3 Reasons your Contact Centre Agent’s Well-Being is Broken – Contact centre customer engagements tend to follow a set path and process. This runs along the lines of a recommended workflow, opening, discovery, suggestions, summarisation and a customer satisfaction survey.
While some contact centres are adopting Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help them to unify their processes and assist in call handling, there are still many that are plodding along without AI.
Without AI, these contact centres can completely miss interactions of concern that affect an agent’s well-being. These are the types of interactions where the amount of negative sentiment and cross talk, and the number of cancellation risks, are above average.
If we consider that a medium-sized contact centre has potentially more than 3,000 unsatisfied engagements every month, that is more than 3,000 interactions that are difficult to deal with and more than 3,000 potential calls where agents will need to remain calm and communicate in a friendly and positive manner with highly irate customers. This is an extremely challenging situation for agents, who are having to empathise with and educate the customer while trying to elicit positive sentiment and a good resolution.
- Empathy is the pathway to trustworthiness
Contact centres use escalation protocols that provide guidelines on managing dissatisfied customers. These are conversational guides to direct and steer agents to better understand the needs of the customer. They also provide handling guidance to help agents to identify needs, resolutions and mea culpa (whose fault).
So, what is missing? Many of these processes are essential and are focused on the annoyance level of customers’ complaints and escalations. Pressure is placed on the agent to recover difficult situations, and this often results in agents working outside of company protocol. These incidents can result in the customer taking to social media with a not-so-factually-accurate post, in a blatant attempt to shame the organisation into giving the customer what they want. Again, unpicking this situation takes human intervention to resolve it to everyone’s satisfaction and can be emotionally draining, particularly if the agent does not feel they are being assisted or protected by company protocol.
The importance of an agent’s holistic wellness is well-documented and impacts their overall health, their outlook and attitude, job satisfaction, motivation and enthusiasm. Therefore, emotional well-being levels should be measured regularly. Knowing and understanding the emotional state of your agents is critical to the health of your business and ensures that your customer-satisfaction levels remain above average. This will ensure your customers trust your organisation.
- Onboarding is not an operational instruction manual
Taking care of agent’s emotional well-being really matters. Emotionally healthy agents are able to manage a good work-life balance. They can work within a range of emotions, without losing control, while they operate and interact with all customer types and engage in a positive, friendly and patient manner. This is essential to achieving a great customer experience and NLP Score.
Post lockdown, agents are dealing with customers who are vocalising more-intense negative emotions. This places agents under pressure to satisfy customers’ needs. To protect agents, organisations need to put measures in place to capture the emotional well-being of their agents more quickly. This will protect their human resource investment, keeping agents onside and raising their morale. Many organisations still prioritise the onboarding of new agents over the emotional well-being of incumbent agents. Such organisations have a high agent attrition rate and low NPS score. This practice is counterproductive as the cost of continuously recruiting and onboarding new employees far outweighs the cost of adding agent sentiment analysis to the mix and retaining more of their existing agents.
- Engagement well-being is a two-way street
Demanding customer engagements leave negative footprints. Many organisations fall back on measuring sentiment, satisfaction and NPS surveys to rate experience and behaviour rather than looking at product, processes and people. In many cases, friction or conversation control behaviour can be detected much earlier than post-call surveys. Automated well-being insights measure and monitor agent health via employee insights, fast talk, cross talk, sentiment and frustration. Every agent engagement can be analysed and flagged immediately, which helps agents who need support to deal with the most demanding customers and maintain control of the call.
With AI-driven insights, a customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) improvement culture, which focuses on proactively managing all customer and employee experiences, is possible. It efficiently links 100 per cent of customer contacts to service success. This assists leaders to rapidly and effectively anticipate the needs of the customers or agents who express dissatisfaction or experience excessive friction and effort. This, in turn, contributes to an organisation’s CX strategy and change management success programmes.
Rene van Popering is Director of Solutions Architecture EMEA at Contexta360
Contexta360 is a leading speech analytics and conversational intelligence company based in Amsterdam and London.
We are a team of highly skilled software developers and computer scientists with a passion for artificial intelligence, speech-to-text, data science and natural language understanding. We help organisations to capture voice, chat and video conversations across multiple languages, transcribing and analysing them. We build a 360-degree view of customer interaction by analysing your conversations through the entire customer journey.
For additional information on Contexta360 visit their Website