More often than not we always hear about what the customer wants, what the customer needs, improving customer service, etc etc... whilst this is extremely important, a lot of organisations have forgotten about the people on the other end who actually have to deliver the service to your customers... Yes, that's right, your agents!
With over 80% of customer contacts handled via the contact centre channel, agents are by far the most important people to your organisation – they are the 'face' of your organisation, they represent how customers perceive your organisation.
Organisations need to continually look at ways to motivate and engage their agents, which you can search all over the internet to see what works for your staff (obviously aligned with some Employee Engagement research).
However, it is just as important to avoid actions that may de-motivate or disengage your staff... here are some pointers:
- DO NOT neglect your staff. Provide guidance and support for them even if you are extremely busy, they are your staff and they need your support. Be approachable.
- DO NOT leave staff in the dark. Always keep communication open and transparent. Talk to your staff not just email.
- DO NOT just give orders about what to do. Also encourage participation and collaboration from staff.
- DO NOT simply point out errors or mistakes. Recognition and praise of performance is always welcome and encourages repeat positive behaviour.
- DO NOT stick to one type of reward or reward criteria. It may not work for all staff so vary how you reward people/teams and the criteria for rewarding – it doesn’t have to be expensive – PRAISE is the universal reward.
- DO NOT allow staff to settle in their roles even if they are top performers. Always provide a challenging work environment, and provide growth and learning and development opportunities for staff. Talk to staff to see what they want to do in the short and long term.
- DO NOT simply focus on meeting hard KPIs and targets. Focus on the customer related metrics as well – first call resolution, customer satisfaction/engagement.
- DO NOT forget to have fun. Although it is a work environment, it can still be fun, hold activities that allow staff to have fun whilst at work – games or theme days.
Once you get this right, the benefits are directly transferable to customers. Highly motivated and engaged staff will represent your organisation in the best possible way to customers.