Is Your Contact Center Helping or Hurting Employee Engagement?

17 Aug 2018

Everyone knows that happy employees help to make happy customers. Yet recent research by Gallup reveals a huge difference between employee engagement at the average company and the world’s best organizations. In the U.S. only 33 percent of employees are enthusiastic about their work and workplace, compared to 70 percent for top performers.

As the hub that connects your business to its customers, engagement strategies in the contact center can either empower your employees to deliver a good customer experience – or prevent them from doing so. Agents are being relied upon more than ever to provide high-touch, complex customer interactions, and they will need to be armed with the right intelligence and tools to elegantly navigate the chasm between the digital and contact center worlds. Faced with this realization, progressive contact centers are changing how they handle their teams, shifting from workforce optimization (WFO) to workforce engagement management (WEM).

Designed to combat the crisis of disengagement, WEM helps to promote a culture that encourages employees to give their best and feel capable of delivering a first-class customer experience. With technology a key enabler in any WEM strategy, the following contact center optimizations will help your business boost employee engagement, which can lead to increased productivity, retention rates and profits.

Stay agile with speech analytics and ongoing agent training

Customers want consistency across digital and voice channels and expect the same experience irrespective of the channel they select. They also expect businesses to have complete visibility of prior interactions irrespective of channel utilized. It’s important to provide your agents with tools that orchestrate a seamless omni-channel experience and bridge the gap between digital and human interactions by leveraging the right data and AI.

Speech analytics, for example, can detect trends based on programmed words and phrases, along with variations in pitch, and can offer your business a more complete picture of how your agents are performing, the type of experience they provide to customers. Your team can then use this data to create higher quality conversations and ensure compliance with internal and regulatory policies.

This unique source of insight reveals why customers are unhappy with your product or service, and the underlying pain points causing frustration. Armed with this knowledge, you can create ongoing coaching that prepares your agents to deliver more constructive conversations. The upshot is that inquiries get resolved promptly, customer frustration remains low, employee engagement remains high, and your business reaps the benefits of an early warning system that keeps it agile.

Arm your agents with a single view of customer interactions for all channels

Digital interactions are on rise and while there has been a lot of focus on enhancing the online experience, the disconnect between the online and contact center experiences continues to widen. This creates a frustrating experience for the customer and the contact center agent, and the emerging chatbot frenzy is serving to fuel this widening gap.

Chatbots, self-service and giant leaps forward in machine learning and AI, are allowing businesses to offer 24/7 access for simple inquiries. However, by the time a query reaches the present-day contact center agents, it is often more complicated to solve. In these potentially make-or-break moments, providing your agents with suitable support, information and training is vital.

As your customers move from self-service technologies to voice support, an omni-channel cloud contact center solution will enable your business to track every interaction and preserve context and history across all touchpoints. This single customer view means your business will be able to reduce customer and employee frustration by using intelligent routing to match the right rep to specific customer inquiries at the same time as supplying the data-led insight needed to make conversations run smoother.

In short, an agent no longer spends the first 30-45 seconds of a call apologizing to the customer for having to repeat what they have already told someone else. Instead, the service professional gets advanced insights on how to handle the call and can build a rapport with the customer through a personalized greeting and service.

Performance management through gamification

Gamification takes the elements such as competition and point scoring that make games fun and applies them to a business context. The result is that day-to-day tasks become more exciting, and deep-rooted behaviors easier to change.

A world-renowned framework, the Fogg Behavior Model, insists that three elements must converge for a change of behavior to occur: motivation, ability and trigger. Gamification tools work by sparking all three elements: motivating your employees to compete for awards, providing the ability to break tasks down into manageable chunks, and triggering them to take action. By instantly rewarding employees for performing well in big or small tasks, gamification also gives employees a greater feeling of control over how their performance is judged and confidence to strive for more.

Final thoughts

When employees feel empowered to succeed, they feel pride in what they do. This energy is productive and contagious, it strips away barriers to connecting with customers and fosters emotive interactions that drive customer experience. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts. Please find me at @johnengtwit

John Eng is Chief Marketing Officer at NewVoiceMedia. John has been passionate about growing B2B software and SaaS companies for over 20 years, having led marketing for large multinational firms including LinkedIn, Parallels and Microsoft. Based in San Francisco, John leads NewVoiceMedia’s global marketing and product marketing organizations, strengthening its brand momentum as provider of leading cloud solutions for sales and service teams.


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