August 6, 2013
Want Happy Customers? Create Happy Agents!
Filed under: Entrepreneurship
It’s no secret that customer experience starts with agents. Obviously happy agents provide better customer service by feeling good about what they do. Agents are no different than anyone else in a company – they want to know that what they do matters. And they want to know they matter and are not just numbers on a dashboard that align with important metrics.
OK, so it sounds simple on the surface, but how do you keep agents happy, particularly in a virtual environment? Start with the basics and build. In other words, create a happy culture and then ensure excellent communication and tools. Here are some tips to ensure agents are happy:
- Create a Positive Culture – it does not matter whether you are face-to-face or working on a virtual team, keeping a positive outlook will do wonders to keep all your team members happy. If all conversations are about what metrics were missed, or how to do better, or what we did not accomplish as a team, it becomes a drag on morale. However, keeping an upbeat tone and focusing on positive aspects are keys to creating a positive environment.
Maintain the positive culture by making sure that you hire the best, and then praise them consistently. This praise must be delivered in an authentic way, providing genuine feedback on positive contributions. Celebrate often, even the small things, so that the team feels surrounded by positive feedback.
- Be Consistent – change is inevitable, but that does not mean that we should recreate the wheel every time a change is needed. Creating a stable environment that ensures agents feel secure will keep them happy. If you have to rebuild your system every time a new level for a metric is introduced, the agents become unsure, frustrated and unclear on the expected outcomes. Providing consistency in a virtual environment requires setting up good processes, explaining the processes frequently and thoroughly, and documenting as much as possible for future reference.
On those occasions that a change is necessary, have a change process so that the communication is consistent, marked appropriately so agents know this is a change, and is easily understood.
- Communicate, then Communicate Again – provide information in multiple ways. Give agents access to a dashboard with pertinent metrics so they are constantly in tune. Send emails, have conference calls and generate on-demand webinars so that information is easily and readily found. If the communication is due to a major change, provide an interactive component, such as a quiz or survey, so you are sure the information was not only distributed, but received and understood.
At the end of the day, we all want to know our efforts are appreciated. By listening to the agents and acting on the feedback, your contact center will have happy agents as well as actionable items for improvement so that you are always guaranteed happy customers.