High turnover and employee burnout are common challenges facing contact center teams, but they don't have to be. Dealing with unhappy customers on a daily basis can wear down any employee and cause frustration. But managers can implement practices to improve engagement and empower employees.
For more engaged agents, reduced turnover rates and happier customers, consider using these five best practices in your organization:
Encourage collaboration and solicit input from the team
Great contact center agents will take what they’ve heard from customers, their personal experiences and observations during their shifts and use that information to present new ideas and strategies. Giving agents a platform to present their ideas and voice opinions on important issues can result in improved processes for the department and a sense of ownership in how the center functions. Keep in mind that people prefer to provide feedback in different ways. While one employee may like to present ideas and brainstorm as a group, another may prefer to voice a suggestion in private or remain anonymous. The best workplaces will allow communication methods that cater to all types of personalities.
Cultivate a positive work environment
A warm, inviting and motivating work space puts agents in a better frame of mind when they come to work, which makes their interactions with customers more positive. Countless studies have confirmed that open workspaces and high levels of noise lead to increased stress and dissatisfaction. A Journal of Environmental Psychology study of administrative and clerical employees, for example, found that individuals with low-privacy workspaces had higher levels of emotional exhaustion. Though the setup in a contact center is difficult to control, there are opportunities. The same study found emotional exhaustion levels were lower for those employees who were allowed to personalize their spaces with photos or desk accessories. One study found that adding plants to the office “significantly increased workplace satisfaction, self-reported levels of concentration and perceived air quality” in addition to increasing productivity by 15 percent. Incorporating these small changes could have a big impact on the morale of your staff.
Do some or all of your employees work remotely? A good work environment is not only about the physical space, but also managerial behavior. Open communication is vital, as is ensuring employees feel valued and know how their work contributes to the company’s overall goals. Employees will be more likely to ask questions, seek support or present new ideas when their supervisors are accessible and supportive.
Establish performance goals and reward accordingly
Give employees something to work toward, be it financial incentive, recognition or career trajectory. Set short-term performance benchmarks for all team members based on their roles, and set up rewards for them as each milestone or accomplishment is reached. If these goals are customer-centric rather than volume-based, you will be recognizing employees because they consistently have happy customers. Include regular check-ins to ensure employees who need support in reaching new milestones receive it. It’s also important that you understand the types of rewards and incentives that your employees value to ensure what you are offering is motivating. A public acknowledgement may be appreciated by one staff member while another may be intimidated by the attention and prefer a personalized note of congratulations.
Provide professional development opportunities
The majority of employees want opportunities to grow their careers or expand their knowledge. Their career paths should be distinct from the benchmarks mentioned above, and can vary by employee, depending on their specific career goals. Providing development opportunities is an essential component of promoting career advancement and reducing employee turnover, but the types of programs preferred can vary. Randstad’s recent study found that the youngest members of the workforce, Generation Z, favor project-based work and mentoring opportunities. Millennials, also known as Generation Y, prefer corporate-sponsored classes and project-based work as their learning and development options.
Use exit interviews and adjust policies when necessary
When team members leave, take the time to find out why. Provide them with an open and honest forum to discuss their concerns and reasons for moving on, and take detailed notes. If you start to see patterns in responses or perceptions — for example, lack of growth opportunities, excessive or inflexible hours or not feeling valued — use the information to adjust your company policies where possible.
Randstad can place experienced temporary, temp-to-hire and direct hire contact center agents. We take time to get to know you and your needs to identify perfect match candidates that will exceed your expectations.