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3 Ways to Increase Agent Job Satisfaction in the Call Center

Company

Scott Kendrick

December 29, 2014

Smiling call center agents

We’ve all heard the phrase “The customer is always right.” In fact, in today’s customer-centric landscape, it’s become so commonplace that it almost goes without saying that customer satisfaction trumps all.

But let’s take a step back for a minute. What is it that leads to customer satisfaction? Who makes the customer experience their top priority and ensures that customers leave with the types of experiences that will make them want to continue doing business with a company?

The answer? Customer service representatives. Due to their position on the front lines, agents are the ones interacting with existing and potential customers. In order to do their jobs well (and provide the type of customer experience that inspires loyalty and trust), it’s critical for agents to feel fulfilled in their roles. Let’s take a look at a few ways to increase agent job satisfaction in the call center:

Ongoing training & support: Forget the call center for a second. Employees in any environment would find it hard to thrive without proper training, coaching, and support from management. After all, what’s the motivation for employees to succeed without feedback and direction on the work they’re already doing?

In the call center, where customer service representatives often need to make decisions in real time, this type of feedback is essential. VPI data shows 92% of call center leaders see high value in sharing metrics (i.e., number of calls in queue, service level, customer satisfaction, schedule adherence, and first contact resolution) with agents. With real-time call monitoring software in place, managers are alerted to customer service issues as they occur, which can help them to determine which areas may need to be improved upon and work with agents to figure out the best way to do so.

Comfortable environment: Agent job satisfaction doesn’t just have to do with actual performance. Sometimes, it’s the external factors, such as peer-to-peer interactions, office culture/morale, and workplace environment, that can have the biggest impact on productivity levels and individual fulfillment.

As noted in a recent Wired article, Airbnb’s customer experience team works out of a “collaborative workspace” instead of rows of cubicles. This flexible office, filled with “landing spots” for agents to store their personal items, conference rooms, shared desks, and couches for working on laptops, promotes easy mobility and the freedom to choose what type of environment to work in, based on individual calls. While not all call center environments may find this type of arrangement suitable for agent teams, it’s worth considering how the actual workplace can impact agent job satisfaction levels.

Open culture: With call center turnover notoriously high (one estimate puts it at roughly 25% annually), it’s important for management to find ways to make the workplace the type of environment that will attract and retain talent.

A Call Centre Helper article on how to improve staff retention claims that establishing an open culture can be hugely beneficial. “We’ve found that by offering forums, suggestion schemes, and business scorecards, employees of all levels are able to air their views and concerns,” says CCH. “This creates a workplace where people feel valued and where they believe their views are being heard.” Better agent engagement results in improved job satisfaction, notes CCH, resulting in fewer employees wanting to leave the company.

Final Thoughts

Attracting and retaining the right kind of talent in the call center can be a tricky business. Fortunately, there are a number of ways companies can drive agent job satisfaction (as outlined above), resulting in a more productive workforce and more satisfied customers.

What is your company doing to make agents feel fulfilled in their daily work? We’d love hear your perspective in the comments below.

Image Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/AdamGregor

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