Plagued by churn, absenteeism and declining CX standards, contact centers across the world are currently facing a series of challenges unprecedented in the 50-year history of the industry.
The reasons behind this alarming scenario are down to a number of pressing issues that contact centers must acknowledge and address if they are to meet rising customer expectations.
Workforce optimization is failing.
We have all witnessed the rise of performance metrics and targets in the name of workforce optimization. While it has led to short-term improvements, this obsession with monitoring software has resulted in a tendency to focus on the data, and then drill these numbers into an agent’s psyche, day after day after day.
The technology currently employed is simply treating agents like robots, which is why you get a robot-like mentality in return. Under pressure, unmotivated, maligned by the general public…and we wonder why levels of absenteeism and churn are at an all-time high. The fact is that agent disengagement is now at epidemic levels.
Technology alone doesn’t hold the answer.
Many contact centers have turned to digital channels in an attempt to find the answers, but have discovered, to their cost, that automation has its limits.
The hard truth is that as technology makes contact centers more efficient (by taking over the simplistic tasks) it will lead to a requirement for super agents, who will be needed both when technology is unable to solve complex challenges and when it simply fails altogether.
What this serves to demonstrate is that ultimately organizations will depend more on human creativity, not less. And while the rise of chatbots, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) services, Web-based collaborative tools and the like is inevitable, there is a rock-solid case for investing in people and employee engagement.
Even if a digital CX program is successfully implemented, it will only serve to deliver standardization across the sector. How can you offer a competitive advantage based on a superior CX when they all look and respond the same way?
Workforce Engagement Management is absolutely crucial to the success of CX.
It is now an inescapable requirement that contact centers introduce management and motivational tools that can nurture a new generation of super agent: engaged, informed, enthused and capable of delivering a first-class CX.
Engagement isn’t just about keeping people focused on their day-to-day workload. Twenty-first century engagement is a sense of organizational connection and relevance; it’s an understanding of purpose, of contribution and the opportunity to learn and progress.
Workforce Engagement Management (WEM) is fast becoming an imperative for the future health, prosperity and even the very survival of many contact centers.
About the Author
Jaime leads EvaluAgent in delivering people-focused software and services to our customers. After almost twenty years directing customer experience and workforce engagement programs for some of the UK’s biggest brands, including EE, Barclays and M&S, Jaime’s mission is to empower contact centers to deliver a truly great customer experience.