Despite advancements in customer service technology and automation, one thing hasn’t changed: people remain fundamental to the success of a contact center. Human customer service agents and their knowledge, capacity to troubleshoot, and empathetic nature ensure they will always be a necessity when it comes to assisting customers.
With this in mind, it’s important that your best agents are happy and engaged enough with their work to stay put and make your contact center successful. But how? Getting started is easy: you can read all about it in our latest practical guide, How to Foster Engagement in a Hybrid Contact Center, a rich report offering concrete insights and best practices for supporting your employees whether they’re in-office or remote.
This guide also breaks down how strong agent engagement can significantly boost revenue and overall call center metrics – two good reasons for call center managers to take their employee engagement seriously.
For a sneak-peak, and to get a head start on improving engagement, read some of the top tips from our guide below (and then download the complete guide here. It’s free – we promise!).
Employee Engagement Tip #1: Invest in communication
Communication can make or break any team, regardless of industry or function. This is especially important if you work in a hybrid contact center, where staff are both near and remote. Ensuring continuity in your communication when you have staff dispersed across the globe can feel impossible to manage and do well, which is why you should deliberately funnel more time and energy into resources to improve communication with your agents, and thus, their engagement.
Some ways to incorporate clearer communication protocol in your call center include:
Daily team stand-ups (or “huddles”)
Consistent contact with your agents via a daily meeting or ‘huddle’ is the first step towards improving communication in your call center. Using these moments to go over team successes, challenges, and upcoming daily tasks can reassure agents that they have frequent opportunity to access support from their team.
Weekly full-company meetings
Company-wide town halls can go a long way in improving top-down and bottom-up communication. Having a clear line of sight into what the company is doing, and giving agents a forum to address their concerns and offer their ideas to leadership, are both strong motivators.
Strong instant messaging channels
Encourage your staff to instant message one another internally. Set up Slack, MatterMost, RocketChat, WhatsApp, or another internal network to encourage open, honest, and constant communication within and across teams.
Employee Engagement Tip #2: Give them real benefits
Call center agents are at risk of being treated like temporary workers, which can naturally reduce their engagement and commitment to your team. This is why it’s integral to find ways to entice and re-engage them via incentives and benefits.
Benefits are ultimately a secondary form of compensation, and nearly as attractive to your staff, who see these perks as a thermometer of the way they are valued by the company. So, if you’re looking to engage or re-engage your contact center agents, rethinking your perks is a great place to start.
And you don’t have to bankrupt yourself to offer better benefits. Some low-cost ways of rewarding your top-performing call center agents include:
- Generous parental leaves or sabbatical opportunities
- Gamification and performance-based incentives
- Access to free helpful services (financial planning, meal subscription boxes, etc.)
- Free or subsidized professional development
- And more (view the full list here)!
Employee Engagement Tip #3: Invest in agent-first technology
In a hybrid call center environment, it is crucial to equip your agents with the tools they need to do their job well, including technology that makes life easier for them on the front lines.
A more engaged employee usually has the software, services, and equipment they need to be effective in their role, and makes it easier for them to handle enough enquiries to drive sales, solve customer disputes, and otherwise contribute positively towards your business goals.
If you invest in technologies that improve their lives, agents will feel valued, and will return the favor with higher engagement and top-notch performance. Consider the following ways to equip your agents during their toughest moments on the job:
Put a scalable call center software in place.
Invest in a premium integrated call center technology that also houses knowledge bases and supports agent feedback. Shop only for the highest-quality call center software that includes call-routing, cloud-based calling, and sophisticated reporting.
Help your agents tackle call volume spikes.
Show your agents love by offering them tools that take the edge off of stressful peak call center periods, including outsourcing overflow handling services. Another cost-effective option? Call-backs. These ensure your agents don’t get overloaded, and your customers aren’t waiting endlessly on hold.
Invest in AI to support your agents.
Leverage advances in AI that can ultimately benefit and support your agents, including the ability to forecast call volume spikes. Not only is this an affordable option, it also ensures you can easily staff-up or otherwise support your call center agents proactively.
COVID-19 accelerated many call center technologies that were already underway, providing many more opportunities to leverage tools that make your call center operations more efficient, which will help to increase agent engagement and satisfaction.
Like with any good tool, the time is now to use them, or lose them.