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3 Ways to Make Your Contact Center More Agent-Centric

Now more than ever before, contact centers are focusing on improving the agent experience as a direct means of improving the customer experience. No surprises here. Most everyone agrees that if an agent has a positive mindset, it will be reflected in his or her interactions with customers.

Understanding the link between the agent experience and the customer experience is the easy part. Getting agents to their happy place? Not so much.

Three Ways to Empower Agents & Improve Workplace Happiness
Keeping employees, management, and customers happy is no small task for contact center leaders. The balance is difficult to maintain, with business objectives and customer expectations often weighted more heavily than the agent experience. Agents are left feeling less than empowered and rather underappreciated.

One way to restore the balance -- along with agents' sense of self-worth -- is by giving frontline staffers greater control over their work environments. Below are three ways to give agents a greater say -- and, in turn, not only improve service delivery, but morale as well:

  • The Big Rocks Team - This idea, based on an exercise created by leadership expert Stephen Covey, may not be a new concept to some managers, but a successful one that is worth bringing back again. In the contact center environment, workday pressures can make people feel helpless and out of control. With Covey's Big Rocks exercise, participants discover how to regain control via improved planning and execution. The term is based on a team exercise in which you ask people to see how much sand and how many rocks -- some big, some small -- they can fit into a jar. When you start with the big rocks first, then small rocks, then sand, you can get the most volume into a jar. The exercise is a metaphor for how to prioritize change. What affects the most people or has the greatest impact (i.e., big rocks) gets top priority. Following the exercise put your agents in charge of a Big Rocks team. In addition to having them identify and prioritize the "big rocks" in your workplace, have them detail action plans that outline the impact of the changes on budget, workforce planning, customer delivery, and so on.

    While the above ideas are varied in approach, they share several common outcomes. In attempting to provide a more agent-centric environment, you will improve agent morale and resulting customer interactions. And as a manager, you'll learn more about your business, your customers, and the people who work for you as well.