Why Is Agent Engagement So Important?
SQM Group's research shows that 47% of managers feel their biggest problem operating a call center effectively and efficiently is high agent turnover and absenteeism. Furthermore, SQM's customer experience (CX) research shows, Customer Satisfaction (Csat) and First Call Resolution (FCR) for the call center industry have significantly decreased in 2022 and 2023 due to agent turnover.
SQM also believes that the number one problem in 2023 to achieving a high call center Csat and FCR rate is the historically high agent turnover rate of 38%. Moreover, there are no signs of slowing down the employee turnover rate any time soon. Agent engagement is a leading indicator for turnover, absenteeism, FCR, and Csat performance.
One of the main responsibilities of call center leaders and supervisors is to assess and improve agent engagement, which has become even more important in the work-from-home (WFH) model that most agents use for handling calls. It is critical for supervisors to identify disengaged agents, and failure to do so will result in the following:
- Lower FCR, Csat, and customer retention
- Increases in agent turnover and absenteeism
- Higher operating costs (e.g., recruiting, training, productivity)
- Lower job satisfaction
In addition, engaged agents care about resolving customer interactions and retaining customers, whereas disengaged agents are not as committed to resolving customer interactions and retaining customers. Therefore, SQM believes that organizations should evaluate their call center HR practices on agent satisfaction (Esat), engagement, turnover, and their impact on customer experience.
Top-performing Esat and Csat call centers use employee feedback at all levels as one of their primary tools to improve CX. Gathering feedback from agents about what drives their overall satisfaction and dissatisfaction with working in the call center or WFM is critical to decreasing turnover and cost-per-call resolution and improving FCR, Esat, and Csat performance.
How to tell if a call center agent has high engagement:
- They are committed to call center goals, company vision, mission, and values.
- They are positive and motivated to resolve calls.
- They are gung-ho to develop new knowledge, skills, and abilities.
- They will go the extra mile to deliver great customer service.
- They have high FCR, Csat, and productivity performances.
How to Engage Work-From-Home Agents
Engaging work-from-home call center agents is crucial for their productivity, motivation, and overall job satisfaction. Here are the top 10 tips to help you engage your remote call center agents effectively:
- Clear Communication: Maintain regular and transparent communication channels with your agents. Use tools like email, instant messaging platforms, and video conferencing to keep them informed about updates, expectations, and any changes in processes.
- Goal Setting: Set clear goals and targets for your agents, both individually and as a team. Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and regularly provide feedback and recognition for their achievements.
- Training and Development: Offer regular training sessions and opportunities for skill development. This will not only enhance their abilities but also show that you value their professional growth. Consider using online training modules, webinars, or virtual workshops to facilitate learning.
- Virtual Team Building: Organize virtual team-building activities to foster a sense of camaraderie and connection among remote agents. Activities like virtual games, quizzes, or informal video conferences can help build relationships and boost morale.
- Recognition and Rewards: Implement a recognition program to acknowledge outstanding performance and contributions. Offer incentives, rewards, or even a simple appreciation email or public recognition during team meetings. Recognizing their efforts will motivate agents to excel in their work.
- Supportive Management: Provide continuous support and guidance to your remote agents. Schedule regular check-ins, virtual one-on-one meetings, or team huddles to address concerns, provide assistance, and maintain a positive work environment.
- Flexibility and Autonomy: Allow agents to have some flexibility in their work schedule, whenever feasible. Empower them to make decisions within their scope of work, which can enhance their sense of ownership and motivation.
- Wellness Initiatives: Encourage work-life balance by promoting wellness initiatives. Share resources and tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, managing stress, and taking breaks during the workday.
- Regular Feedback: Provide constructive feedback on agent performance regularly. This feedback should be specific, actionable, and focused on improvement. Encourage agents to share their own ideas and suggestions for process enhancement.
- Celebrate Successes: Celebrate team and individual successes to create a positive work environment. Share achievements with the entire team, recognize outstanding performances publicly and express gratitude for their hard work.
Remember, engaging work-from-home call center agents is an ongoing process. Continuously adapt and refine your strategies based on agent feedback and evolving circumstances to ensure a motivated and productive remote workforce.