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CX leaders that don’t focus on remote contact center agent experience, do so at their peril

It’s easy to forget when you’re waiting on the phone for an agent to become available to answer your query that you’re speaking to another human being. Being able to help an angry customer while remaining professional and courteous is one of the hallmarks of a great contact center agent.

While organizations have faced many challenges over the past two years, managing the employee experience even in the face of increasing traffic volumes, has been one of the most important. The accelerated move to hybrid work environments and the faster pace of innovation across organizations has placed strain on CX teams across the board.

Our 2021 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report found that only 44.9% of CX teams were able to pivot quickly and effectively in the face of the rapid transformation of their operating models and uptake of work-from-home and hybrid working.

This reality means has resulted in a renewed focus on employee enablement (technical skills and training) and employee enhancement (knowledge and navigation tools) over the next 12 months. This marks a change from their focus of organizations over the past 12-18 months when the key initiatives were centered around enabling remote working and creating the systems and processes to monitor and manage performance.

Man talking on his mobile phone in front of a laptop

With the barrier between home and work thinner than ever before and new tools and applications being introduced, it's unsurprising that employees have been feeling the strain. This is something that all organizations should be taking extremely seriously, and the Report has identified three areas that should be targeted:

  1. Technical issues

    Getting an employee the right hardware and applications to get their job done is the easiest part of dealing with the hybrid workforce. Connectivity, on the other hand, is a more difficult issue to address. Any organization operating an on-premises contact center has the luxury of controlling all aspects of the IT environment, but a distributed CX environment is a different beast altogether. Not only do you need to depend on consumer broadband connections, but you could be having to deliver services across unknown final mile connections.

    The challenge with this is that poor latency or speeds in the last mile can impact on the quality of service provided to the customer.

    The need to deliver great experiences, increase agility, performance and availability, and reduce risk, are essential components of the modern digital organization. Investing in an intelligent and secure network fabric that can dynamically adapt while providing full visibility is vital to supporting and managing software-defined, high-performance hybrid environments.

  2. The physical environment

    Those of us lucky enough to have access to dedicated work-from-home environments can sometimes forget that we’re in the minority. Many contact center employees have been asked to be the face of the organization while working from their kitchen table, sometimes sharing this with other family members.

    Even though there may be limits to any interventions in this area, managers and leaders need to be aware of the emotional and mental stress this creates as well as the sacrifices other family members may be making to enable the team member to work effectively.

  3. The need for human interaction

    One of the trademarks of great CX team members is their social nature. While some people enjoy solitude those who thrive in the CX environment typically enjoy the buzz and energy of being around others and having immediate access to peer-to-peer support in those environments. Providing support to these people and creating channels for more social interaction and support is essential in retaining your top performers.

There’s a need for a realignment around how team leaders and agents interact with each other, and leading organizations are already moving to ensure that the feedback that used to be provided in person can be provided effectively through the available tools.

You can’t build a world-class CX capability without happy employees, and without a focus on the employee experience, this will be impossible.

Learn more about how the CX landscape is evolving: Download the 2021 CX Benchmarking Report.

Get a head start in designing a connected and personalized customer and employee experience. Contact our CX Advisory team.