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Why Won’t Anyone Listen to Me?

Why Won’t Anyone Listen to Me? 9/9/2013
By Donna Fluss
Verint Blog

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Contact center agents know more about what is happening in a company than almost any other employees in the organization, since customers are not shy about sharing their thoughts and opinions when they call. Unfortunately, few contact centers have a formal or even informal process for sharing this information with management. This is partially because agents are “tethered” to their seat, but the bigger issue is that they are rarely invited or encouraged to share what they learn. It’s ironic that a growing number of organizations are investing in applications to analyze customer inputs while ignoring feedback from their agents, who are closest to their customers.

While there are many reasons why companies don’t invite or ignore employee feedback, it’s a detrimental and costly practice that hurts organizations. To begin with, it sends a negative message to your staff, implying that they are not valued or appreciated. If a company does not care about its employees, why should the workers care about the organization? This creates a cycle of dissatisfaction, where salary becomes the primary driver for the employee. If another organization pays as little as $0.10 cents more per hour, it may be enough to motivate non-engaged employees to change companies.

It is costly to lose a fully-trained employee after making a significant investment in recruiting and training. However, an even bigger danger is when they stop caring about their performance but continue working for the organization, as this is potentially very harmful to your customers. Put yourself in the shoes of your employee and consider their perspective: If their employer does not care about them – the people who are working to make them money – why should they care about customers? Even worse, if employees are not satisfied with their jobs and feel as though their employer does not care about them, it is possible and even likely that this will come across in their voice and the way they treat customers. Unfortunately, it happens all the time, as many of us know from personal experience in calling contact centers.

It is surprisingly easy to engage employees, and it is very rewarding for the employee, organization, customers and your bottom line. Activities such as quality assurance and coaching, team meetings and up-training will make a big difference. Creating a formal employee feedback process, utilizing voice of the employee surveying to understand employee motivations, perceptions and potential business process improvements are best practices for engaging employees. For the program to be effective, the organization has to “close the loop” by taking action on feedback, which clearly and unequivocally communicates that staff satisfaction is a priority. When management invites employees to participate in these improvement programs, they feel invested in its success.

An even better strategy is to combine voice of the customer and voice of the employee feedback to obtain both an internal and external view of your organization’s performance. Your employees can be used as an early warning system or as a source of suggestions for helping to fix an identified problem. Either way, employee feedback can be instrumental in improving the performance of your company and improving its perception in the market. And you get the extra benefit of an engaged and loyal workforce comprised of employees who are strong customer advocates.