Published: April 29, 2014 | Comments
A recent report by Bain & Company reveals that employee engagement levels within organizations are lowest among service and sales employees. This is alarming. Shouldn't employees who interact directly with customers be the most highly engaged and motivated individuals?
In this article I'd like to highlight the importance of employee engagement in the contact center, and also identify ways to boost engagement among this group of employees.
Engagement and Performance
Most organizations say that they are in search of engaged and enthusiastic individuals. This is attributed to the fact that employee engagement drives financial performance within an organization. Studies demonstrate that firms with high engagement levels tend to perform better financially. Unfortunately there's often a disconnect between the techniques that organizations use to boost engagement and the things that actually motivate and inspire employees.
Customer Service Representatives and Engagement
Customer service representatives should be a priority when you are trying to improve engagement because they interact closely with customers. Reports also suggest that they are the least engaged group and this makes it necessary for them to be the focus of the engagement techniques that you apply. When employees are engaged, they become important brand advocates for the organization. Customer service representatives promote the products and services that are available by highlighting their benefits. A brand cannot succeed if the customer service representatives are not enthusiastic. The only way to make them enthusiastic is to boost engagement. Engaged employees are interested in both individual and organizational goals. They want the organization to succeed.
The initial interaction your customers have with your company is often through customer service representatives. This first interaction may determine if the customer is going to make a purchase and whether they will remain loyal to the brand. You have only once chance to make a great first impression.
Benefits of Engagement
Customer service managers need to focus on employee engagement because engagement boosts productivity. Engaged employees are motivated and productive. Engaged employees are not just interested in a paycheck. They are invested in the success of the organization. They find their work fulfilling. Absenteeism rates are lower when employees are highly engaged.
And this engagement also benefits customers. Engaged agents provide better service, and an overall better brand experience for customers. This often translates to increased customer loyalty.
How to Improve Engagement
One of the most effective ways to improve employee engagement is to encourage feedback. Supervisors should solicit feedback from the individuals who interact with customers on a daily basis. The feedback is important because it helps shine a light on organizational problems; you can only address issues once you identify and understand them.
Encourage employees to share their suggestions for improving operations. Customer service representatives are in close interaction with customers and they understand their needs better than anybody else within the organization. Use their feedback. If the employees feel that their opinion is valued, they are more likely to be engaged.
It is also important to create a pleasant working environment for customer service representatives. Make sure they're comfortable and help them feel empowered. Make sure the employees have access to all the resources that they require to carry out their responsibilities. It is impossible to be engaged when your environment makes it difficult to fulfill your role.
Employee engagement is not just about making sure the employees are satisfied. It's also about inspiring a passion for what they do. Employees who truly enjoy what they do provide better customer experiences.
Are your customer service representatives the focus of your employee engagement efforts? Share your thoughts and advice in the comments.