When the topic of automation comes up, people often ask about the impact on agent engagement. Engagement is becoming increasingly important as it relates to employee churn, satisfaction and, ultimately, the customer experience. No matter how far along customers may be in their agent engagement journey, they all inquire if automation will have a negative impact.
“Your employees matter more than most pieces of the customer experience puzzle. Don’t expect this to change in 2020 or the future beyond it.”
— Jeannie Walters, CCXP, “The Future of CX”
This concern is 100% valid since we’re talking about the contact center where attrition is higher than other industries at 35%-40%. Your people are vital for preserving and enhancing the customer experience. While recent attempts have been made to reduce call center volume, a Gartner survey cited that only 9% of customers reported solving their issue via self-serve options.
That said, agents need to be ready to deliver great service, and engagement is a key factor. A few elements play into this, including but not limited to ongoing development, coaching, performance, pay, empowerment, work-life balance, whether they feel value—the list continues.
In the traditional call center, finding enough time for training is challenging enough as it is. Consistent coaching programs are next to non-existent.
When coaching is inconsistent, an agent’s only form of feedback may be a from weekly scorecard that tracks key metrics such as handle time, schedule adherence and quality assurance. With little insight on how to turn their scores around, this approach may lead to disengagement. Add rigid schedules on top of that and you have the perfect formula for increased churn and the cost of replacing and retraining churned agents.
What if you could use Workforce Automation (WFA) to carve out time for coaching sessions?
Coaching—on top of training—is that essential element needed for agents to want to go the extra mile and provide great service. When supervisors can spend quality time coaching agents, they can facilitate ongoing conversations that help demonstrate what agents can do to improve in future situations. This additional time spent with the agents provides the guidance they need and shows them that they’re valued.
Since all agents are not created equal, innovative leaders are turning to a more targeted approach to coaching. They leverage Workforce Automation to deliver a combination of the following: the right training content, time for agents to have coaching sessions, and the topics that need to be covered regarding training scores and performance metrics. Supervisors use a simple user interface to prioritize which agents need coaching, and the system automatically finds the time for coaching by monitoring call center conditions.
This makes it easier for supervisors to focus on providing agents with a personalized and more meaningful conversation.
Don’t forget about recognizing the wins. Sixty-seven percent of employees receiving feedback that focused on their strengths were fully engaged in their work. A logical and productive recommendation is to have your supervisors reflect and discuss what agents did correctly during these coaching sessions.
Workforce Automation pays off because it enables people within call centers to work more efficiently. From the agent perspective, their primary role is to handle customer inquiries. From the business perspective, Workforce Automation increases the amount of coaching and training agents receive—without adding cost. Automation helps agents stay on track and meet key performance metrics. When automation drives these efficiencies, it gives managers or supervisors time to focus and prepare for those coaching sessions.
This is how coaching is done in the future-ready contact center.