This is the first blog post in a four-part series about employee experience. In this series, we hope to highlight the importance of prioritizing EX within contact centers and provide tips on how to get started.
The shift to remote and hybrid work over the last few years has altered how we interact, what we value, and the best ways to lead. This transformation coupled with the great resignation has led to contact center supervisors facing never before seen challenges. The contact center has struggled to adjust to this shift due to one large, missing factor that is inherent to the DNA of the industry, human connection.
Not only is working remotely resulting in contact center agents feeling disconnected from one another as well as with their customers; but also with their supervisors who they rely on for coaching, guidance, and overall support. Agents are struggling to maintain quality connections and are missing on-the-job coaching experiences that are so vital in creating positive employee experiences. There are no more pats on the back from your supervisor when he or she walks the floor. There are no opportunities to hear what is and is not working for their peers. There is no more human connection.
Supervisors are facing the same lack of human connection but given the nature of their jobs, it is affecting them in different ways. The inability of supervisors to provide real-time feedback to their teams is challenging the way they manage and the effectiveness of the coaching they are able to deliver.
Call Center Leaders are Challenged to Maintain a Positive Employee Experience
The great resignation in conjunction with the lack of human connection and degraded sense of agent well-being, has led to a devastating effect on large contact center operations. On top of that, contact center agents are seeing higher contact volumes that have become and will continue to be increasingly emotionally charged. HR leaders across all industries are troubled by recent studies highlighting their concerns. A 2021 Gartner Study found that 93% of HR leaders are increasingly concerned about employee burnout and for good reason. Looking at overhead costs alone, a Mckinsey study estimated the cost to replace agents from training, direct recruiting cost, and lost productivity costs is between $10,000 to $20,000. We are seeing higher contact volume rates, teams feeling more disconnected, and burnout rates reaching an all-time high in the contact center. This combination of factors has created the perfect storm of challenges for contact center leaders. The question everyone is asking is, how can contact centers combat these issues and drive higher levels of performance?
Human Connections Drive More Engaged Contact Center Agents
Call center agents want to talk to customers and want to provide high-quality support but they are experiencing obstacles when working from their homes with minimal team contact and limited on the job of coaching and guidance. Having engaged and satisfied contact center employees is directly linked to the ability to get the human connection element of the job correct. A recent Mckinsey study found that engaged contact center employees are 8.5 times more likely to stay at their jobs, 16 times more likely to refer their friends to the company, and 3.3 times more likely to feel empowered to solve customer issues. It has been consistently shown that contact centers who focus on positive employee experiences, and engagement while equipping their teams with the right technology to help them perform, see lower rates of attrition and longer-tenured contact center employees.
It has been shown that strong human connections activate the same areas of the human brain that control pain and pleasure. With higher contact volumes and the presence of new difficulties in managing remote resources, employee fatigue and burnout rates are on the rise. When an agent is burnt out and tries to continue working they can develop physical conditions like stomach aches which leads to apathetic reactions resulting in inauthenticity and absenteeism towards customers. Given this type of potential trauma and the demands on individuals, how can we ensure consistency when it comes to the customer experience that we’re all trying to deliver while also taking care of the employees who are providing that level of quality?
Artificial Intelligence: Enabling Human Connections
The contact center can flourish if supervisors maximize the best resources available for their agents. In the past, being able to walk the floor and listen in on the conversations was one of the best opportunities to provide contact center agents with positive and constructive feedback. Cogito’s real-time coaching and guidance platform addresses the issues agents, supervisors and managers are facing by:
- Providing agents with real-time feedback to improve their conversations and outcomes
- Enabling supervisors to virtually walk the floor to see the current CX status for each agent and receiving real-time notifications during calls trending positively or negatively
- Arming managers with real-time insights; calls are scored and performance is tracked allowing managers to find the calls with the best coaching opportunities in an objective manner
Supervisors are alerted to calls that are trending poorly or performing very well, giving them the opportunity to intervene as needed just like they used to be able to do on a traditional contact center floor. Cogito’s solution guides agents on each call, gives supervisors the ability to virtually walk the floor, and gives managers the ability to use the interface to reassign supervisors, shift coverage assignments, and understand the triumphs and tribulations of their agents. Cogito’s emotion and conversation AI technology is positively impacting the contact center and addressing the need for human connection and providing leaders with the tools needed to enhance overall employee well-being in the contact center.
Client Success: Leading Cable Provider Seeks to Retain and Increase Customer Stickiness via Cross-Sell/Up-Sell Services
Real-time coaching and guidance functionalities have been game-changer offerings for Cogito clients and have led them to see major gains in efficiency, CX, and creating positive employee experiences. In one example, a leading cable and mobile provider was asking their contact center agents to provide enhanced CX to their customers while also increasing cross-sell and upsell opportunities within interactions. These were agents who had received some training in up-selling but were nowhere near the level of a trained salesperson.
The provider deployed Cogito’s real-time coaching and guidance platform across their contact centers. Cogito’s guidance was configured and tuned to guide their agents on the specific behaviors that have the strongest impact on sales KPIs in real-time. The results were nothing short of impressive. Agents who demonstrated the greatest behavioral improvements achieved increases in cross-sell and upsell KPIs of mobile plans by 5% and upgrades by 4% without losing any meaningful trade-offs to other sales KPIs.
To learn more about how Cogito’s real-time emotion and conversation AI can enhance your agent’s experience, check out our EX solution.