The past year has seen a surge in job resignations. In the UK, 19 million workers reportedly handed in their notice between March and July 2021, leaving more than 10 million job vacancies. And it is a trend that is set to continue. A recent survey of 1,000 UK workers revealed that almost a third (29%) are considering moving to a new job this year. It’s become clear that employee engagement, the emotional commitment the employee has to the organisation and its goals, is in turmoil.
According to Judith Schuder, VP of Marketing - EMEA Enghouse Interactive, a high level of employee engagement is especially critical in contact centres, as agents are the frontline to their organisation’s customers. Engaged agents will go the extra mile to help customers and deliver an enhanced level of service, as they know happy customers are key to the company's success. That’s why it is so important that contact centres look to build a positive relationship with their frontline staff in every interaction: from recruitment through onboarding to retention. Here, she explores that critical cycle and considers how businesses can best attract and keep their agents at every stage.
Attraction and recruitment
The recruitment process for new agents starts with the job advert. For any business the role of the contact centre agent is key. These are the company’s frontline staff. How they interact with customers will impact the reputation of the business. It is a role where warmth, empathy and effective communication skills are all crucial.
To attract these kinds of employees, job adverts should be engaging; create a buzz and highlight the culture of the organisation. There should be an emphasis on incentives, benefits, and tailored professional development.
Retention is the key
Once the new employee is on board, the focus of the business switches from recruitment to retention. And when times are tough, it is more important than ever for the organisation to keep its best customer-facing employees to maintain customer satisfaction.
The Great Resignation is negatively affecting the customer experience. Knowledge transfer conducted before agents leave the business is typically insufficient to ensure the organisation’s understanding of individual customers is not diminished. Furthermore, low staff levels within contact centres often cause longer wait times and intermittent service for customers.
Any focus on employee engagement in this context must encompass the need to protect wellbeing. Agents have been through tough times over the past couple of years. Like employees across many other sectors, many had to switch to working from home at the outset of the pandemic and many still work remotely or in a hybrid role.
To create happy employees, employers should consider flexible working rosters, especially for those with difficult domestic environments or commitments. They also need to encourage agents to take regular breaks and get sufficient exercise. Finally, it is also important not to neglect training for contact centre workers.
While agent wellbeing is critically important, so is enthusing and incentivising the contact centre workforce. Making the job of the contact centre agent fun and engaging should be a key goal of any business that values frontline staff.
Why agent engagement matters
Agent engagement is critically important to the success of every customer-facing business operating today. Agents that are engaged and motivated perform well, helping ensure the business is delivering optimum levels of service to customers. Engaged agents will be focused on increasing first contact resolution (FCR) rates and improving the customer experience (CX). And that will translate to the bottom line in the form of reduced costs, increased profits, and long-term business success.