Happy Agent Equals Happy Customer: It’s Not a Cliché

Happy Agent, Happy Customer, It's Not a Cliche

I watched a Call Centre Helper webinar last Thursday titled “5 Ways to Get Agents to Improve Customer Experience.” Gerry Brown from The Customer Lifeguard and Jessica Smith from inContact/RingCentral presented. The starting slide of Jessica’s segment displayed the words “Happy Agent – Happy Customer” in large letters. That truism is one we toss around a lot here at WorkFlex. Research supports the claim. As MetricNet CEO Jeff Rumburg wrote in June of this year, “What is…often surprising to many people, is the strong cause-and-effect relationship between agent job satisfaction and customer satisfaction, illustrated in the chart below. It turns out that the adage ‘happy agent equals happy customer’ is not just a cliché; it’s really true!”

MerticNet's agent satisfaction equals customer satisfaction graph

Besides, it’s common sense. You know from your own life experience that when you’re happy at work, you’re a better employee and a more pleasant co-worker. If we had to sum up the WorkFlex mission briefly, it would probably be “make contact center employees happier at work.” That sounds simplistic, but since WorkFlex technology facilitates activities and processes that create better work conditions for employees and that employees actually want, ultimately, it’s accurate.

How to Make Agents Happier?
Gerry Brown shared the seven things that, according to his research, agents would like to experience in the workplace:

  • More Respect
  • Additional Opportunity
  • Increased Flexibility
  • Enhanced Job Responsibilities
  • Recognition of Extra Effort
  • Fair and customer driven assessment of their abilities
  • To feel valued & part of a Bigger Thing

He and his co-presenter Jessica Smith both discussed their prescriptions for meeting these wants. Technology was a key factor, particularly in Jessica’s segment. They both called on companies to provide agents with the right tools to do their job effectively. Jessica pointed to Adaptive WFO, Gamification and the Unified Agent Desktop. Adaptive WFO is all about personalizing the agent experience using technology to track agent behavioral metrics, attributes and preferences, and then developing agent-specific responses in everything from from employee incentives to coaching. Though Smith singles Gamification out as a unique “key to success” in the technology pantheon, it can be subsumed under Adaptive WFO and represents an avenue for increased employee engagement. The Unified Agent Desktop brings the complete functionality agents need to best perform their tasks to the work station where access is immediate and agents can find the right information enabling them to assist the customer quickly and efficiently.

WorkFlex is “all in” when it comes to the use of technologies like these to improve work conditions and job satisfaction for contact center agents. Our agent mobile app exists chiefly for the purpose of delivering that “Increased Flexibility” in Gerry Brown’s assessment of what agents would like. The flexibility WorkFlex enables is truly unprecedented in the industry. When and where have agents ever been able to manage their own work schedules – from anywhere at any time? Last week, we blogged about the trust from management this level of agent empowerment demonstrates. Another word for trust might be “respect,” something of which agents, according to Brown, want more. Valuing agents enough to put a powerful tool in their hands, one they can use at will to manage their lives, sends a pronounced respect signal. Gamification features in the WorkFlex agent mobile app offer “Recognition of Extra Effort” by rewarding agents with points for accepting work hours normally difficult to fill, and letting agents use those points for “Increased Flexibility” – i.e., taking more time off. These things matter to agents. The WorkFlex customer experience reflects it.

It shouldn’t really be “surprising to many people” that “happy agent equals happy customer.” It’s human nature to be more positive and productive when you’re happy and enjoying your work, or at least not unhappy and hating your work. Technology is not a panacea for employee dissatisfaction, but it is a useful tool that facilitates easier, more manageable work conditions, and sometimes even fun on the road to good customer service. We’re delighted that industry experts like Gerry Brown and Jessica Smith are as focused on the possibilities as we are.

-The WorkFlex Team

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