Every contact center CEO faces these questions at least once a lifetime. To be honest, the call center is a structure whose success depends on the skills of contact center agents working there. First of all, we are talking about their creativity, qualification, communication skills, and customer-oriented approach. But how are you going to get the most of your team members without their satisfaction and a spark in their eyes?
There are many materials written and hundreds of coaching videos made to find answers. We decided to put all the information into one complex article, that you’re now reading, to tell all about call center employee satisfaction and help call center managers find the most effective ways to solve such problems as professional burnout or high agent turnover rate. After tackling these issues, there will be a big opportunity window to achieve results your call center could not expect before, such as a new level of customer experience and agent productivity.
Before we start to talk about every single aspect of contact center employee satisfaction, let’s consolidate the fact that your reps are the basis of your business and without satisfied agents, any sale and any deal won’t be possible. As their motivation to work rises, at the same minute your sales or customer satisfaction score, or other rates boost, so our task is to find all possible methods to increase their impulse to work and their employee experience. Now let's deal with everything in order.
Customer and Agent Satisfaction - what is the connection?
What is the profit of the contact center employee satisfaction? How can the level of satisfaction be calculated? Which employee surveys can measure it? Or is employee experience just an abstract metric whose influence can’t be counted?
Fortunately, there is a very important goal of every contact center that can be achieved only with a team of motivated reps – its customer experience. As Jeff Rumburg's research reveals, agent satisfaction has a directly proportional effect on customer satisfaction and on agent productivity at the same time. What affects customer satisfaction more, than qualitative customer service? And who can provide such customer service? Now you know there is a hitch.
Satisfied contact center agents have three important characteristics which let them destine perfect support for customers:
- Agent engagement - only happy employees who are getting into customers` trouble can deal with it. Employee engagement can be achieved by different methods, such as permanent coaching and a clear understanding of business purposes and principles. According to this, you will be able to build a warm relationship with customers and get more deals there where it wasn’t possible before.
- Ease in communication - contended agents will be more enthusiastic in bonding with clients, especially when it comes to listening about their problems. Even angry customers can change anger for mercy while talking with a confident, respectful, and competent rep. As a result, you’ll get more happy consumers paired with a great agent experience.
- The positive charge for everyone is the last and the most important component of the perfect employee. Only positive people can deal with any problem and make others smile even when they were shouting a few minutes before. Ask yourself, what is better - talking with a cheerful call center agent or with a boring and sad person who is speaking like a robot? Now you have an answer about what type of customer service people want. No employee engagement - no deals.
Evaluation of Call Center Employee Satisfaction
There are 4 most popular ways to analyze agent job satisfaction or employee engagement. Anyhow, they all are about employee satisfaction surveys, because you can get direct feedback from your reps. Here they are:
- Exit interview - a very controversial and the old way to collect data about an employee experience. The nuance is that you get feedback about issues that happened in the past. Anyway, communicating with leaving team members can indicate problems, which are stable in your organization, especially if different people designate the same points which have been disappointing them.
- Agent satisfaction survey - once a year or once a half you must organize such events. Employee satisfaction surveys are not only the possibility for your agents to convey their problems, but it is also a way to measure the employee engagement level in your company and get detailed insights. Use the open-ended questions which will reveal the problems in a team or management, such as:
What would be the reason for you to leave? What are the things you like the least in your work? What things would you like to change in your work?
- eNPS - another great agent satisfaction survey to look at your company from the outside. Well, it is not even an employee survey but a single question – would you recommend working in this company? Even though there are no perspectives for a deep analysis, you can fix problems quickly. Try to use this method after any big changes in your company to see the difference between agent job satisfaction before and after.
- Live communication - no employee feedback survey or formal interview can beat real-time communication. If you want to understand your team members and get into their problems, you have to talk with them. Honestly, direct communication can give you real feedback and it may be a great part of your company culture. On the other hand, you will be more trusted by your employees.
What factors are influencing agent satisfaction the most?
There are many elements of reps' engagement and satisfaction. Some of them have more influence, while others are mostly additional components. Anyway, this is a set of factors and all of them must be taken into account if you want to improve the atmosphere in your company and increase agent job satisfaction.
Direct customer contact
The fundamental feature of every call center solution is direct communication with clients via special talking. Every call center agent spends hours and hours speaking with different customers, and every one of them has different problems, different nature, and different communication features. That is also why call centers suffer from the highest turnover rates in the world in pair with high agent attrition levels. Difficult perception of criticism, bad stress resistance, and a large number of tactless customers contribute to the emotional burnout of agents. The only way to deal with this problem is permanent coaching and communication with call center employees to help them tackle the work difficulties and develop themselves as customer support representatives with a high level of qualification.
The positive and friendly atmosphere is a must-have for every business, not only for a call center. Anyway, in our sphere, it’s very important to implement and develop a comfortable work environment to let your agents cover possible negativity from communication with clients with a friendly atmosphere in the office. By the way, without strong and trustful relationships in a team, you will never achieve any efficiency, because it’s impossible without cooperation and communication. You choose your call center managers according to how it’s comfortable for you to work with them, and the same approach should be implemented for your customer support representatives.
Quality of equipment
Imagine how annoying and disappointing it is if your computer lags every 15 minutes, your headphones have an awful microphone, the call center software doesn’t have needed options and you have to shift between dozens of tabs. How much time will you lose not to work, but to make your equipment work? And now look at this issue from the agent`s point of view. Will they want to work in this way? Will they have any motivation? And what if some of your reps had an experience in other call centers, where equipment was much better? In this case, we will not be able to talk about contact center agent satisfaction. Here is only one conclusion - you should use only qualitative equipment to avoid losing income and employees.
Watch closely what’s with your workplace
There are enough research articles that state how badly the lack of workspace affects your productivity, mood, and motivation. We can’t talk about employee engagement before he or she will not get normal working place. This problem very often affects call centers, because many agents are working in one space, much more than in other organizations. But this paragraph is not only about lack of space - it’s also about what your office looks like. Even the colors of the walls affect our minds in different ways. Think also about the space to rest. Is it available and what does it offer? Answers to these questions you can easily get using employee satisfaction surveys or interviews about which we were talking about earlier.
Too much pressure on KPIs
Some call center managers pay too much attention to KPIs, even though they are sometimes not as important as it’s considered to be. Agents, especially newbies, sometimes require more time to be trained and even experienced reps often need explanations. The only way to achieve awaited agent performance metrics is to work in a team with your agents and help them to tackle the issues they will face. Using pressure will not give you anything, but misunderstandings, low agent job satisfaction level, and drawdown of all insights. Try to avoid being too severe and keep a balance between the needed pushing of your team members and inflated expectations.
Silent monitoring can be a problem?
Mostly, this feature is very useful to determine problems or to find issues in the agent's work directly during the work process with the use of options provided by the call center technology. By the way, this practice, if it`s used immeasurably, can have a bad effect on your agent satisfaction, so they will lose self-confidence, start to make more mistakes, and become less productive and motivated. To make your employees understand the aim of monitoring, communicate with them and explain that it is not to carp, but to achieve better results and make agents more professional themselves. There is no problem with using monitoring, but keep in mind that if you use this feature without explanation to our agents, it may cause misunderstandings.
Bureaucracy creates problems, you know?
Our century is the time of deregulation, finding new approaches, and the creation of new working spaces and the work environment. That's why in the era of modernization bureaucratic processes are not tolerated. How can an agent be satisfied if he needs to bring dozens of documents or visit an enormous number of departments to get a vacation, for example? A too formal way of communication between employees and call center managers is also a bad choice if you want to build a friendly atmosphere in your organization. If you want to achieve a rise in agent satisfaction, try to implement less bureaucracy and a less formal work environment.
How To Improve Call Center Agent Satisfaction
Now we know what makes your agents less satisfied than they should be. But how to solve this? There's a hitch to getting satisfied employees, who will work without laying hands and enjoy their job? How to find the right agent satisfaction survey score? We will try to answer this question and find the best way to achieve harmony in your company paired with high agent productivity and efficiency.
Make agents understand the brand's purpose and the importance of their tasks
When the new employee comes to you, he or she barely gets any aspect of the company. If there would be no qualitative and complex onboarding process, the agent will not be engaged in what he is doing. According to that, there will be no interest and motivation to work hard and to communicate with customers in the right way. As a result, no client satisfaction, no quality in your customer service, no deals - just a loss of time. All of these unpleasant nuances can be avoided if you will communicate with your agents about the principles and the goal of your brand. They need to understand their importance in the field of supporting your clients. Only if this understanding is achieved, you will get a positive customer experience and satisfied employees.
Train, coach, and train them again
We have several times mentioned in this article the importance of permanent training for your reps. The call center is a business where people need to improve their communication skills, stress resistance, and multiple task management skills from time to time. If such coaching will not be provided, you will get nothing but a high turnover rate and low-qualified agents who will not be able to provide good service. Try to attract call center managers to this process, too. Customer experience and excellent customer service are one of your key goals, and without trained reps, it is impossible to achieve.
Provide relevant information for your agents
Now we are going to talk about call scripts and knowledge bases, which will create the right customer insights. These features are the best way to improve your customer service via providing your reps with the necessary information to communicate in the right way. Call scripts can easily boost the KPIs of your agents because they are easy to use and they can be imported into call center scripting software. In this way, your agents will be able to work with scripts during the call and it’s a key performance indicator. That’s not only the way to make your agent`s work easier but to achieve higher client satisfaction and better customer service.
Simplify and automate call center processes
The more difficult any process is, the more mistakes it can cause. Agent satisfaction will be much lower if your agents will have to tackle some challenges manually, which could be automated by any call center software. Also, how would an agent feel, if he will have to gather information in numerous different departments, spending time, which could be spent to provide customer service? Tons of documentation also don’t motivate your agents. So the simpler the processes in your company are, the higher agent satisfaction you`ll get.
Collect your agents` feedback about customers
Your agents are the ones who provide your customer service. Data about your clients are gathered, analyzed, and processed by them, and client satisfaction depends on their work. Feedback from your agents about customer insights is the key to improving all aspects of your call center, so take it as an asset. This will also motivate your agents and make them feel their importance, so it is also a great option to get more satisfied employees.