Being a contact center agent can be rough. People don’t usually call a contact center because they’re happy with your product or service. They call because they’re confused, disappointed, frustrated, or angry.
And it’s an agent’s job to face that emotion head-on while working to solve the customer’s problem. All. Shift. Long.
When agents don’t have the training, tools, or support they need to do their job—and do it well—they become frustrated and burnt out. And frustrated and burnt-out agents are more likely to look for job opportunities elsewhere.
Agent retention is a BIG problem in the contact center industry.
Higher call volumes and customer expectations are leading to even higher agent stress. And with remote work and demand for agents and workers of all kinds also rising, it’s easy for top talent to move on—to other contact centers or other industries.
Agent attrition isn’t just a staffing problem. Or an expense problem. Attrition also impacts your ability to meet performance metrics and deliver outstanding customer service.
Further reading: The Key to Contact Center Success? Focus on Your Agents
And that puts both existing customers and new business growth at risk.
“Somebody on their first day versus somebody on their 101st day, their performance is going to be different. Just from a sheer comfort level, even on their 31st day, it’ll be different. So if the teeter-totter is tipped too much on the new hire scale, your performance will be impacted as a company.”
– Terry Rybolt, Chief Revenue Officer at LiveXchange Technologies
Here are some of the most common mistakes contact centers make when it comes to their agents and how to overcome them.
Mistake #1: Focus more on CX than AX
Improving customer experience is key to attracting and retaining customers. But the key to improving customer experience? That’s your agents.
When you focus more on your customer experience than your agent experience, the needs of your agents get overlooked. And that’s a costly mistake.
Because instead of better CX, you end up with frustrated agents who are more likely to quit and unsatisfied customers with a reason to turn to your competitors.
Simplify your agent experience.
In their quest for outstanding customer service, contact centers tend to overload agents with information, leaving them scrambling to find answers and unable to perform their job effectively.
When the agent experience is simplified, agents are good at what they do, enjoy their work, and stay longer. And when agents are happier, customer satisfaction and loyalty increase in kind.
Further reading: How Giving Contact Center Agents Less Helps Them to Do More
Mistake #2: Overly complicated technology
Contact centers often deploy complex technology that isn’t user-friendly. And that’s where agent frustration builds, leading to dissatisfaction, attrition, and increased costs.
Agent-focused technology solutions.
Technology that considers what your agents need and can be used intuitively helps them efficiently resolve customer issues.
So how do you know which technology is the best for your agents? Ask them. What do they need to be more effective? Productive? Happy? What would make their job easier?
When technology supports the agent experience—instead of hindering it—issues are resolved quickly, accurately, and uniformly and customers get an unforgettable experience.
Further reading: How Workflow Management Software Simplifies and Improves the Agent Experience
Mistake #3: Disconnected culture
No one wants to feel like a seat filler. Agents are human, and if you want to retain those humans, you need to create a company culture that ensures they feel connected with co-workers, managers, and leaders.
Agents today are looking for companies that acknowledge their contributions, provide flexibility, support their growth, and show genuine interest in their well-being both inside and outside of work.
Give your agents what they need.
One of the factors contributing to attrition is that many agents feel the job lacks upward mobility. Establishing a clear path for career advancement and skill development motivates agents and enhances their overall capabilities.
Holding weekly or monthly calls where agents, managers, and leaders can openly express where they’re struggling and discuss other issues keeps them connected to the company and their colleagues.
Further reading: The Agent and Company Culture—An Interview with Hui Wu-Curtis, Founder & COO of supportU
When your agents feel valued, so will your customers.
Your agents are the most important asset in your call center, often acting as the first, primary, or only point of human contact customers have with your company.
So why wouldn’t you focus on making them feel supported, connected, and happy?
When agents get exactly what they need to be more effective, efficient, and engaged, customers get the top-notch, personalized experience they expect. And you get a revenue-generating advantage over your competitors.
Keep reading: Why Your Contact Center Needs an Agent-Focused Customer Experience Strategy—and How to Implement It