Shaping the Employee Experience to Improve Customer Experience

In a world of online reviews, ratings and referrals, delivering an exceptional customer experience becomes the end goal for any brand that wants to cement their position in people’s hearts and minds.

Throughout the years, traditional workforce management systems designed to empower companies and contact centers to provide better and more sophisticated customer service have emphasized the optimization of contact center processes, relying on metrics and enhancements to drive efficiency and agent performance. But these systems also risk running the workforce ragged and driving disengagement.

A recent Frost & Sullivan study on workforce engagement management (WEM) found that 89% of surveyed companies felt that improving contact center engagement will significantly enhance the quality of customer experience. And companies that fully adopt WEM solutions are 82% more likely to provide a better quality of customer experience and 96% more likely to achieve overall profitability. This means companies that invest in delivering the right tools and incorporating elements that engage, recognize and enliven — and empower their workforce to do their jobs more effectively — reap the benefits of happier, more productive employees.

The Link Between Employee Experience and Customer Experience

On the surface, the relationship between good employee experience and good customer experience is obvious: a happier, better prepared agent will deliver superior customer service than one who’s disgruntled and uninformed. While this is true, there are multiple factors that come into play when building and maintaining a high-performing workforce. Everything from recruitment and onboarding to training, employee development and recognition, fall under scrutiny with a new generation of highly demanding employees who are ready to jump to new job opportunities in the gig economy.

Within the contact center space, agent attrition is a major challenge that results in millions of dollars lost in recruitment, training and poor customer experience that all are delivered from an inexperienced employee. With agents coming in and out of a contact center constantly, it becomes increasingly difficult to stabilize quality levels and transfer knowledge effectively. And that leaves supervisors and management scrambling to not only meet service levels but also ensure their agents are knowledgeable and proficient in delivering the type of customer experience that spurs brand loyalty. To achieve these goals, companies must give the workforce the tools and resources that enable them to perform their jobs well and invest time in developing their agents’ skills.

The Rise of Workforce Engagement Management

Traditionally, contact centers have employed a series of processes that ensure high-quality customer service. Through recordings, quality assurance and more, companies could track, detect and improve upon their agents’ performance. This resulted in a barrage of numbers and targets that agents must meet. However, such a single-minded approach to contact center management could leave agents feeling as if they’re chasing a carrot on a stick. And that, ultimately, will support decisions to leave or to simply meet the minimum requirements. This type of approach often results in a disengaged workforce that’s unmotivated or disinterested in contributing to delivering a good customer experience.

So, rather than take a numbers-heavy route, companies look to workforce engagement as a more holistic and effective approach. By implementing tools that motivate, recognize and engage with employees, companies can nurture their workforce to become highly effective, knowledgeable, and, most of all, invested in their company’s success. And that improves customer experience.

The Role of Automation in a Positive Employee Experience

A contact center is a naturally fast-paced environment, which can make it challenging for staff to set aside times for training, one-on-one coaching and other motivational tools for the workforce. However, management can address these issues more easily, set schedules to accommodate agents’ varying lifestyles and ensure a healthy work-life balance, and accurately predict and managing staffing for specific seasons so agents aren’t inundated or idle. They also can provide agents with resources and assistance in real time, enabling them to successfully end an interaction through automation and deliver on customer experience expectations.

According to Frost & Sullivan, 50% of the organizations globally have automated at least four WEM processes, including quality management (QM), forecasting and scheduling, agent assistance, and e-learning.

Likewise, as self-service channels gain more traction and become the preferred method as a first layer of interaction from customers, Robotic Process Automation can lessen agents’ workloads and equip them with important preliminary information. This way, when they take a call or engage a customer, they can resolve issues and deliver more valuable solutions — faster and more effectively.

Focus on the Cloud

Every day, more companies look to the cloud for innovation and modernization, thanks its flexibility and continuous development opportunities. As customer service expands to new channels, requires richer integrations and demands faster innovation, contact centers are increasingly more willing to move to the cloud to acquire new optimization tools, improved agent desktops and more sophisticated capabilities. They don’t want to be left behind with legacy systems that are nearing end of life.

“While one out of four organizations already have a WFO cloud deployment, 60% of companies shared their plans to embrace one by the end of 2020. Only 7% of the interviewees, worldwide, commented they have no plans or are unsure about using WFO cloud solutions,” according to Frost & Sullivan, 2019.

Considering the benefits that the cloud offers contact centers — scalability, fast implementations, lower Total Cost of Ownership, seamless customer enhancements and increased business agility — the move to cloud is expected to gain even more momentum in the next few years.

As contact centers evolve, so must the systems that cater to their smooth functioning. A workplace set on maintaining its old ways — one that ignores the demands of newer generations — runs the risks of only achieving a disengaged and unproductive workforce characterized by high agent turnover and poor customer experience.

Workforce engagement management solutions are pivotal to any organization’s strategy — not just to boost operational performance but also to effectively engage employees. Because the employee experience and customer experience are so closely intertwined, the impact that an engaged and motivated employee has on customer experience cannot be overstated.

WEM solutions as strategic tools not only lead to cost reduction and higher customer satisfaction levels, but they also increase brand loyalty from the customer and the employee standpoints. Check out this infographic for more information on how to stop irritating your customers and provide great customer experiences.