"EX", or Employee Experience, is the new buzzword in Customer Service industry. Its popularity is ramping up along with the "Digital Transformation", "CX" and "Millennials", and it's not a coincidence. The increasing pressure of delivering the exceptional customer experience along with a learning curve of the new technology and tools are affecting contact center employees' motivation and loyalty.
"They should just be happy to have a job!" "Who said work was supposed to be fun?" "Who cares if the staff is happy, as long as they do their jobs?" That reflects an old school mindset where front line employees put their head down and do the minimum amount of work. However, doing the minimum is not good enough when it comes to customer experience. Customers want exceptional service. Well trained, well treated and highly motivated Agents are more likely to deliver that.
Customer branding vs. employee branding
What is your customer branding? Do your ads promote high quality, easy to use products and services? Is your customer experience second to none? What about your employee brand? Is your organization recognized as a great place to work? Do you offer strong compensation, benefits and an excellent work environment? Does your company "walk the talk?" Do you treat your employees as kindly as you treat your customers?
Take a look at any list of employers who rank highly in employee experience. Then, look at how many of them also rank highly in customer experience and profitability. That is not a coincidence! Engaged employees typically stay longer and perform better. In comparison, demotivated employees tend to leave.
Employee retention is uncommon in contact center world
"What! Are you kidding me?" That was the reaction from a non-contact center acquaintance when I mentioned 30% annual turnover was common in our industry. They were shocked. "How can you run a department when 30% of employees leave every year? No one stays long enough to get good at their jobs. Doesn't that mean you are constantly hiring and training?" Of course, the answer is, “Yes.” Many contact centers are constantly hiring and training. Their departments are filled with new Agents making the usual rookie mistakes. That constant employee churn leads to more mistakes and lower NPS and CSAT scores from customers.
Although the connection between great employee experience and great customer experience makes intuitive sense, how do you execute it? Well, it is not with a, 'trash and trinkets" approach. If deeper employee needs are not met, pizza lunches, ping pong tables and casual dress days will not work. Those deeper issues include feeling you have the right tools to do your job, being empowered to actually help customers and seeing that senior management cares about the contact center.
On the other hand, new tools such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and video customer service can overwhelm Agents with new technology. Some Agents may leave or become demotivated. So, providing them with easy to use technology, coaching them through change and training them to cope with higher customer expectations can build employee engagement and retention.
EX starts before employee is hired
So far, we have discussed veteran Agents. However, employee experience starts before an employee is even hired.
What does your brand say about your company? Will a potential employee be proud to tell their friends they work there? Are you known for great customer service? Does the job posting attractive? Does it create a positive image of the company and the job? Since you want to hire the best employees, treat your candidates with the same care you give your customers. Start the job interview on time. Provide them with a good overview of the job. In addition to your interview questions, allow candidates to ask questions about the job and your company so, they see communication is a two-way street.
Once they are hired, onboarding needs to reinforce the candidate's decision to join your company. New hiring training should be fun, easy to understand and support Agents to do a great job. Once they graduate the new hire course, Agents should receive ongoing coaching, updates and continued support so, they stay engaged.
What is your employee experience strategy? What is your plan to recruit, train and retain the best contact center people?
For more expert advice on this topic, register now for the complimentary LANtelligence/GTACC webinar "Learn How Employee Experience (EX) Affects Customer Experience (CX) & How to Succeed at Both"
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