Why employee engagement is the secret to improving the customer experience

The numbers are dire. Seven out of 10 contact center agents are thinking about quitting their jobs. If your contact center is a constant revolving door, the quality of customer service and overall customer experience takes a hit. 

There is a way to stop this downward spiral: by focusing on employee engagement. Below, we explain employee engagement, why it’s vital to improving the customer experience and how to boost engagement among your contact center agents.

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement refers to how motivated your contact center agents feel working for your company. More specifically, how happy are they doing the critical job of helping your customers? Do they feel motivated to provide exemplary tech support for your customers?

Keeping your contact center agents engaged is vital to retaining top talent. Research shows that engaged employees are eight and a half times more likely to stick around versus those who aren’t. This is critical when most contact center agents consider walking out the door. 

Focusing on employee engagement isn’t just crucial for keeping agents around. Research repeatedly shows that focusing on employee engagement is critical to improving the customer experience and boosting your company’s bottom line. 

Metrics to evaluate employee engagement 

Now that you know what employee engagement is, you might be wondering how to measure it for your contact center agents. To do this, you’ll need to focus on a couple of key employee metrics.

First, you’ll want to evaluate your employee retention and turnover rates. You’ll also want to look at employee net promoter score (NPS) to assess how happy your contact center agents are at work. You can gather additional data by asking your agents to complete surveys or reviewing your ratings on websites like Indeed or RateMyEmployer. Niche sites like InHerSight can give you more specific insights into how female employees rate your company. 

Looking for more contact center KPIs?

Challenges companies face in engaging employees

Telecom and broadband companies face numerous obstacles in boosting employee engagement. Remote work can sometimes leave contact center agents feeling lonely and isolated. Half of remote employees report experiencing feelings of loneliness at least once a week.

Additionally, agent turnover rates are extremely high. With a turnover rate of 45%, customer service agent turnover is much higher than average. This can create a downward spiral. As more employees quit, employee morale worsens, leading those who remain also to leave. 

How employee engagement improves the customer experience

Improving employee engagement is vital to reducing turnover. Research shows that it is also an important component of your customer service strategy. Below are some of the ways that engaged employees improve the customer experience.

Engaged employees are better at problem solving and issue resolution

Engaged employees feel the work they do makes a difference. So, it’s no surprise that engaged contact center agents are more likely to provide better customer service.

Because of that commitment, customers are more likely to receive the support they need to resolve their tech issues. This, in turn, can lead to higher first-call resolution rates (FCR) for your business. 

Increased FCR to higher confidence among engaged employees. Research by McKinsey shows that highly engaged employees are three times more confident in resolving customers’ issues than their peers. When you focus on keeping contact center agents engaged, they’ll feel more empowered to deliver quick and effective customer service.

Engaged employees lead to higher customer satisfaction

Research shows that engaged employees are 21% more productive than their colleagues. This means they can help more customers in the same amount of time. As employee engagement increases, so does customer satisfaction.

Engaged employees can help more customers quickly resolve tech support issues, improving your company’s net promoter score (NPS). Higher employee engagement can also help reduce customer churn

96% of customers leave after one bad service experience. If your employees feel engaged at work and understand the impact their jobs have on customers' lives, they’ll work to create a stellar tech support experience. 

Improved customer loyalty and retention

Employee engagement is also vital to improving customer retention. It costs up to five times more to acquire new customers than to keep current ones. Increasing customer retention is a cost-effective way to boost your bottom line. 

Employee engagement is an important component of your customer retention efforts. When contact center agents are engaged, your customer retention rates increase. Research found companies with engaged employees have 233% higher customer loyalty rates

Tips for increasing employee engagement and improving the customer experience

Engaged employees are vital to providing a better customer service experience. But how do you improve employee engagement at your company? Here are a few tips for increasing engagement among your contact center agents:

Focus on improving your contact center agent onboarding program

Creating a strong agent onboarding program is the first step to increasing employee engagement. If your contact center agents have a poor onboarding experience, they’re twice as likely to start looking for a new job. 

By creating a solid onboarding program, you can help your agents feel more connected at work and stop turnover in its tracks. Focus on engaging employees from day one by following these best onboarding practices:

  • Set clear goals for all new hires (you may want to use a 30-60-90 day plan)
  • Ensure that all training materials are up-to-date 
  • Provide clear, actionable feedback for new hires
  • Consider starting a mentorship program 

Provide adequate training and resources

Many contact center agents struggle with outdated training resources and technology. Libraries of physical devices can quickly become archaic, meaning they aren't useful for agents when trying to assist customers. 

As a result, agents can't do their jobs as efficiently, leading to poor performance and increased stress levels. This, in turn, can lead to lower engagement and, eventually, burnout. 

However, many tools, like virtualization, also known as virtualized tech support, update dynamically. This means your agents always have access to the most current information regarding customer devices. 

Additionally, live video support can be a powerful tool to increase agent engagement. Not only can they create a more tailored, personalized tech support experience, but they can also see their work's impact on customers in real time. When agents feel their work makes a difference, they feel more engaged in their jobs. 

Consider implementing a hybrid work model

Lack of engagement and consequential burnout can often be attributed to a lack of flexible working conditions. As more employees demand flexible work options, it might be time to consider a hybrid customer service strategy. Eight out of 10 employees want a hybrid work arrangement.

Hybrid work models increase employee engagement. Research shows that with an 81% engagement rate, employees in a hybrid work environment were the most engaged compared to their fully in-office or remote counterparts. 

Companies considering a hybrid work arrangement should collaborate with human resources to create a framework that strikes the right balance for employees and the business. They should also ensure that agents have the tools to communicate and collaborate efficiently from home. 

Improving the customer experience with better employee engagement

Better employee engagement leads to better customer service. It’s not enough to focus solely on the customer side when improving the customer experience. You need to also look within your company. The connection between high employee engagement and improved customer service is undeniable. By following the tips here, you can focus on improving the customer experience from the inside out. 

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