Brands nowadays recognize that happy customers are often those who feel the most empowered. When customer engagement is efficient, timely, and conducted in a friendly manner, customers tend to become loyal advocates of the brands that provide such a service. In the same vein, agent empowerment is key to these great customer experiences, as a successful contact center depends on the knowledge, calm, and overall confidence of its agents. Here are six tips for agent empowerment in a contact center.
1. Train agents to deliver their best. In a contact center, knowledge is power. One of the most important steps toward agent empowerment is providing agents with the skills to succeed. Agents should be trained to use contact center technologies such as CRM software to properly address customer inquiries. In addition, keeping agents updated with recent brand developments, such as new products or services, is crucial to ensuring that they can provide the best service with confidence.
2. Establish best practices across the contact center for consistency. Taking out the guesswork is essential to agent empowerment. Rather than making agents second-guess decisions that might impact their effectiveness, contact centers should establish best practices to ensure consistency of service. For example, managers and agents may work together to revise call scripts that address the most frequent customer concerns. Problematic situations should also be addressed and the role played in training sessions, such as finding strategies for supporting frustrated customers or agreeing on the correct language and lexicon to use in written communications.
3. Offer support and a sense of purpose. At all times, agents should feel supported by their peers and managers. Peer feedback can be used to strengthen agent skills, such as pairing up agents to provide constructive criticism and suggestions for best practices. Managers should also play a key role in supporting agents through frequent monitoring and mentoring. For agents to deliver their best, they need to feel they are valued at a company and understand a brand’s values and mission. Therefore, brands might consider offering staff development sessions featuring coaches or motivational speakers to help build team spirit while motivating each agent individually.
4. Involve agents in decision-making and welcome their feedback. Since agents are on the front lines of customer service, they often best understand customer needs. Therefore, a critical aspect of agent empowerment is welcoming their feedback to improve customer service practices. Involving agents in the revision of feedback surveys, call scripts, and general contact center practices show them that their opinions count while helping a brand deliver stronger customer experiences.
5. Give agents permission to be flexible. Agent productivity just may depend on the time an agent works. Allowing agents to state preferences for their shift times both empowers them and enables them to decide when they are most productive. Flexible scheduling should, therefore, be considered to allow for greater calm and confidence.
6. Create a comfortable environment. Lastly, work-space optimization is vital to ensuring the comfort and empowerment of contact center agents. Brands may offer such physical comforts as ergonomic furniture and desk supplies, standing desks, and rest lounges to ease the physical stress that may arise from the demanding work in a contact center. In addition, collaborative work-spaces can be ideal for meetings and feedback sessions. Elements such as natural lighting, warm colors, plants, and inspiring artwork have also been found to motivate employees and create a sense of calm.
Agent empowerment is essential to creating meaningful customer experiences, as agents are the pulse of the contact center. By encouraging their direct participation in contact center strategies, training them regularly, and helping them achieve a healthy balance, contact center agents will be motivated to do their best and serve as true brand ambassadors.