The undeniable link between agent and customer experience is one that is often overlooked, if not forgotten, among customer service teams. Studies show satisfied agents perform at higher levels, and they also stay longer.
- According to Forbes, “87% of customer service agents who are ‘very satisfied in their job’ are willing to work ‘especially hard for their organization’s customers’; only 8% of agents who are dissatisfied with their job are willing to do the same.”
- Engaged and satisfied call center employees are 8.5 times more likely to stay than leave within a year (McKinsey).
It only makes sense then to focus on the agent experience as much as the customer experience.
“When employees aren’t happy at work, their interactions with customers can, and almost always will, suffer. Over the course of time, this can have serious repercussions for a business” (Forbes).]
Forbes continued, “Companies need to start putting the same effort into taking care of their employees as they do taking care of their customers. If even a fraction of a customer experience budget was spent on employee experience, there would be a huge return on investment.”
Optimizing Agent Experience
Keeping all your agents happy all the time can be a tall order, but keeping most of them satisfied most of the time can be achieved if approached in a holistic manner. There are certain strategies and tools you can employ to help facilitate agent satisfaction, and they fall into six categories.
- Motivation – You can boost agent morale across the board by instituting exciting contests and awarding Karma Points for a job well done. Create an online store to offer your agents fun prizes in exchange for the points they’ve earned.
- Recognition – Recognizing your agents publicly (among their peers) can go a long way toward increasing agent satisfaction. Use your company’s intranet or social community wall.
- Empowerment – Enabling agents to access their own performance metrics against their peers helps to self-motivate them to achieve similar levels.
- Socialization – According to McKinsey, “Agent satisfaction increases 32% when agents can socialize (with their peers) more than once per shift.” Putting mechanisms in place to facilitate this interaction (again, like a social community wall) helps boost morale, performance and customer service.
- Feedback – Enabling agents to provide formal feedback on their own evaluations… “One of the easiest ways to enhance employee experience is to ask for and welcome employees’ feedback (Forbes).”
- Learning – Skill deficiencies can lead to agent dissatisfaction. Train your staff with the unique skills they require to delight your customers. It’s a win-win scenario for the agent and the customer.
“Another critical piece of the employee experience is training and development. Employees should be equipped with the skills they need to excel at their jobs and have opportunities to continue to learn and develop. They should be able to check in and touch base with their managers to keep track of their progress and discuss any questions or concerns as they arise” (Forbes).
“There is a strong statistical link between employee well-being reported on Glassdoor and customer satisfaction among a large sample of some of the largest companies today. A happier workforce is clearly associated with companies’ ability to deliver better customer satisfaction — particularly in industries with the closest contact between workers and customers, including retail, tourism, restaurants, health care, and financial services.”
Quality customer service is a direct product of agent satisfaction. If you keep your agents happy they will deliver stellar service for you. To this end, companies should start focusing equally on agent satisfaction as they do on customer satisfaction. It makes sense. Their agent and customer retention will improve, as will their bottom line.