Having happier employees at work should be a top priority for any company. After all, happy and engaged employees are more productive. They make the workplace more upbeat and fun, strive to achieve higher goals, and spread their positive attitude to others, including customers.
Being on the front lines of customer service is challenging work, and agents often feel undervalued and under-supported. In too many cases, the center becomes a constantly revolving door of new and exiting agents. Rather than addressing employees’ needs and expectations, high turnover rates have become the norm for the call center industry.
Only one in three customer service reps is actually engaged at work
A report by Gartner revealed that disengagement is rampant among customer service reps. The Gartner 2021 Customer Service Rep Role and Experience Survey found that only one in three customer service reps (34%) is actually engaged at work. The remaining reps are disengaged (38%) or neutral (28%).
With disengaged and neutral reps making up two-thirds of the workforce, Gartner states that companies can expect more high-effort customer experiences (i.e. failing to provide first-contact resolution, making customers repeat information, too many steps to resolve their issues), and a negative impact on customer loyalty and revenue.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Above and Beyond for Employee Experience
Popular brands always strive to deliver a “wow” experience to their customers. At The Office Gurus (TOG), we go above and beyond to deliver an exceptional experience to our internal customers. How? First, it helps to understand how call center agents’ expectations have evolved over the years. They expect more than fair pay and traditional benefits, and are willing to leave companies that don’t meet their needs.
I described TOG’s comprehensive process for finding and hiring the best call center agents in a previous blog post. I also discussed why it’s essential to equip agents with the tools they need to succeed and thrive in their roles. These are critical components of the employee experience.
But there’s more that you can do.
Call centers must be willing to go above and beyond to create the best possible experience for their employees. We invest in our agents by offering benefits and perks that they won’t find anywhere else, and which make them feel valued, motivated and engaged at work.
How do we determine what will be meaningful to our agents? It’s important to understand what is expected in each region that you operate. For example, we have a government-approved and certified on-site clinic at our El Salvador call center site. The country’s socialized health care system usually means long wait times in crowded hospitals to see a doctor. It is a huge benefit for our employees to get immediate access to medical care without leaving the building.
Here are some examples of other top benefits that our agents say add value to the employee experience:
- TOG University – Our a training and development curriculum designed to provide an enriching career path and certifications (based on performance and skills) that allow agents to earn more money and advance in their careers.
- TOGether – Our corporate social responsibility program allows agents to choose which organizations they want to get involved with. Every location supports a variety of charities and non-governmental organizations. Olivia and Friends, a dog rescue and adoption program, is our most popular.
- Celebrating successes — We believe in celebrating all wins — from the smallest to the largest — with our Work Can Be Fun program, which includes Top Performer awards, sporting events, on-site activities and more.
- On-site conveniences like cafeterias, coffee shops and ATMs mean that employees don’t have to waste lunch or break time running out for meals, coffee, or to the bank on payday.
- User-friendly applications to make our employees’ lives easier. Guru Ride is our ride-sharing app for Nearshore locations, allowing employees who work before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. to call a driver for transportation to or from work and have the invoice paid by TOG. We also have a mobile referral app that supports our “Refer a Friend” program that employees can submit referrals wherever they are and track referral payment information.
Reduce Agent Disengagement
The high levels of disengagement among customer service reps provide a dismal outlook for customer-centric brands. As Gartner points out, disengaged agents engage in behaviors that drive a high-effort customer experience three times as often as engaged employees.
How can you mitigate the effects of disengaged customer service employees? Look for BPO providers that demonstrate clear value for their employees. At TOG, we believe that fostering ongoing engagement starts with hiring the right people. Then it’s our job to provide them with the best possible experience at work that they’re not going to find anywhere else. If you can do those two things right, then everything else is blocking and tackling.