The importance of the customer experience is always top-of-mind in the contact center industry. How well are we serving the customer? Are they having an outstanding experience? But what about the employee experience (or agent experience), which is equally important. Employee and customer experiences are directly correlated and comprise a complete feedback loop. If the agent experience is poor, it is likely to have a negative impact on the customer experience, and vice versa. In fact:
- Companies that excel at customer experience have 1.5x more engaged employees than companies with poor customer experience.
- 79% of employees at companies with above-average customer experience are highly-engaged in their jobs. Compare that to only 49% at companies with average or below-average customer experience scores.
- Companies that make a concerted effort to improve their customer experience see employee engagement rates go up by an average of 20%.
As you can see, the customer and employee experience relationship is critical to a company's success. Not recognizing this relationship can lead to short-sighted strategies that result in agent burnout and disengaged customer support. This can negatively impact a company's bottom line.
Luckily, there are several trends pushing the conversation away from competitive differentiation being based solely on the customer experience:
- Trend #1: The marketplace is becoming saturated with better customer experiences, so now brands must breach the next competitive frontier - the employee/agent experience (EX).
- Trend #2: As automation proliferates the contact center, agents will receive increasingly difficult requests from customers thereby placing greater importance on agent empowerment.
- Trend #3: Unemployment rates are historically low, and employees are taking full advantage, frequently moving between jobs to find exactly what they want in an employee experience.
These trends are leading businesses to become diligent in finding ways to attract and retain talent. That being said, plan to see a much heavier focus on how to design a better employee experience (EX) for the agents in the contact center industry.
What is Employee Experience and Why is it Important?
Hiring and retaining the right talent is a high priority for many organizations but is also a big challenge. Employees frequently change jobs. And despite the millions spent on various initiatives and programs, employee engagement remains abysmally low. This could be because incentives are short-term fixes – perks or parties offered to boost employee interest and morale. But eventually, the effect wears off and the cycle begins again.
When an organization makes real gains in employee engagement, it’s because there’s a long-term strategy in place to create a real employee experience. But what is EX? And what do meaningful improvements look like?
An exceptional EX delivers day-to-day experiences that are more meaningful than perks and parties. It requires deliberate strategy to realign workplace culture around the interests of the employees. According to SHRM.org, it is based on three factors:
- The physical workspace
For a more dedicated and satisfied workforce, an organization should optimize all three factors based on the needs and expectations of its employees. A solid employee experience strategy is effective in sectors that struggle with talent acquisition and turnover, like the contact center.
By investing in the culture, technology and facilities, contact centers can empower their agents and improve their job satisfaction. If they’re more satisfied, they’ll stay longer, meaning service teams will be more experienced. Not to mention more engaged employees are critical to obtaining more customers with higher lifetime value.
At the end of the day, what’s good for the customer is good for the business. And happy, engaged employees are the lifeblood of a strong CX. A long-term EX strategy is how to get there. Companies that want to fill their talent pipelines and retain their best employees need a strategy for empowering their people with the tools, culture and facilities they need to do an excellent job taking care of their customers.