“What’s keeping you up at night?” is a question I have asked Contact Center leaders constantly over the years. The question is designed to dig into real life problems they have and to ensure the technology solutions I recommend will actually make a difference.
When this question is posed to contact center leaders that I meet at events, conferences, or in customer meetings, regardless of industry, or size, or digital maturity, the number one response is always the same. How can we attract and retain staff?
This is not a new problem, so what has changed?
Contact Centers are the heart of customer experience. The “frontline”, as they are often referred to, deal with any and all customer requests, issues and complaints. It’s a high-pressure job; navigating systems, customer’s emotions, strict KPIs and complex processes. Traditionally it’s been an entry-level role or a “point in time” job whilst balancing school or other things. Losing agents is not a new problem. However, the combination of post Covid-19 hybrid models, The Great Resignation and a new generation of Digital Nomads have amplified this issue for many organizations. Employees’ expectations have changed. It’s an employee’s market, and that’s the true pivot of the industry.
What’s the solution?
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to adapt to new ways of working, and contact centers are no exception. In recent years, contact centers have started to adopt flexible working arrangements such as work from home (WFH), hybrid, and work from anywhere. The ability to work remotely has become increasingly important to employees, and it can be a significant factor in attracting and retaining contact center staff.
Flexible shifts are also essential to attracting and retaining contact center agents. Many contact centers operate 24/7, which means that employees often work shifts that can be challenging for their work-life balance. Offering flexible shifts that work around employees’ schedules can make a big difference in retaining staff. In addition to flexibility, offering benefits such as unlimited leave can also attract and retain contact center staff. Providing employees with the ability to take time off when they need it can be a significant incentive to stay with the company.
Personal development is essential to keeping contact center staff engaged. Providing opportunities for personal and professional growth can be a significant factor in retaining employees. This can be done through training and development programs, mentorship, and coaching.
Empathetic and invested leaders are also crucial in retaining contact center staff. Leaders who show genuine care and concern for their employees and are invested in their success can create a positive work environment that fosters loyalty and engagement.
Ways to connect to teams are also vital in retaining contact center staff. Offering opportunities for team building, social events, and open communications channels can create a sense of community and belonging, which can be a significant factor in retaining employees.
Focus on the agent experience
The agent experience is critical to retaining contact center staff.
Navigating multiple systems, processes and customer conversations is challenging enough, without adding a barking dog or noisy housemate into the mix. Simplifying how they interact with technology and delivering the knowledge they need goes a long way in making their lives easier.
Providing a single pane of glass that consolidates all relevant information can make the agents’ jobs more manageable, reducing frustration and errors. Simple and effective tools and systems can also make the agent’s jobs easier, increasing job satisfaction.
On-the-job support is also essential to retaining contact center staff. Providing employees with the support they need to do their jobs effectively can reduce stress and increase job satisfaction.
The role of technology
Leading edge innovative technologies are the ultimate enabler to ensure an organisation’s recruitment strategy. At Upland, we know Contact Centers. We understand agents, their pain, and how to solve it. Through our Intelligent CTI solution, InGenius, we connect telephony and CRM to support agents and team leaders, no matter where they work.
With our best of breed knowledge management solutions, RightAnswers and Panviva, we remove the guesswork and provide on the job support ensuring the right information is delivered to your agents at their moment of need.
In conclusion, attracting and retaining staff in the modern contact center can be challenging. Not all of the points mentioned above are within the control of Contact Center leaders. However, by focusing on flexibility, engagement, the agent experience, and enabling technology, contact centers can be a positive work environment that fosters loyalty and engagement.
If you’re struggling to attract and retain contact center staff and want to learn how other leading organizations have achieved this with Upland’s help – reach out today.