There’s a reason every prospective employee checks out a company’s Glassdoor reviews, and it’s not just to get an inside look at the culture or benefits. Employee morale and employee experience are some of the best indicators of the overall health and long-term performance of a company. In fact, improving employee experience has been proven to have an outsized impact on business performance, particularly in the area of CX. Reports show that NPS scores generated from highly engaged employees nearly double those of other employees.
This is something that was very much in the front of our minds when we began building Simplr. We offer a CX platform which includes a “Human Cloud ” network of thousands of on-demand customer support specialists, called SimplrFlex, who our clients leverage to assist in their customer service inquiries. SimplrFlex specialists currently have an average CSAT score of 4.8/5 and represent some of the most renowned consumer brands in the world. At the same time, SimplrFlex was named the 14th best place in the country to work by Glassdoor in 2022, the second consecutive year it was placed on Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work list.
Unfortunately, most contact center workers and customer service agents do not enjoy their job to that degree. In fact, customer service agent churn is a top concern for many CX leaders. The cost and investment to forecast headcount accurately and train a revolving door of new employees remains a major headache for most leaders in the industry.
So what can CX leaders do today to improve the experience of their front-line customer service agents and reap the resulting benefits in customer satisfaction? Here are three things we learned along the way as we built and grew our Human Cloud network:
1. Foster a sense of community among front-line agents: Particularly in this WFH era, customer service can be an incredibly lonely job, further exasperating attrition rates. To combat this, find ways for agents to more consistently communicate and collaborate with each other, and, most importantly, celebrate each other’s wins. They should be encouraged to chat with each other in their local Slack or whatever messaging tool is used most often. Managers or directors should also be proactive in celebrating wins and successes of individual agents in these communications channels, making sure that employees know their great work isn’t going unnoticed.
Additionally, agents who are known as being particularly strong at certain parts of their job should be encouraged to share best practices with others. Not only will they feel more valued as an essential member of the team, it will (obviously) result in other agents performing better as well!
2. Bring agents into the feedback and decision making process where customer data is valuable: Agents are talking with customers constantly and are a veritable treasure trove of incredible insights on products, messaging, and the overall customer experience. For reasons unknown to me, too many CX leaders ignore this source of data. Sure, they might look at agent CSAT or NPS scores to see how their organization is performing generally, but what about the data that exists within the conversations with customers themselves? No one has better access to those insights than your customer service agents.
Bring your agents into conversations about product development. Connect them with decision makers in your marketing, sales and ecommerce teams. At the very least, make sure they are well represented in conversations about improving overall CX. Other leaders within your company will thank you for their insights, and your agents will thank you in the form of being more engaged in their job, since they know their insights and knowledge are valued.
3. Give them the technology they need to excel at their jobs: Today’s cost center mentality among many customer service teams means that the agent’s job is to do the bare minimum required to solve the customer’s problem, resulting in decent efficiency metrics, but middling customer–and employee–satisfaction scores. There is a technology fix to this problem, and it involves empowering customer service agents with the information they need to develop better connections with consumers. Can you find ways to present each agent with information about the customer they’re interacting with, such as their birthday or anniversary, or the weather in the location they live? This type of information gives the agent something to use to develop a more personal, human connection with the customer. Additionally, give your agents the data they need to make informed recommendations to the customer about other products they might be interested in, turning them into not only a great customer service agent but a potential great sales person as well.
Surfacing the right data at the right time for each customer makes interactions between agent and customer a little more enjoyable. Over time, this improvement can yield huge results, for both employee morale and customer satisfaction.
A great employee experience does indeed often result in a great customer experience. If you’re looking for ways to lower churn to better stabilize your customer service organization and improve your key CX metrics, consider one of these three ways to make your front-line service agents feel more valued and empowered at their jobs.