Happy Customer Service Agents Are Critical to the Bottom Line

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make a company bigger and better.

One such technology, cobrowsing, is about giving agents tools that they need to do their job well, says Michelle Brusyo, marketing director at LiveLOOK.

“Technology can empower agents to use tools to do their jobs better,” Brusyo says. “They’re also increasing their first contact resolution rate [for example] by using cobrowsing to make sure to make sure they understand the customer’s issue and make sure everyone is in agreement that a problem is solved. It reduces frustration on both sides.”

However, that doesn’t mean that hands-on agents should be cast aside. If you’re a company that hasn’t embraced new tech offerings or can’t afford implementations, remember hands-on agents are there to help.

“Speech analytics is amazing stuff. I’m not saying we don’t need that kind of technology, but if an agent gets three calls in a row where customers are asking about something, the agent can go to the supervisor and tell him, if it’s that type of environment,” Navarra says.

 She believes that many agents have to contend with myriad customer service screens. However, empowered agents who are truly listened to by management can turn around navigational nightmares. In most cases, management may tell the agent, “This is what we’ve done for you to make your job easier,” and in the majority of cases the agents have no input at all,” she says.

Navarra relates an experience where she worked for an organization that created a team to have the agents redesign the graphical user interface that incorporated numerous screens into one screen in a format that they wanted.

“Talk about agent satisfaction, and ultimately what did that do for the company?” she says. “It reduced average handle time, a goal of every contact center on the planet, and increased agent satisfaction because they felt like they were involved. It was a win-win for everyone.”

You Can Catch More Agents with Honey than Vinegar

Top-down, agents want to be recognized, and that doesn’t always mean more money. It means recognition for the job they’re doing, that they’re part of the ultimate success of the company. People often enter the customer service field because they get satisfaction from helping others. However, because of negative feedback, a lack of recognition, and lack of respect from management, agents can quickly become disillusioned.

“One of the key reasons attrition [in the contact center] is so high is lack of feedback or only negative feedback,” Navarra says. “No one can thrive in an environment when you’re only being told what you’re doing wrong. They don’t thrive and they don’t stay. Or worse—they quit and stay. They just disengage.”

 The bottom line is to set up an environment that’s inclusive.

The number one thing that a company can do is pay attention, Navarra says. “That means many things. That means understanding what motivates them as a group and as individuals. Celebrate their goals. Even if you’re simply walking by an agent doing a great job on a call, tell her.”  

Larger companies in particular could view such tactics as a waste of money, says Lucas, but in the end, it will pay off.

“It’s about what …the company can do to make sure that the agent understands the value [he or she] brings to stay with the mission,” Lucas says.

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