There is a lot of buzz around the importance of employee engagement and not enough research on the quantifiable benefits to businesses. To address that deficit, Aberdeen Group published a study titled, Employee Engagement: Paving the Way to Happy Customers. Findings from this report highlight the importance of using employee engagement as a strategic lever to deliver better customer experiences.
The ability to deliver great customer experiences helps companies survive and thrive. But, who exactly delivers these experiences? The short answer is your employees. As such, it is vital that companies provide employees with the right knowledge and technology so they can do their jobs. Aberdeen's research, however, revealed that the top factor influencing agent engagement in the contact center is the lack of effective support technology. In fact, agents were 88 percent more likely to cite this lack as a key influencer of their engagement levels than compensation and benefits.
The aforementioned finding might appear counterintuitive. However, without the proper technologies, agents can't do their jobs well or at all. This fosters frustration, not engagement. Data from Aberdeen's recently released study, Agent Productivity & Performance Management: A Look into Best-in-Class WFO Strategies, shows that agents spend 11 percent of their time searching for the relevant information needed to do their jobs. Best-in-class contact centers alleviate this drag on productivity by empowering agents with relevant and timely views of customer data and access to knowledgebase articles.
Given the critical importance of customer experience today, it's no surprise that improving customer experience is the top objective driving modern workforce optimization (WFO) programs, as per Aberdeen's study, Contact Center WFO: How to Balance Customer Needs and Agent Productivity .The figure below shows that building and managing a formal employee engagement program, one designed to empower contact center agents with relevant knowledge and technologies, can indeed create happy customers.
As you can see, companies with a formal employee engagement program enjoy far greater annual growth in revenue from customer referrals, for example. This indicates that customers in these businesses are more satisfied, and hence, more willing to recommend the business to their peers. Similarly, companies focusing on employee engagement in their contact center activities also enjoy a significant improvement (decrease) in service costs, while those without such a program observe increases in costs.
It's important to note that having a formal employee engagement program means that activities aimed at driving employee satisfaction and productivity are not done in an ad-hoc fashion, but rather are executed as part of a well-crafted organizational program.
Omer Minkara is a vice president and principal analyst covering contact center and customer experience management at Aberdeen Group.