Want to Find Out How Happy Your Agents Really Are? Here’s How!

Working out agent happiness concept with faces in magnifying glasses
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Experiencing issues with attrition and engagement, but can’t quite put your finger on what’s upsetting your frontline teams? Or seen a fall in eSAT and not entirely sure what’s driving it?

Here, our Call Centre Helper consultants panel share their creative strategies for capturing and calculating advisor satisfaction.

This can help you think beyond annual surveys and build a more accurate picture of what’s really driving (and diminishing) advisor satisfaction.

15 Ways to Find Out How Happy Your Agents Are

Here are 15 better ways to understand how your agents think and feel about working in your contact centre:

1. Ask Yourself “How Quickly Are They Leaving After Their Shift?”

Nathan Dring, Founder and Director of Nathan Dring and Associates Limited
Nathan
Dring

A simple indication that agents aren’t that happy will be the speed with which they leave after their shift.

If they have their coat on and are out the door within 1 minute of their shift ending, then it points to a workforce who aren’t that happy or connected.

Also, remember, happiness is an output metric. Organizations need to focus on the inputs and then happiness will be indicated and evidenced through service metrics, observable behaviours, and customer conversations.

Contributed by: Nathan Dring, Founder and Director of Nathan Dring and Associates Limited

2. Give Agents a Blob Tree to Express How They Are Feeling

Gemma Carter-Morris
Gemma
Carter-Morris

Regular check-ins can help to build trust between teams and their managers, as well as improve communications, identifying any issues early on so that they can be dealt with.

The Blob Tree (developed by renowned behavioural psychologist Pip Wilson) is a really nice way for individuals to express how they are feeling by colouring in ‘blobs’.

Individuals can share as much or as little as they want, but it gives a good sense of where people are at currently.

It can also be useful to track where people are, which can give some data on satisfaction, and if there are certain times when individuals may not be feeling so positive as other times, which can then be looked into.

Contributed by: Gemma Carter-Morris, Director of Wellbeing and Client Relationships at Next Steps Consulting

Free Printable Download – The Blob Tree

Do you want to download The Blob Tree to share with your team?

Get your free download of the The Blob Tree now:

The Blob Tree Free Download
Free Blob Tree in Printable PDF Format
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Date Added: 10 July 2024
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File Size: 104 KB
Category: Tools
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3. Run a Stop/Start/Continue Survey Anonymously

Clayton Drotsky, Director at Growth Crew Ltd
Clayton
Drotsky

Run a thorough a Stop/Start/Continue survey and gather the following information anonymously from every agent:

  • What should my team/business Stop doing?
  • What should my team/business Start doing?
  • What should my team/business Continue doing?

This is a really good way to capture these insights, but it will only work if there is great discipline from the leaders when it comes to working through the results with the team, identifying quick wins and fundamental issues as well as communicating progress.

Contributed by: Clayton Drotsky, Director of Growth Crew Ltd

For advice on making sure your staff surveys truly engage your teams and drive actionable results, read our article: 29 Ways to Transform Your Call Centre Staff Surveys

…Or Gather Your Team in a Room With 3 Flipcharts

Pierre Bauzee, a certified Customer Service Trainer and Consultant, and the Founder of Beyond Satisfaction.
Pierre
Bauzee

You can also carry out regular Stop, Start and Continue activities face to face, gathering your team in a room with 3 flipcharts to share (as a group) what they would like the team/business to stop, start and continue doing moving forward – using a flipchart for each of the three discussion points.

The goal is to get each team to share their answers all together in an open discussion and then rotate so every group does each point. Once it is done, you can turn the meeting into an open discussion and agree actions to implement accordingly.

Note, also spend time explaining why specific actions cannot be implemented in order to show transparency and bring clarity as to why some things cannot go the way they want.

Contributed by: Pierre Bauzee, Founder of Beyond Satisfaction

4. Apply the WAIT (Why Am I Talking) Rule

Sit down with every one of your agents and a couple of cups of tea and ask them if they enjoy working for you.

If not, why not? You will be amazed at what they tell you. Compile the results.

Applying the WAIT rule (Why Am I Talking) is also good practice. You are trying to find out what they think, not what you think!

Contributed by: James Lawther, Director of Squawk Point Consulting, and author of ‘Managed by Morons’

5. Create a Management-Free Initiatives Team

Create a management-free initiatives team who meet to come up with ideas for fun initiatives to increase productivity and fun.

One person from the team should then be tasked with taking these ideas to management.

Initially, this team starts with new ideas focused on the fun initiatives, but soon and naturally, the scope of the focus widens, and many more ideas are uncovered, as well as suggestions which help in many other areas – which ultimately help to improve agent satisfaction.

Contributed by: Dara Kiernan, leadership development and contact centre consultant

If you are looking for more advice on how to make working in a contact centre fun, read our article: Ways to Make Working in a Contact Centre Fun

6. Capture Mood Scores to Tackle Issues in Real Time

Garry Gormley, Founder, CEO - FAB Outsourced Solutions
Garry
Gormley

Pulse surveys and mood scores can make a big difference!

Don’t wait for an annual survey that’s not always completed by everyone and not always representative of the feelings of your own team.

Instead, use regular pulse checks and mood scores to capture real-time and more meaningful feedback.

Ask the team “what’s your mood score?” using a number rating and description or smiley face indicating their mood, and ask them what’s the one thing they can do to most positively impact their mood today AND what’s the one thing they need from you as the leader to support them.

This tackles issues in real time and allows the team a voice to ask for support and air any problems or issues impacting their mood.

Contributed by: Garry Gormley, Founder, CEO – FAB Outsourced Solutions

7. Create Opportunities for Structured Venting

Matt Lyles, Keynote Speaker, Brand Consultant and Podcast Host at Matt Lyles & Co LLC
Matt
Lyles

Sometimes you just need to let your agents vent! But that venting needs to be done in a way that follows a consistent format, one where your agents understand what they should share and how they should share it.

Enter structured venting – a practice that not only decodes dissatisfaction but also boosts morale and fosters a transparent culture.

Structured venting can allow agents to voice their frustrations and concerns in an organized, constructive manner.

This isn’t about airing grievances haphazardly; it’s about creating a psychologically safe space for open dialogue and unearthing issues before they fester.

Think of it as a therapy session combined with a detective’s investigation – therapeutic for agents and revealing for management.

Airbnb has mastered the art of structured venting with its “Elephants, Dead Fish, and Vomit” practice. In company-wide meetings, employees are encouraged to discuss:

  • Elephants – The big issues that everyone seems aware of but just isn’t addressing.
  • Dead Fish – Past problems that have been dealt with, but where their effects are still, um, lingering.
  • Vomit – Things that employees need to share and just want someone to listen to them.

This practice has been pivotal to Airbnb’s vibrant company culture, ensuring everyone feels heard and valued.

Contributed by: Matt Lyles, Keynote Speaker, Brand Consultant and Podcast Host at Matt Lyles & Co LLC

8. Produce Charts to See What’s Happening

James Lawther
James
Lawther

Create a measure. It doesn’t matter what measure you use, so long as you use it consistently. If you are stuck for ideas, try an agent (rather than a customer) centred variation of CSAT or NPS.

Next, send an anonymous voluntary survey to your employees and calculate the score. If you aren’t prepared to receive anonymous feedback or need to jump up and down until everybody fills the survey in, that tells you all you need to know.

Low response rates are an excellent indication of employee (dis)satisfaction. Repeat the survey every six months to see if things are improving.

At the end of the process, produce two charts (a trend line of satisfaction over time and the biggest drivers of dissatisfaction) to see what is happening and be clear about what you are doing.

A trend line of satisfaction over time and the biggest drivers of dissatisfaction

At the risk of stating the obvious, if you aren’t going to do anything with the results, it is probably best not to ask in the first place!

Contributed by: James Lawther, Director of Squawk Point Consulting, and author of ‘Managed by Morons’

9. Make Time for Small Talk to Build Better Relationships With Your Agents

Mike Aoki, President of Reflective Keynotes Inc
Mike
Aoki

Coaching sessions should go beyond performance improvement to strengthening relationships. This is especially true if you have a hybrid or fully remote team.

Think about it this way: casual office interactions – around the lunchroom or while waiting for an elevator – provide relationship-building opportunities with on-site agents. However, working from home reduces opportunities for casual interactions.

That makes every Zoom call or Slack chat with your remote agents precious. So, take time during coaching sessions to also ask how the agent is doing.

Find out how they feel about their role, the company, and its direction. Make “small talk” and ask if they need anything to support them in their role. It’s all about building relationships and engagement with your agents.

Contributed by: Mike Aoki, President of Reflective Keynotes Inc.

10. Look for What Your CX Metrics Are Also Telling You About Your Agents

Adam Boelke headshot image
Adam
Boelke

Low Customer Satisfaction scores can indicate low employee engagement as agents can tend to view customer interactions as mere transactions rather than opportunities to create great customer experiences.

High attrition is one of the primary indicators of low engagement too! Disengaged employees may not prioritize being on time or present, affecting absenteeism and poor schedule adherence.

Average Handle Time (AHT) also can be affected due to inefficient call control or disengaged employees using after-call work (ACW) as breaks.

Contributed by: Adam Boelke, Managing Partner at The Alignment Advantage Group

Obsessing over metrics can distract team leaders from driving good behaviours in agents. To spot the signs and avoid this, read our article: Are Your Team Leaders Too Busy Chasing Metrics?

11. Monitor Social Media and Internal Forums

Dan Pratt, Founder & Director DAP Consultancy
Dan
Pratt

Agents often discuss their work experiences on social media and internal forums. Monitoring these channels can provide unfiltered insights into their satisfaction levels.

Tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams can also be used for regular check-ins and informal feedback collection.

You can take this one step further by implementing AI-driven tools to analyse communication patterns and detect sentiment in real time.

Contributed by: Dan Pratt, Founder and Director at DAP Consultancy

12. Keep a Close Eye on Your Team’s Changing Needs

Leaders need to spend time with their staff and understand their needs – and most importantly, remember that needs change all the time!

A 20-year-old ‘Dara’ has different needs to a 25-year-old ‘Dara’, who by 30 years old has different needs again. It’s important to regularly meet with your team to ensure you understand how these needs change.

By focusing on direct, personal interactions and simple feedback mechanisms, you can effectively gauge and improve agent satisfaction.

Contributed by: Dara Kiernan, leadership development and contact centre consultant

13. Try a Rose, Thorn & Bud Check-In – Instead of Asking “How Are You?”

The Rose, Thorn & Bud check-in framework gets individuals to think about what is currently going well (the rose), what isn’t going so well (the thorn) and what they are looking forward to (the bud). This gets individuals talking and thinking more deeply than just asking “How are you?”

The Rose, Thorn & Bud check-in framework gets individuals to think about what is currently going well (the rose), what isn’t going so well (the thorn) and what they are looking forward to (the bud).

This also gives good information for leaders as to what is going well and what some of the challenges are that need to be worked through to increase satisfaction.

Contributed by: Gemma Carter-Morris, Director of Wellbeing and Client Relationships at Next Steps Consulting

14. Conduct Exit Interviews to Understand Why Agents Are Leaving

Conduct thorough exit interviews to understand why agents are leaving.

This can reveal systemic issues that need addressing and build a better understanding of how happy your teams really are.

Contributed by: Dan Pratt, Founder and Director at DAP Consultancy

15. Understand the Example You Are Setting

Dave Salisbury
Dave
Salisbury

There is no single way to calculate agent satisfaction best, but one of the better ways begins with understanding who you are and the example you are setting.

This will be reflected and magnified in the actions, behaviours, attitudes, and lives of those you lead.

The leadership variable remains the key ingredient in agent satisfaction.

Like any spice, this variable plays a significant and often misunderstood or overlooked role.

So, ask yourself:

  • Have you given your teams an excellent reputation to live up to and learn from? Standards matter, and goals (especially stretch goals) help show the value of learning and growing.
  • They will follow YOUR example: what are you DOING to show you are satisfied and motivated? Do you embrace failure as an opportunity to learn? Do you discuss books you’ve recently read?
  • Are mistakes (failures) easy to correct, overcome, and understood as learning opportunities? Dale Carnegie offered sage advice, “… Make the thing you want the other person to do seem easy to accomplish.”

Contributed by: Dr M. Dave Salisbury, COO at D&C Consulting LLC

For more information on employee engagement and happiness, read these articles next:

Author: Megan Jones
Reviewed by: Xander Freeman

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