What comes first — agent experience or customer experience? More and more, contact centre leaders are seeing why you can’t achieve maximum results on efforts to improve customer experience (CX) without a deliberate focus on improving agent experience (AX). And the improvements you make to your agent experience can have a profound impact on your contact centre’s customer experience.
What is agent experience?
Agent experience is a measurement of your agent’s satisfaction, capability and morale. While some facets of the call centre are easy to figure out, like the best IVR system and effective outbound channels, those involving human relations can be significantly more challenging.
Consider these questions when you think about your contact centre agent experience:
- What is the top thing they wish they had / could do?
- How equipped are your agents to use your call centre software?
- How quickly can your agents solve a customer’s problem?
- Do your agents seem happy and satisfied with their jobs?
Think about the mental and emotional state of your contact centre agents. This will help you better understand where your agents are coming from and what improvements you need to make.
Do you need to improve agent experience?
How do you know if it's time to take your AX to the next level? Read on to see if any of these warning signs sound familiar. No matter what, taking steps to enhance your agent experience will have a positive effect on your customers.
1. Is apathy setting in?
Apathy is a glaring sign that something is off in your contact centre. Are more agents taking sick days, arriving late to work, showing less initiative? Are agents aiming for "good enough" rather than striving to exceed expectations? - If you think any of these apply in your contact centre, chances are there is room to improve your AX.
First, Identify the cause. A simple review of your work environment is key. Has something recently occurred that contributed to the stress your contact centre agents have to manage? Stressful work environments can push agents to their limits mentally and physically. Review the situation and make targeted changes. You'll likely find that even the smallest things, like verbal recognition, create a noticeable shift in culture and performance. And, happy agents are healthy agents.
2. Former employees have left customer service
What are your former contact centre agents are doing today? Are they leaving the call centre in favour of a new career? This simple sign is a clear indicator that the agent experience at your organisation is taxing on your employees.
If your employees don’t see a promising future at your organisation, they might look elsewhere. When people leave the industry, its often because a clear career path wasn’t presented. Determine if you have a clear progression path for your agents, and clearly defined growth opportunities. Making this a focus and driving results is key, but the changes start just by letting your staff know it’s a priority – Of course you need to follow through and may need to make changes to your recruitment process, in addition to agent experience.
3. There’s a clear lunch hour rush
When you have agents racing out the door to get to lunch or leave for the day, that’s a sure sign you need to work on AX. Without the right practices in place, you may find yourself with demoralised agents who take every opportunity to leave and get away from their work. This is a warning sign you need to respond to quickly, as demoralisation leads to absenteeism and attrition.
Keep an eye on your agents for a few days. What is their demeanour when it's time for lunch? What is the first thing they do when they have a break? These things can indicate whether you have a positive agent experience in your contact centre. If it’s becoming obvious your team would rather be anywhere but your contact centre, it’s time to re-evaluate your agent experience.
4. You keep hearing technology complaints
Poor contact centre software can directly lead to a negative agent experience. Think about it this way: how can your agents be satisfied if they don’t have the tools they need for success? Like most of us, your agents simply want to do their jobs well. When you have the right agent desktop tools and leverage effective workforce management, quality, coaching, and performance tools that enable agents to do their job easily, and get just in time coaching you'll quickly boost AX
Do you hear daily complaints about your software for call centres? Do your agents know / want opportunities for automation that you’re not making? Implementing additional training or improved call centre software may make a big difference for your workforce. Ask your agents to rank the tools they’re working with — from the most cumbersome to the most helpful — and you’ll know where to start making improvements.
5. Declining first call resolution (FCR)
If your contact centre analytics show fewer customer issues resolved on the first call to your contact centre, it’s another sign you need to examine your agent experience. When your agents are not able to answer questions or are not motivated to solve problems quickly, a number of issues could be at hand. By taking the time to find out what’s going on, you’ll be able to create a solution and improve AX and CX in the meantime.
Can your agents easily access the information they need to solve customer issues? Does your IVR system properly route customers? Making the process simpler and more efficient will make everyone happier.
What can you do to improve agent experience in your contact centre? Find out in the informative webinar, The New Thinking Behind Great Contact Centre Leadership. You’ll pick up tips and strategies to improve AX in a way that skyrockets your CSAT too. Click here to register for the webinar today.