Over the last few years contact center managers started putting more emphasis on the importance of agent satisfaction with executives ready to spend money to improve it. At the same time though, with the added impact of COVID-19, agent attrition rates got worryingly high. Fonolo’s 2022 State of The Contact Center Report includes a research piece where more than 80% of respondents indicated that attrition had either stayed the same as the previous year or increased. As a matter of fact, one of the biggest staffing problems that call centers face today has been the staff turnover even dating back to 2015 and earlier.
Compounding this agent attrition problem are the increasing costs of hiring, training, and retaining agents. Per Ryan Strategic Advisory, this is a disturbing situation for contact centers, considering the impact that the vicious cycle of agent churn has on customer experience. When agents are unhappy in their jobs and frustrated with their work, these feelings may bleed into the interactions they have with customers. They may be less willing to go the extra mile for customers, quicker to lose patience with callers, and less invested in the customers’ satisfaction. It only takes one negative experience to lose business with 51% of consumers, so one unhappy agent can quickly create significant losses.
Impact of COVID-19 on Agent Satisfaction
With businesses laser-focused on customer experience, far too often the needs of agents get overlooked. This prolonged neglect has now led to a point where more radical changes may be required to see results, especially after the impact of COVID-19. Industry analyst Kate Nasser believes that COVID-19 tasked call center agents with having to sustain others, including callers and their coworkers, while being likely worried about their own safety and families. The agents who suffered personal losses may have struggled to maintain their daily responsibilities, even questioning if they want to stay in the contact center industry any longer.
Agent Empowerment: The Overlooked Key
Rather than just relying on performance metrics, it’s important to look for direct feedback from agents. It is helpful for leaders to compare customers’ feedback against the agents’ own to close perception gaps, and uncover more relevant next steps for empowerment. Tools that help agents self-monitor and communicate with managers as needed, mean that vital feedback can be gathered while it is still fresh.
It is this empowerment that makes for more engaged, effective agents which will lead to more ownership of work. That way, the supervisors will have a little more time to pay attention to agents’ needs rather than just handling escalations. This inclusive, engaging, lower stress and team based environment will help the agents see their average handle times drop and the customers’ satisfaction to increase.
Pindrop’s Authentication Solution Impacting Agent Satisfaction
Pindrop’s voice technology is innovating customer experiences by combining the ease and security of voice authentication to make accessing your digital world more human. Pindrop uses passive technology to reduce average handle time, increase IVR containment, and improve the customer experience in your contact center.
Organizations utilize Pindrop’s solution to authenticate genuine customers, improve customer experience and help keep customer accounts safe. But the benefits they see are not only limited to those factors – there is one more: improved agent satisfaction.
Agents value ownership and belonging above all else. Pindrop’s authentication solution makes agents feel empowered to help the customers because agents are confident that the customers are authenticated. In a recent case study developed with one of its customers from the banking industry, Pindrop realized that, within eight weeks of implementing the Pindrop solution, the Bank started receiving great feedback from its own call center team members with almost three-quarters of those expressing a high satisfaction.
In fact, one of the Bank’s call center agents stated:
“I was ECSTATIC when Pindrop rolled out. It not only decreased MY Average Handle Time and Hold Time, but it also made the customers less cautious of all the information we were asking them when we were doing the 7 Step Verification process. This helped me greatly improve my Scorecard and my 5-Star Incentive each quarter. Our customers noticed a decrease in hold times which they greatly appreciated and they were much more comfortable with answering less questions. Lastly, Pindrop has decreased the number of fraudsters who were getting past our normal verification process and is greatly protecting the Contact Centers assets. What a BLESSING!”
Customer authentication in the contact center today is a time consuming and clunky experience. But when done the right way, it can increase agent happiness and throughput.