Reduce contact centre attrition through agent engagement

We explore three ways you can engage contact centre agents in order to reduce attrition and improve customer satisfaction.

Reduce contact centre attrition through agent engagement

We explore three ways you can engage contact centre agents in order to reduce attrition and improve customer satisfaction.

Reduce contact centre attrition through agent engagement

Meet the author

Ben Peart

Managing Consultant

Contact centre attrition levels remain at extremely high levels when compared to other professions (42% in 2021 as reported by Nice). Pay is not the only factor in this. It is also driven by frustration with the tools available to perform their roles, the type of work they are conducting, the lack of flexibility afforded to them, and the prospects for their personal development. All are areas that contact centres traditionally struggle to deliver on.

Attrition is a particular problem for contact centres since the knowledge lost when agents leave creates an expertise gap that reduces first-contact resolution and increases failure demand. This has a severe impact on customer satisfaction (see our blog on the link between CSAT and agent tenure).

With the cost of living crisis fueling a propensity for employees to find employment that satisfies them financially and personally, it is more important than ever that contact centres provide agents with a reason to stay. To tackle attrition rates, organisations need to increase the engagement of their agents with the contact centre. This means motivating agents within their roles and developing shared goals. But how can this be achieved?

Enable agents with the tools to succeed

Legacy technology that relies on agents to access multiple systems to manage customer issues, increases frustration with their jobs and disillusionment with the contact centre. Investing in an integrated desktop complete with customer information, case history, integrated channels and knowledge management means that agents are able to access all of the information they require on one screen. This supports agents to deliver on customer needs and increases engagement with their work.

Agents might know a lot, but they can’t know everything! By deploying artificial intelligence (AI) within case and knowledge management platforms, they can be supported with real-time ‘next best action’ recommendations as they are talking to customers. This reduces stress placed on agents ‘in the heat of the moment’, and improves the service they are able to provide to customers, enhancing the agent experience.

Empower agents inside and outside of the contact centre

Enabling flexible working within the contact centre increases agent satisfaction with their roles. Self-service scheduling tools that allow agents to select their own shifts (within the parameters set by the business) and swap them when necessary, empower agents to effectively manage their work-life balance and increases satisfaction with their roles. This also applies to enabling remote working for agents, while offering on-site work for agents that prefer an office environment. Providing this flexibility increases agent engagement with their work and reduces the likelihood of attrition.

Empowering agents to manage and resolve customer issues end to end, without them needing to hand cases off to other departments increases engagement and satisfaction with their work. As well as providing cross-product and capability training for teams, contact centres can adopt a ‘swarming model’ to support agents to effectively manage contacts to resolution. When a front-line agent receives a contact that they are unable to manage with the digital resources they have on their desktop, they arrange for a ‘swarm’ of experts within the contact centre to review the issue and collectively problem-solve. As the point of contact with the customer, the agent is involved in the problem-solving activity and maintains ownership of the case until resolution. Empowering agents to deliver amazing customer outcomes, gives teams a greater sense of purpose and engagement with the contact centre.

Support agent development

Similar to all professions, if agents do not feel that they are developing in their working environment, they are likely to find alternative employment.

First and foremost agents want to feel challenged and engaged in the work they are undertaking. As such, the amount of time they spend on managing transactional contacts should be minimised in favour of resolving complex issues and contacts that genuinely require human involvement. Deploying AI and automation to handle basic contacts (such as ‘how do I’ questions or simple transactions), frees agents to focus on the most challenging contacts. This increases agent problem-solving skills and emotional intelligence capabilities, resulting in increased engagement with their work.

The contact centre must also feel like an environment in which agents can develop a career within the organisation. There should be clear lines of promotion through the contact centre, supplemented with an effective coaching and mentoring scheme. Time should also be dedicated within the scheduling process for agent development, including online and offline learning opportunities. Some contact centres have even gone so far as to provide agents with an additional 1 hour per week to focus on their own development, regardless if it is related to the contact centre or not. The feeling that the organisation cares about the personal growth of the agent, enhances the bond with the contact centre and reduces attrition.

If your organisation needs help in your contact centre or with employee and customer experienceget in touch to speak with an expert.

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