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TASKE Technology's Call Center Blog

In the past, we’ve talked about how it’s critical to keep your agents motivated and engaged. Customer satisfaction is directly affected by whether your agents care to handle callers and their issues efficiently and professionally. We’ve provided some tips for increasing agent engagement, such as providing higher-value work and offering incentives during peak periods, as well as making sure agents aren’t over- or under-worked. Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges to keeping agents motivated and engaged is the nature of the call center. Dealing with frustrated customers and their issues can, understandably, take a toll on even the most conscientious agents on your team.

To further complicate your ability to keep your team at a high-functioning level is that call centers are prone to high turnover rates.  In a recent blog–Contact Center Agent Turnover Is A Fact Of Life That Must Be Tracked And Managed–Forrester analyst Kate Leggett indicates that “turnover rates higher than 50% are considered high, and some contact centers have attrition rates of more than 100% a year.”

To keep customer satisfaction as high as possible, not only do you need to keep your agents motivated and engaged, but you also need to keep them as employees. While it’s true that employee motivation and turnover rates are common issues faced by many companies, TELUS provides a great example of how dealing with these issues creatively and proactively can be turned into a corporate success story. The TELUS story was recently covered in an Ottawa Citizen article “Unlocking Your Organization’s Potential“, by Neil M. Crawford, partner, Aon Hewitt and leader, Best Employers in Canada Study, and Josh Blair, executive vice-president of HR and chief corporate officer, TELUS.

TELUS recognizes that the motivation of each individual in the company makes a significant difference in an organization’s performance, with engaged employees leading to happier customers, less sick leave, and better financial and shareholder returns. The company has a remarkable customer churn rate of below one percent. Furthermore, within its industry, the company received 27 per cent fewer customer complaints over the last year than other industry players who, on a combined basis, saw complaints received rise by 33 per cent.

The company credits its culture that focusses on employee engagement. Over the past several years, TELUS has chosen to actively promote learning from customer feedback, encouraging employees to provide input into decisions that affect them, and promoting hands-on interaction by senior management with individuals at all levels of their teams.

What we believe is one of the most interesting conclusions drawn from this coverage is that TELUS could easily have chosen not to undertake this effort to improve employee engagement. Several years ago, they measured the engagement level at 58 per cent, which is average for a corporation of their size. Not satisfied with an acceptable level, the company invested in new initiatives, programs, and user groups to achieve one of the highest levels of customer satisfaction in their industry.

It can feel like a no-win effort to retain agents and keep them engaged. If you can approach the challenges with commitment and creativity, you may find that you not only improve the culture of your call center, but also, drive the overall business forward to further success.

See you next month.

 

Tags: agent engagement, agent productivity, best practices, customer loyalty, customer satisfaction, incentives, turnover.

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