Employee happiness, engagement, and productivity are always central to a top-notch call center.
Gallup, for example, reports only 15% of global employees feel engaged with their work, with average top numbers coming in at an average of 70%.
The difference lies in how these organizations view employees and their responsibilities to them. Gallup says “exceptional organizations” create “a culture [of engagement] where […] employees can perform at their best.” Deloitte provides a similar perspective on the situation, except that the research firm calls it focusing on the employee experience rather than engagement or culture alone.
Businesses and call centers can build similar cultures and experience positive results—without spending thousands of dollars reinventing their workplaces or paying consultants. They can start with a small-scale initiative, such as the call center platform. Once they achieve success with it, they can replicate lessons learned across their organizations. Here are eight ideas on how to use the call center to keep agents happy, engaged, and productive.
Technology can improve agent happiness and productivity. However, it has to be the right technology. Too often, technological tools frustrate, rather than empower, employees. This can lead to employees using work resources incorrectly to procrastinate or find workarounds – both of which have security risk. To avoid those scenarios, businesses should employ call center technologies that fit their organizational needs and goals, as well as regularly train and educate employees.
Onboarding stems from the previous point. Agents should be taught how to use purchased technologies. Doing so offers several benefits, such as preventing costly errors and improving employee retention rates. It also helps new hires “hit the ground running” so that they become productive in a week’s time instead of a month. Onboarding processes should be examined regularly, though, to ensure consistent, positive results.
Mobility covers a wide scheme of initiatives. But it largely entails, as Microsoft says, “making it easier for employees to work how, where, and when they want.” Cloud-based technologies like TCN’s call center platform enable the concept, allowing agents to work on site or at home. These platforms works well in several scenarios, including businesses dependent on global workforces. It can also help businesses attempting to reduce their carbon footprints or attract younger talent. If employed, businesses will need to research ways to engage remote agents to keep them connected with the company.
But mobility requires accessibility. That is, it should be easy for agents to access needed information, whether it’s data about customers or their performance, regardless of their position inside or outside the call center. The best call center platforms provide access to those data sets. But they often go beyond that, making it easy for agents to act upon the information received. In doing so, agents can hold more informed conversations with customers and improve productivity and efficiency metrics.
While it’s not wise to automate everything, automating some things can increase agent happiness and motivation. ADP Research Institute finds 55% of surveyed employees view automation positively, saying it allows them to give more attention to more complex tasks and interesting projects. Automation gets rid of the “fluff” work and can even, as in the case of data entry, reduce errors.
Besides investing in mobile solutions, automating tasks, and purchasing quality technology, businesses should frequently investigate performance metrics. Such work requires effort, but the labor is critical to making decisions that benefit the organization as a whole. To accomplish the aim, businesses should prioritize patterns over single instances. Patterns point to customary behavior and often identify current or forming operational issues.
In addition to identifying patterns in the data, businesses should review numbers with call center agents. The frequency depends on the business, but a few businesses experience greater productivity and employee satisfaction through daily performance meetings. The meetings deliver opportunities to explore top performances, motivate agents, and align daily goals with monthly, quarterly, and annual objectives.
For additional information, watch TCN’s video about using metrics to inform business efforts.
Finally, businesses should identify ways to recognize top-performing agents. The recognition takes different forms, including gift cards and badges. However, the best method may rest with personalized praise. Highlighting the individual’s efforts and focusing on their strengths encourages them to work harder. While the work demands extra effort, it results in motivated, happy agents.
Increasing employee happiness isn’t a mystery. Businesses can solve it by buying call center technology that meets their communications goals and agents’ needs. Once they deploy the technology, they can then give attention to other “happiness” matters, things like metrics, automation, and mobility. If they do, they will experience happier agents who engage with their work and are motivated to speak with customers.