents to adapt to flexible schedule results in increased productivity. There are certain good practices that the employers should follow for better team management.
4.1. Allow exchange of shifts at the same time having full floor coverage.
4.2. Allow agents to discuss internally and then finalize the days and schedule of work.
4.3. Update the team about any schedule change so the agents can adjust the floor availability.
4.4. Allow voluntary overtime and leaves.
4.5. Providing agents with an option to do work from home if needed.
5. Asking for feedback: Since employees interact with customers daily, they can provide valuable information regarding customers. The agents can share their insights about the practices that should be followed for better customer experience.
With the help of features like call recording and customer history tracking embedded within modern call center solutions, the agents can provide feedback to the management to improve the call scripts, customer surveys, and training methods. By following these practices the management can make agents feel a part of the decision-making process and contributor in overall business success.
6. Use of Gamification: Gamification can help the contact center management in motivating agents. It allows agents to consider their daily responsibilities not as a job but as fun. When they are having fun doing their tasks it inspires them to deliver exceptional results.
It is a known fact that when agents are focused and competitive they handle customers more professionally and with precision. This can be used as a way to motivate healthy competition between agents.
7. Focus on what really matters: Concentrating only on productivity metrics like number of FCRs, total closed campaigns etc. can affect agents badly as it forces them to do whatever it takes to complete their quota and reach the target.
This results in agents trying to end the call quickly which indirectly affects the level of customer satisfaction, which is the most crucial metric for any call center management solutions.
Thus, prioritizing more on customer or agent-centric metrics helps a contact center in achieving better results and increased agent engagement.
8. Investing time in training: Investing proper time and equipment like call center software in agents training helps them to deliver their best performance.
When agents see the efforts and dedication that the contact center has invested in their training and development the agents feel inspired to take care of customers and build a good reputation for their call center.
9. Recognize and reward: A good reward scheme is the best way to keep the agents motivated and engaged. It is basic human nature to feel good when you are appreciated for your efforts.
Good management knows the importance of appreciating their employees. This makes the employees feel needed and valued which encourages them to perform even better.
Once the agents feel that they are a part of the organization they automatically create an emotional bond with the contact center which is the key to increased employee engagement.
10. Empower agents: Every contact center agent must have ample knowledge about various technologies that they use for better productivity. Empowering agents to use their skills and knowledge to come up with new ideas and techniques can greatly affect employee’s engagement.
Allowing agents to work off the phone and along with modern virtual call center software can improve the overall process. This will also positively impact the agent’s turnover rate.
Let us take a real life scenario and understand how employee engagement helps in increasing the quality of work and productivity of the contact center.
The case study we will be considering is that of a travel agency company which was founded in 2013. The company monitors and records number of calls in their call center management software on a daily basis.
Though the company was consistently performing well still they were facing an issue of high employee turnover which resulted in reduced productivity. Thus, the management was eager to find the root cause of the problem and fix the issue.
To understand more about the problem they thoroughly studied and analyzed the calls and reviewed the agent’s reasons to know their concern and why the employees are leaving the company. After investing a lot of time in the analysis they found the cause of the problem and needed the following to control the situation:
1. Way to reduce employee turnover rate.
2. Implement various strategies to maximize productivity.
3. Find new ways to increase employee engagement.
Through their research and by communicating with the number of agents the management identified few points which were the main reason for agent’s turnover in their agency. They reinforced the new strategies immediately to see if that can help them in reducing the turnover rate and increase the overall productivity. The strategies implemented are as follows:
1. The higher management guided the managers to set an example for their agents. So, all the new rules were made in effect to the managers first and they were ordered to follow those rules strictly so that the agents are also inspired to obey the rule. This helped the contact center in setting up a more employee friendly work environment.
2. This new rule implanted a sense of equality between the agents as the rules were same for them as well as for the management. This helped in improving the employee-management relationship. And also added transparency in the work culture followed by the contact center.
3. With their investigation, the management found that most of the employees were unsatisfied due to lack of appreciation. They never felt that they are playing an important part in the progress of the contact center.
To overcome that, they arranged R&R (reward and recognition) functions every quarter to facilitate best performers and business contributors.
The top performers were interviewed and they were asked to share their experience with the team members which then get published on the bulletin board of the contact center.
4. To increase employee’s engagement the managers were advised to plan various fun activities like musical concerts, team parties, bring the family to work etc. frequently to keep agents involved and stress-free from their daily duties. A separate team was created, whose main task was to come up with new and innovative ideas to keep agents relaxed so they can perform better.
5. They also opened a separate suggestion page where agents can give their feedback’s and proposals keeping their identity safe which made them feel more secure and independent sharing their views with the management. It also made them realize that they are a part of the decision-making process within the company.
By implementing above rules, the management saw a considerable increase in employee’s retention rate and performance. Since the agents now feel free and much confident in expressing their thoughts they felt more emotionally connected to the company which resulted in increased employee engagement.
They also noticed a 20% increase in C-SAT (customer satisfaction) score within a very short period of 8 months.
From the above article, we can see how important it is to have an employee-driven work culture for a successful contact center.
Only when the employees are satisfied and are ready to give their full time and commitment to the company only then they will be able put all their efforts to deliver an exceptional customer experience.
By developing a culture which is more inclined towards employee engagement a contact center can benefit a lot since an employee-driven environment will have a positive effect on the customers which is the final goal of any contact center.
Thus, with the increased employee engagement the companies not only build trust in the relationship with their employees and boost their confidence, but it also results in improved overall system performance and better productivity.