Many contact centers struggle with high agent attrition rates. Harvard Business Review estimates that agent attrition may reach up to 45% – at least twice the average turnover in other departments. High turnover anywhere hurts the bottom line. It also poses a substantial risk to business continuity and brand image.
Another significant concern is whether ongoing turnover in frontline staffing diminishes the overall customer experience. Whereas many businesses focus attention on delivering a positive customer experience (CX), these same companies often ignore the employee experience (EX).
If businesses hope to turn the tide of high turnover and improve employee retention, they must do more to keep agents happy.
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1. Offer Development Opportunities
Few practices demonstrate that you appreciate agent staff more than offering career development opportunities. Creating and implementing an employee development program can make your customer support agents feel valued. Not sure where to begin? Consider partnering with a third-party training or skills testing firm. These entities can be a great resource and provide access to high-quality, industry-specific training tools.
For instance, you can use Goodbay's Agent Certification Program as a resource to up-skill employees and prepare them to step into key leadership roles. Nurturing in-house talent and developing a management pipeline is integral to protecting business continuity.
2. Properly Equip Your Team
Customer support agents spend the majority of their day sitting at a desk and wearing a headset. Imagine how unenjoyable that entire experience will be if their chair is worn out, the headset frequently malfunctions, and the desk wobbles. Investments in properly equipping team members is a great way to improve agent job satisfaction. An ergonomic chair, a comfortable headset, and a well-built desk can lead to happier and healthier employees.
In addition to these items, you should also ensure that your customer support agents have access to user-friendly technologies, such real-time communication platforms. With the dispersed nature of today’s employee populations, it’s important that staff feel connected with each other and management. Tools like Slack and Zoom are perfect for this sense of connectedness.
3. Nurture a Positive Workplace Culture
Even the best office equipment does nothing to reduce employee turnover unless it is paired with positive workplace culture. Negativity, poor communication, and lack of clear expectations all diminish the work environment and contribute to high attrition rates.
Conversely, a workplace environment that is supportive can help employees look forward to clocking in each day. Create this by encouraging positive communication both laterally and vertically. Team leads and department managers should be trained on conflict resolution so that they can rapidly identify and eliminate friction between customer support agents. Management should communicate with employees multiple times weekly to engender a sense of teamwork and value.
4. Welcome Staff Feedback
Depending on your role, it can be tough to see issues from the viewpoint of line-level team members. Fortunately, this lack of transparency can be resolved by actively seeking feedback from support agents.
While there are many ways to collect this feedback, one popular option is to conduct anonymous surveys. Gathering agent insights in this manner is effective because it eliminates fear of reprisals for making negative remarks about the organization.
When reviewing feedback, it’s important to approach it as objectively as possible and make reasonable changes to improve workplace culture. As you build trust with team members, you can transition toward in-person or virtual discussions to collect feedback. These meetings should include a diverse range of team members, such as customer support agents, team leads, and C-suite executives.
5. Encourage 2-Way Communication
Typically, internal communications in the corporate world follow a one-way path. Business goals, initiatives, and directives are defined by C-suite executives. This information then should be disseminated throughout the rest of the organization via the established chain of command.
The last link in this chain is your line-level support agents who often believe that they have little say when it comes to the direction of the business. One of the best ways to keep your agents engaged is to ensure they feel heard and understood.
Accomplishing this requires enhanced two-way communication. Agents should be able to openly voice concerns or ideas to upper management. If you do not currently have a two-way communication mechanism in place, now’s the time to implement one.
Cumulatively, these types of tactics will help keep your team happy which will lead to a better consumer experience while also preserving business continuity. At Goodbay we know that employee engagement is critical to an exceptional customer experience. We’d love to tell you about it, contact Goodbay Technologies today.