Bridge Brand Values and Agents' Realities

More than two-thirds (69 percent) of agents reference background noise around them or customers as a key reason for declining mental well-being. Almost everyone has experienced background noise so disruptive that they've had to repeat themselves and their private information over and over again. No doubt this is a frustrating waste of time for customers and impacts company's reputations. But the impact on agents' mental health and productivity is too often overlooked.

Companies cannot afford to ignore this any longer, and not just because there's an industry churn rate of 40 percent. Engaged, healthy agents provide the best service to customers, so more needs to be done to support their productivity and mental health in the long run.

One could argue that it's more important to have an agent fully briefed on the latest company messaging and product features and able to present the company in the right way than for the company website to be up to date, or at least equally important. Yet it's almost a given that more time will be spent on website copy than training agents.

Yes, there are some companies strive to do a good job, keeping the energy high and truly rewarding and training their agents, but this good work is too often hampered by poor-quality headphones, clunky systems, and incomplete call transcriptions that all negatively impact agents' mental well-being, and productivity. This is compounded further when agents have to endure negative customer interactions, often brought on by external frustrations like the recent economic slowdown.

While some companies take well-being seriously, others still treat mental health programs like a tick-box exercise. This needs to change;; most people want to get to the end of the day feeling like they made a difference. To ensure that the money being invested in brand voice and identity isn't being wasted by customers talking to unhappy or unfulfilled agents, a greater focus on agent well-being should be a key part of business strategy.

How Tech Can Empower Agents, Not Get in the Way

Agents need to be empowered with technology that helps rather than hinders their day-to-day activities. From AI-powered software that helps filter calls that matter so agents have more time for customers who really need to speak with someone to software that removes background noise to instantly increase audio clarity and reduce time drain, this should be the industry standard, not a workplace perk.

With AI-driven software, agents can also gain access to accurate call recordings that can empower them with all the insight they need to have higher-value conversations and reduce average handle time. This ultimately benefits customers, improves the company's reputation, and helps agents hit their own goals. If they haven't already implemented it, companies should look to AI-powered tech that can enhance the quality of audio as the solid solution to bridge the gap between their values and agents' realities. As the age-old adage goes, happy workers make happy customers.

To create great customer experiences, you must first create great agent experiences. Yet too many agents are still enduring equipment that isn't suitable for use inside today's 24/7 contact center operations. And it's taking an unacceptable toll on their mental health and ability to deliver great customer service. Luckily, there are clear steps companies can take to help improve agent well-being and empower them. Harnessing AI-driven software to reduce call times and remove communication barriers is a key place to start.

Tom Darnell is chief operating officer of IRIS Audio Technologies.