Five ways contact centers can create and maintain agent job satisfaction
There is no doubt that being a contact center agent is a tough job. Day in and day out, agents must keep a positive and cheerful attitude while assisting frustrated customers. If that’s not stressful enough, the pressure is on management to deliver consistent, quality customer service in an efficient manner.
Some agents will eventually move on to other work opportunities, but many will stay on and make customer care a career. What can contact centers offer to keep these kinds of employees happy and motivated year after year? In this article, we look at five things agents want from the contact centers that hire them:
Agents want a contact center that respects the position as a profession. You want your agents to stay with you for the long term, so create a culture where agents are respected as customer care professionals. Recruit agents with appropriate levels of education for their role, including outstanding writing skills for multichannel agents who will assist customers via email and webchat. Naturally, voice communication skills should be top-notch, with a personality that can put a customer at ease. Once the agent is on board, offer classes and workshops for agents to learn new CRM technologies and hone their customer care skills. If you treat your agents like pros, they will work like pros.
Agents want a contact center that invests in equipment and facilities. Agents don’t want their work to be disrupted by slow workstation computers or cheap equipment that won’t hold up to the tasks at hand. Ensure that your contact center has industry-standard PCs, software, and headsets. Also, workstation furniture should be ergonomically adjustable and in good condition. Make sure your contact center facility is at a comfortable temperature, well-lit and clean. The pride taken in keeping an attractive workplace will shine through in agents’ voices and attitudes toward callers.
Agents want contact center managers who give and receive feedback. Professional agents are eager to improve and excel in their positions. Improvement comes with feedback from managers — agents want to know how they are doing and are open to criticism when it’s followed by support and a plan for improvement. By the same token, agents want their managers to listen to their feedback. Since they are always on the “front lines,” agents are the best resource for ways to improve customer care. Agents appreciate it when their voices are heard and when they are encouraged and empowered to change the way things are done.
Agents want a contact center that promotes wellness. Agents don’t want to fall into the trap of sedentary jobs, which often lead to weight gain, stress, and unhealthy habits. When possible, make sure agents have the opportunity to choose health insurance plans and participate in company wellness programs. A healthy workplace can include regular breaks from the workstation for a walk or a stretch. Breakrooms, cafeterias, and get-togethers should offer fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthy snacks and drinks. Agents appreciate a workplace with a well-equipped gym with showers to fit in workouts before and after work and during lunch. Healthy employees make happy employees.
Agents want a contact center that offers flexibility. The one constant in working life changes: agents may become new parents, or they may want to pursue higher education, for example. They appreciate an employer that offers flexibility under different circumstances, such as the ability to let agents work from home or to have a schedule that accommodates childcare responsibilities or school. Contact centers that are responsive and understanding of agents’ circumstances will be more likely to keep those agents—they will see the position as not just a job, but a career that will last for a long, long time.