Pop singer Pharrell is currently enjoying worldwide popularity with his catchy song “Happy,” from the soundtrack of the movie “Despicable Me 2.” Yet despite his encouragement, not everyone feels that way all the time. It’s natural enough to be down sometimes, but if your call center workers aren’t feeling it, you might have a problem.
In a recent blog post, Sarah Stealey Reed, content director at the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI), reinforced the idea that happy call center agents lead to happy customers. She then went on to highlight some ways in which to bring out the best in your people.
“A great place to start is by asking your agents how they feel about your company, your contact center and your customers,” Reed said. “But don’t just ask them how satisfied they are; you also need to understand their engagement. While satisfaction will tell you if an agent is content, ‘engagement’ will identify an agent’s loyalty, connection, and emotional commitment to their role.”
And it’s not just a “feel good” exercise, either.
“Those contact centers that don’t measure agent engagement miss out on a vital feedback loop,” Reed observed. “Consider this: 85 percent of contact center leaders believe that happy agents make happy customers, and 65 percent see a connection between the agent’s engagement and a better customer experience. Another 66 percent have identified linkages between operational efficiency and agent engagement and satisfaction.”
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Those are some impressive numbers, and help make the case for assuring agent contentment with their jobs. But there’s more.
“An engaged agent doesn’t just come to work every day,” Reed said. “They participate in department and company activities, interact with your brand on social media after they go home at night, volunteer for committees, and make their voice heard for the betterment of the team. An unhappy and disengaged agent acts remarkably different.”
Who among us hasn’t seen how one disgruntled worker can start to infect the whole team? And surprisingly, it’s not just the job that affects how workers feel.
“Happy agents mostly want recognition and appreciation, according to preliminary results of an ongoing inContact/ICMI survey,” Reed noted. “And it’s easier to give them that when they are doing a great job aided by the contact center’s infrastructure.”
The survey shows that happy agents want to be empowered. They want to make customer decisions and communicate in a personalized voice. “This is possible by having the right QA, training, routing, and workforce management processes in place,” Reed said. “Almost half of agents say they’ve requested additional training and 31 percent say that the training they’ve received for new channels – like social – is inadequate.”
Clearly, contact center managers have their work cut out for them, and the best place to start is with the workers themselves. Obviously, a simple “thank you” can be immeasurable in the grand scheme of things. It won’t solve all your problems, but it just might get them singing that “Happy” tune to themselves.