Employee Engagement Boosts Customer Loyalty

With contact center employees being the first point of contact with customers, organizations are recognizing that there is a proven correlation between a positive employee experience (EX) and  a better customer experience (CX). Two-thirds of businesses find implementing employee engagement initiatives “crucial” or “very important” for their CX organization1Contact center leaders ask, “How can we keep agents motivated to provide great service with rising customer expectations?”

Contact center agents want tools and technologies that help them more easily assist customers, improve their performance, and provide them with the flexibility of where and when they work.  The challenge is that the workplace now includes four generations (i.e., baby boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z). Digitally, organizations must carefully consider the effectiveness of the tools they acquire to facilitate onboarding, quality monitoring, and training for each age group. Socially, they must consider how each generation connects with one another. Creating an environment that functions well for a diverse workforce requires empathy from the top level of an organization and a targeted approach to implementing employee engagement initiatives by contact center leaders.

Navigating the Workforce of the Future

As voice calls become more complex, companies need super agents (and eventually, professional agents) that require continual training and career growth. EX comprises of employee empowerment, productivity, purpose, and performance.

Improving EX is a critical part of a workforce optimization (WFO) strategy. Infusion of AI across the contact center landscape is a top strategy to enhance both CX and EX, with 73% of IT decision makers (ITDM’s) planning to invest in AI-driven guided resolution and next-best action for agents in the next year. AI-powered WFO integrates coaching and training to heighten expertise and confidence and adds agent-assist bots and knowledge management for greater process automation.

With 91% of contact center leaders planning to have some portion of their agents will be remote, investments in solutions that ensure knowledge transfer to WAH agents is essential.

The following initiatives are necessary to create a workplace environment that flourishes:

    • Transforming staffing strategy for remote or hybrid environments (hiring, onboarding, training, engagement, career paths, and retention)
    • Prioritizing technology to better cultivate a high performing workforce
    • Pushing back to the C- Suite – While the C-Suite is eager to get employees back in the office, Frost & Sullivan research shows that WAH agents can be as or more productive than their in-office counterparts with the right tools.

WFO Drives Performance, Agent Engagement, and an Improved CX in the Contact Center Industry

A critical area of investment is next-generation WFO tools, which assist supervisors in managing a hybrid workforce and utilize AI to vastly improve agent capabilities. Inclusive to WFO are complementary functions under the umbrella of WEM that focus on recruitment, onboarding, evaluating, training, coaching, and motivating the workforce.

AI implementations are now beyond basic chatbots that handle frequently asked questions, they are intelligent virtual assistants (IVA) that provide value to both agents and customers. Self-service options with integrated knowledge databases are gaining importance along with process automation and agent assistance. Enhanced data analytics can enhance agent/bot scripts and customer journeys in real-time. Post-interaction transcription and call summaries can track required follow-up with customers.

In addition, AI is being infused to automate an increasing number of processes, many that are unique to a function or vertical. Workforce engagement management (WEM), project management (PM), quality management (QM), and forecasting and scheduling solutions empower and engage employees with capabilities such as game mechanics and self-scheduling. AI- and ML-enabled forecasting and scheduling packages allow for agents to have flex time while keeping wait times low.

Advanced analytics are critical to meet demanding customer requirements including personalized solutions and customer care, a seamless customer journey, and predictive customer care. Service providers are increasingly enhancing agent performance with AI-powered analytics and tools that focus on how the customer feels. For example, AI-powered virtual coaching allows prospects, new hires, and seasoned agents can train on improving empathy, sentiment analysis and feedback, and behavioral analytics.

Service providers that offer insights into the human side of customer interactions stand to reap long-term benefits such as greater customer and employee loyalty, lower churn rates, and more customer lifetime value.

The Last Word

CX management service providers and organizations have come to understand that employee engagement and customer engagement are interdependent and equal in importance. CX solution providers must deliver on the following initiatives to create happy agents who deliver excellent customer experiences:

  • Accurate and timely agent-assist capabilities
  • Impactful onboarding, training, and clear career paths
  • AI-powered forecasting and scheduling
  • Advanced analytics including voice of employee (VoE)
  • Knowledge transfer and integrated knowledge management
  • Collaboration across the enterprise to improve first call resolution (FCR) and connection with WAH agents
  • Next-generation agent and supervisor workspaces

1 2024 Frost & Sullivan Contact Center ITDM Survey

For more information on Frost & Sullivan’s CX Practice – Contact Centre Solutions Transformation – Frost & Sullivan

Alpa Shah, Global Vice President at Frost & Sullivan, has vast professional and volunteer experience in developing business and organization strategies; analyzing product, regional, and vertical markets; planning and executing events; sales and marketing; writing growth opportunity insights; and, most importantly, creating and inspiring teams to be best in class. Her current area of focus is on CX; she has also worked on projects covering technologies such as UC and mobile and wireless.