Agent morale can be a key indication of flaws in your business. Happy agents – those who are excited to be at work – can signify a healthy and successful corporate culture. Whereas stressed and overworked agents can suggest a business culture that is failing them, and most likely failing its customers. Interactions between agents and customers directly affect the overall customer experience. In fact, 58% of customers will never use a company again after a negative experience.
On the flipside, companies that are focused on providing a superior experience have seen a 10-15% increase in revenue and a 20% increase in customer satisfaction. So why do only 31% of organizations recognize and reward employees for improving the customer experience? If agents are incentivized and equipped with the right tools and training, not only will you see improved agent morale, but a boost in service levels and revenue as well.
Here are 5 ways to get your agents more excited and more eager to deliver excellent customer service experiences.
1. Deploy a Call-Back Feature
Call-backs have been proven to boost agent morale and lower abandon rates. Just take a look at this case study on Tech CU, which illustrates that call-backs not only lowered abandon rates by 37%, but found that their “call center agents also feel better about not seeing a queue of calls on the reader board.” Agents can now spend more time building relationships with their members rather than fielding complaints caused by long hold-times. With call-backs, negative interactions are painlessly transformed into positive ones, and that’s something agents can get excited about! To learn more about deploying a call-back solution in your call center, view our 2 minute video or book a free demo.
2. Allow Agents to Work Remotely
With significant advances in online and mobile communications, our work environments have changed. In fact, regular work-at-home has grown by 103% since 2005 and 6.5% in 2014. This represents the largest year over year increase since before the recession. Call center work, which is predominately completed over the phone with the help of an internet connected computer, is qualified to support work-from-home positions. So, how often should agents work from home? The latest telecommuting statistics tell us that, “two to three days a week seems to be the sweet spot that allows for a balance of concentrative work (at home) and collaborative work (at the office).” Revive and revitalize your agents by providing them with some work-from-home options.
3. Use Gamification to Drive Success
In an article by CRM Magazine, Vikram Bhaskaran, Director of Marketing Communications at FreshDesk said, “When support reps are bored or [un]motivated, they start making little errors, like typos or sounding irritable, without realizing it.” This is where gamification can help. According to a report by Aberdeen Research, organizations that deployed gamification have seen their annual revenue grow nearly twice as fast as their peers. With solutions like UserVoice Helpdesk, call centers can track and rank agents throughout their work day, which in effect stimulates competition and a more energetic and engaged workforce. Plus, gamification will dramatically raise service level performance.
4. Offer Professional Advancement
One of the biggest reasons why agents quit the call center is due to little to no opportunity for growth. Call centers tend to have a reputation for being flat organizations, but encouraging agents to build their skillsets can result in tremendous gains for both of you. Your agents know your customers better than anyone else, and rather than losing this knowledge economy, give agents an opportunity to grow. Let them apply for new job openings within your organization before you post externally. You’re bound to benefit from the extra effort being put in by agents who are gunning for a promotion, while agents won’t view their work as a means to an end.
5. Don’t Hire Toxic Agents
Your call center has developed a certain culture and in order to maintain that environment you must hire like-minded agents. If you start watering a garden with poison, eventually all the plants will get spoiled. The same goes for your agents. If you start adding agents who break down your existing culture and bring negativity to the table, even your happiest agents can turn sour. When AirBnb went to 24/7 customer service, they had to completely reevaluate their staff. As a company that thrives on delivering great customer experiences, it could only afford to retain agents that were happy about this change in operations. If you’re not sure what qualities to look out for in a good agent, check out “4 Signs You’ve Hired the Right Call Center Agent” to get a better idea.
Do you have tips to get call center agents more excited? Share them in the comment section below.