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Ghosting: why contact centres are (rightly) obsessed with employee engagement

Let’s be honest.

Working in a contact centre is hard.

Agents are often dealing with the most frustrated and challenging customers at the moment when they are most annoyed or eager for support.

Agents face a broad spectrum of customer queries – which they are not always equipped to support.

And on top of the stresses of the work, agents may have to cope with clunky systems that are a million miles away from the tech they’re used to. For people who have grown up using iPhones and effortless apps like Deliveroo, Uber and Snapchat, contact centre software can feel like a huge step backwards.

Ghosted by employees?

In the US, people are increasingly walking out of jobs they don’t like, without even bothering to announce their resignation – or to say goodbye.

‘Ghosting’ is a term originally applied to ignoring romantic partners that you no longer want to see, but the Federal Reserve has used the term in their reports after finding a 10-20% increase in employees simply walking out of jobs.

While this is apparently a larger phenomenon in the states, where the unemployment rate is historically low, one must wonder if this trend will hop the pond. Or has it already happened? Has your contact centre experienced unannounced walk-outs? Are people leaving for better jobs – without letting you know?

Whether or not ghosting has hit our shores, agent turnover is consistently the biggest challenge that contact centres face.

So what can you do to reduce staff turnover?

Employee engagement is one solution.

The importance of employee engagement in contact centres

Customer experience. Losing talented agents means an inevitable dip in performance. And your customers will be the first to notice. You can’t deliver an exceptional customer experience if your agents are dissatisfied or feel unvalued.

Turnover rates. If you want to slow down the rate of change in your contact centres, you need to work on employee engagement. By creating a better environment, you can give people more reasons to stay, and fewer reasons to choose one of your competitors.

Cost. Recruiting costs. On-boarding. Training. IT provision. How much does it cost to recruit a single agent? It might be worth defining this cost when developing your employee engagement programmes, so you can pinpoint the value of reducing turnover rates.

Disruption. Every new joiner requires on-boarding, training and supervision, which is inevitably more onerous on the team than retaining employees who know exactly what they’re doing.

Losing the best talent. The brightest and most capable agents tend to be the most open to new opportunities – and alert to better job offers. The only way to retain top talent is to work hard to keep them engaged and rewarded. The alternative is to fill your contact centre with people who have less ambition and motivation.

How can you engage contact centre employees?

Upgrade your systems. If your teams are struggling with outdated systems, they may grow frustrated and perceive your organisation as falling behind.

“92% of workers say that having the right technology directly impacts their job satisfaction” – Ultimate Software

Invest in your people. Without development opportunities, your agents may feel like a hamster in a wheel; they’re just doing a job, rather than developing a career. By investing in your people, your teams will feel valued and will recognise the value in staying in their role and advancing through the ranks. And that’s not to mention the additional value you get from having a highly skilled and well trained workforce.

Reward effort. Do you recognise and reward employees who achieve great results? Is there an incentive to work harder – or push further with training and development?

Pay a competitive wage. Of course, salaries must be managed, and contact centre costs cannot be allowed to spiral, but pay is a motivating factor, particularly if people recognise that they could earn more for doing the same work elsewhere.

Change your tomorrow, today.
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