Catherine DeStasio of Serenova shares three “laws” to improve motivation, engagement and happiness amongst contact centre advisors.
Last month, the world changed – seemingly overnight –and organizations around the globe are changing with it.
For contact centres, this means finding ways to keep agents safe while maintaining business continuity and effectively handling volume spikes.
Hanging in the balance is customer experience.
Ultimately, the long-term success of your contact centre depends on motivated, engaged and happy agents delivering positive customer experiences.
But the COVID-19 chaos and uncertainty can take a very direct toll on your agents. Attrition may even increase under the weight of personal stress, leaving contact centres with fewer agents to handle more calls.
Fortunately, the immutable laws of happy, engaged and motivated agents remain constant – during and after crisis.
1. Agents Need to Feel Safe and Confident Before They Can Feel Motivated
The increasing threat of the COVID-19 outbreak has made personal safety and health paramount for contact centres. Requiring agents to physically report to a contact centre at a time like this puts them in very real danger.
If they can’t work safely from home, they are distracted, uneasy, and fearful – more concerned with their own well-being than with customer needs. Finding a way to get your agents working safely from home is imperative for their physical and emotional health, and the long-term health of your contact centre.
Serenova’s CxEngage Rapid Response Program was created to help contact centres accelerate the transition with a cloud-based contact centre platform that supports a remote workforce.
It gets agents working safely from their homes within 48 hours.
In this time of uncertainty, the rapid turnaround not only answers the need for physical safety, it signals to agents that they work for an organization that cares about them.
That builds loyalty. And loyal agents are motivated to do well.
But to make a work-from-home (WFH) team safe and successful, you need technology that does more than route customers to remote agents; you need solutions that bridge the personal connection gap between remote agents and supervisors.
Communication is critical. The changes are constant as global situations evolve and governments, businesses and people adapt. Agents will worry and feel confused and disconnected if they think they are out of the loop.
It is great for supervisors to have access to messaging functions that help them communicate effectively with a remote team.
Dashboards can be easily designed to deliver concrete benchmarks that once lived on familiar wallboards in the contact centre.
These features create confidence by maintaining continuity between the past and the new (remote) normal.
2. Engaged Agents Need Effective Tools to Do Their Jobs Well
Call volumes are rising exponentially in this crisis, and agents are feeling the strain. They have heavy workloads, feel time pressures, and interact regularly with anxious, disappointed and angry customers.
This kind of high-demand, low-control situation is highly demotivating, leading to disengagement, health issues and increased turnover.
Unfortunately, disengagement is nothing new. Even before the current global crisis, Gallup reported that 87 percent of worldwide employees were disengaged.
Organizations that struggled to motivate employees when they were on-site have an even greater challenge with an at-home workforce.
Agents need effective tools to succeed.
Regardless of where they work, an easy-to-use, intuitive interface is important for agent success.
Struggling to use complicated software, especially while handling spikes in call volume, will increase frustration for both agent and customer.
Interfaces that use an internet browser to enable agents to access familiar customer relationship management (CRM) systems from home are helpful.
Agents also need easy ways to get support from their supervisors. This is another reason why it is great to have communication channels that help advisors connect with supervisors and other agents in real time.
Feedback is given, questions get answered, agents and customers get the help they need, and satisfaction increases.
3. Agents Are Happier When They Can Focus on What’s Important
Working from home is challenging for many people. The clear beginning and end of a workday can get blurred, and the demands of working in a space that’s otherwise used for leisure can have a demotivating effect on agents.
Contact centres can engage agents by helping them focus on the behaviours that are most important for organizational success.
Quality tools can help accomplish this by giving supervisors a way to share feedback on customer interactions.
With these tools, agents receive actionable, immediate coaching that allows them to course-correct in real time. This level of guidance has a direct and positive impact on both customer satisfaction and revenue, regardless of what’s happening in the world.
Good Tools and Habits Have Lasting Effects
At this moment, it may be difficult to imagine returning to our former normal, but this crisis will eventually end.
Adapting to change while consistently following what is proven to work will help you navigate today’s uncertainty and prepare for long-term success.