Building Employee Engagement in Contact Centers
By Donna Fluss
When a customer interacts with a contact center, they remember the service experience – whether the agent was pleasant, caring, and if they provided a satisfactory answer or resolution to the customer’s issue. Although a caller may remember a really bad interactive voice response (IVR) experience that makes it difficult for them to reach an agent, or an overly long wait time, they rarely remember or mention the technology itself. Since customer service, sales, and even collections are all about building rapport and relationships with people, it’s logical to assume that companies would prioritize customer and employee engagement. Unfortunately, however, there is a disconnect in this area, and it has a negative impact on companies, their brand and their bottom line.
In too many companies, contact center agents – the people who interact with customers more than anyone else in the company – feel like second-class citizens, and for good reason. When there is a company event, like a picnic or outing, the contact center cannot close down, so agents don’t get to participate. When the weather is bad and, for safety reasons, almost all other employees are told to stay home, contact center agents are told to come in or be penalized. (This is not an issue for at-home agents.) When the company is invited to close early to celebrate a holiday, contact center agents have to remain at their desks. And when the company is closed on weekends and holidays, it’s the contact center staff who are at work, representing the company and brand by helping customers and prospects. Agents know what they are signing up for when they take the job, but when reality hits and everyone else goes home, it can be disappointing – unless the company shows their appreciation, which can be done through engagement.