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How to Build a Thriving Company Culture in Contact Centers
Companies are stepping up their customer experience (CX) to deliver the digitally seamless and human interactions that consumers expect in the post-pandemic world. But even with integrated communication channels and more creative marketing, your CX strategy will fall apart without a strong contact center culture.
Contact center agents are ground zero for CX. They resolve customer issues and interact with customers more than probably anyone else on your teams. But if they aren’t thriving in their role, how can they provide the timely support and complex problem-solving your customers are looking for when they contact your company?
The reality is: most contact center agents aren’t excited about their jobs. According to a 2021 report, one in three agents is considering leaving, and 96 percent feel stressed at least once a week. And the number one reason for churn? Being unhappy.
But with a contact center culture that leaves agents feeling supported, engaged, and well-equipped, employees are more likely to enjoy their work and perform consistently. In this article, we’ll explore why a thriving company culture matters and three strategies for building a better contact center culture.
Why a Supportive Contact Center Culture Matters
Fielding customer service calls isn’t easy. Some callers are frustrated or angry, and the agent tends to get the brunt of these emotions.
If your contact center downsized during the pandemic like the majority of the industry did – one study found that 64 percent of companies reduced the size of their contact center operations during Covid – your existing agents might be left with higher call volumes and more complex calls.
All of this can lead to stress, fatigue, and disengaged employees.
A positive, engaged company culture, on the other hand, can turn a lot of these issues around.
Company culture is the set of beliefs and behaviors that define the social and psychological work environment. A contact center that’s team-oriented and supportive makes agents feel like they are part of a group that works together to solve problems and reach goals, as a family or team would.
This collaborative, connected environment helps agents feel involved with work and motivated to excel for the sake of the whole. Creating an engaged culture like this is essential to performance and contact center success. According to research by McKinsey, when contact center employees are engaged, they are:
- 16 times more likely to refer friends to the company
- 4 times more likely to stay than unengaged contact center agents
- 3.3 times more likely to feel very empowered to resolve customer issues
But building the right culture doesn’t happen overnight. The management team has to take steps that empower and support agents. As they feel more supported and engaged, their beliefs, behaviors, and interactions start to reflect a more team-oriented work culture.
3 Ways to Build a Better Contact Center Culture
Here are some of the ways contact center managers and supervisors can work toward a better company culture and help customer support agents thrive.
1. Offer Growth Opportunities
Do your agents feel like they’re stuck in their current positions? If so, they’re more likely to look for work elsewhere.
McKinsey’s contact center survey found that promotional opportunities are behind 14 percent of employee satisfaction. So, to help your agents feel more satisfied with their work, make sure you’re offering them incentives for a job well done, such as bonuses, periodic raises, and opportunities for promotion.
It’s also critical to provide routine training to help agents increase their skill sets so they can grow in their careers. Training such as virtual seminars and workshops on customer support, consumer psychology, dealing with difficult customers, and trends in customer experience will give your agents more confidence to do their jobs well.
2. Set Clear Goals
Tracking contact center metrics to understand performance, call volume, and customer experience is important. But contact center managers and supervisors also need to keep agents in the loop.
Hold meetings sharing the details on key performance indicators – how well has your contact center performed in the past, what is it doing now, and what are the goals for the upcoming day, week, or month?
Sharing these numbers will give agents something to strive for. Even better, when you tie in bonuses or other incentives to goals, agents get positive reinforcement, which helps to engage them even more.
3. Enable Work Flexibility
In one contact center agent survey, 41 percent said that work-life balance is their biggest stressor. Whether they need time to take care of family members or their own health, giving agents some flexibility over the hours they work can help them achieve a better work-life balance.
With a remote contact center, agents can also work in the comfort of their homes instead of having to commute to an office. This gives them more time to live their life outside of work. It’s also a more appealing work arrangement for most people – a poll of 2,000 workers found that 42 percent would choose mostly remote work as their dream schedule, and only 9 percent want to work on location all the time.
Fortunately, with cloud-based contact center technology, operating a remote contact center isn’t just possible; it can be a smart move for some companies. With reduced operational costs, greater work flexibility, and tools that make it easier to support agents with feedback and training, you can start building a thriving work culture at your contact center. Managers have the technology they need to understand what training and support agents need, track metrics, and enable work flexibility.
Learn how you can do more for your agents with industry-leading contact center software from Intermedia today.