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Fostering Loyalty in the Contact Center

Do you ever feel like it’s impossible to keep great talent in the contact center?  You’re not alone!  Leaders all over the globe have been wrestling with this issue since the invention of the telephone.  The good news is it is possible!  With a fresh outlook on employee engagement, you can create a work environment worth sticking around for.  This article will focus on three essential (but rarely discussed) engagement techniques specific to a customer service environment.

Employee Loyalty

Peer-To-Peer Relationship Focus

Do you want to know the top reason people stay at their jobs?  They like their coworkers.  We love to talk and write about the leader to employee relationship.  While this is a critical one, this single touch point is not nearly as influential to an agent’s experience as the various peer level relationships.

As leaders, we must be very intentionally focused on creating an atmosphere of positive, meaningful peer-to-peer relationships.

Consider this quote from Kevin Kruse- “Data is clear that friendship is more important than pay or benefits, and strongly correlates to productivity, safety, customer loyalty, and profitability.”

Friendships are an essential element of a meaningful work experience!  If you are not aggressively breaking down relationship barriers among your team, something is likely amiss.  There may be a suffocating culture in play in which people do not experience the freedom to be themselves, or you as a leader may be ignorant of the true nature of the team.  When you invest the time and energy to allow agents to connect socially and forge meaningful relationships, you are paving the way for long-term loyalty.  Alternatively, if you are working hard to keep everyone in their specific boxes and only show their “work face,” you may find yourself with a turnover problem.  Work should be a place where you can be yourself, use your gifts to add value, and have others respect you for it.

It’s no wonder that Gallup asks if you have a best friend at work on their famous employee engagement survey, the Q12.  When you can share life with your co-workers, and they care about you as a person, it makes a remarkable difference over the long-haul.

The Team That Learns Together Stays Together

When you challenge your team to learn and grow together, something remarkable happens.  We all want to become better as people; both personally and professionally.  If you provide an environment where growth is a “team sport,” you are creating powerful bonds and breaking through the monotony.  Training sessions will allow employees to transcend so much of the petty day-to-day BS that tears us apart. We’ve been reviewing The Effortless Experience this year, and it’s been a game changer for us.  Dreaming up new ways to improve both agent and the customer experience is no longer just a leadership conversation, and the dialog is so much more fruitful for it!

Building Purpose into Everyday Work

Why do you show up to work every day?  Why do you expect your team to show up?  If the answer is a paycheck, you’re going to get the bare minimum.  Something compelling makes your organization unique.  Sadly, according to Scott McKain, two-thirds of employees have no idea what makes their team different from any other.  Tap into your distinctiveness to create meaningful work on a day-to-day basis.  If you are stuck on finding your “why” I highly recommend the book Start With Why by Simon Sinek.

Another significant way to build purpose into contact center work is to lessen the gap between the agent and the customer.  Generally, individuals who take a customer service job genuinely want to help people. Sadly, after months on the phone with angry customers, the pure magic of this profession can be lost.  Bring it back by taking periodic on-site field trips where agents get face to face with a customer and see how the service provided makes a difference in their lives.  Meaningfulness translates very well to job stickiness!

I hope these techniques will breathe new life into your contact center.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like to brainstorm on a strategy or ask any questions!  Together, we can make the contact center great again.  Or maybe for the first time...or maybe just keep it great...ah never mind, you get the idea :) Happy Cust-serving!