Thursday, December 18, 2014

Engaging Your Agents’ Passions

By: Sean Hawkins

Much has been said recently about employee engagement. In fact, Aon Hewitt offers a report, 2014 Trends in Global Employee Engagement, which offers great insight on the topic. Rather than rehash what many have stated, I’d like to discuss a practical solution that has worked amazingly well for me.

For several years, my contact center has conducted employee reviews designed to get feedback on how best to engage them. While studies and data are great, a better way to determine what employees want is to ask them?

I have always been mindful of the stresses contact center agents are under. Not every interaction is pleasant, and at times, customers can be mean-spirited. This can certainly take a toll on anyone. Because of this, it is important for contact managers to know the agents. How are they feeling? What does their body language suggest? What does their tone of voice say about their mood? More importantly, a good call center manager should notice when agent burnout or fatigue sets in.

To avoid such burnout, which can certainly lead to attrition, perhaps it is best to engage the agent’s passions. What does this mean exactly? In simplest terms, find out what they like and let them do it.

Several years ago, we had many agents who were passionate about volunteering. Leadership wisely recognized this and implemented a volunteer initiative. It allowed agents 2 hours per month of paid time to volunteer to a cause of their choice. The results for so overwhelmingly positive, we spent time volunteering as a department during Customer Service Week.

This is just one example of identifying what agents want and incorporating it into the contact center. The point is this--employees will be fully invested in the company when it is reciprocated. There is a saying we have all heard that goes like this, “happy agents make happy customers.” Allow me to tweak that a bit. Happy employees create happy companies.

Sean is a Contact Center manager with over 13 years of experience. He has a terrific pulse on incorporating innovation into the contact center. He's implemented social, outsourcing partners, new technology, and new products, while maintaining an award-winning contact center.

His contact center is a past winner of the ICMI "Global Call Center of the Year" award for Small to Medium-Sized Centers.

Follow on Twitter @SeanBHawkins

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