8 Ways to Reduce Agent Churn and Build a Positive Customer Service Environment

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8 Ways to Reduce Agent Churn and Build a Positive Customer Service Environment

Skilled agents are the heartbeat of your customer service strategy. Just like you have to earn your customers’ loyalty you have to earn your agents’ loyalty too. Agent churn affects your business reputation as customers have to wait longer for resolution. The agents who remain are at greater risk of burnout from taking up the slack. According to a Salesforce report from February 2022, 71% of agents have considered leaving their jobs in the previous 6 months with 86% saying they require more from their companies in order to stay. Are you using the following methods to reduce agent churn and keep your best talent on your payroll?

1) Play to Agent Strengths

People have innately different personalities with different strengths and weaknesses. A rigid cookie cutter approach to work is self-defeating. Successful CX leaders understand their employees and maximize their strong points for mutual benefit and avoid burnout.

Agents who feel accomplished and valued are more invested. This comes in part from having their preferences and abilities honored. For example: some people are night owls and others are early birds. Likely you need people to cover different hours. Take this into account when scheduling working with your employees’ energy

Find out who likes to be a leader and has the ability, who prefers to follow a protocol designed by another, and which personalities work well together.

2) Onboarding and Ongoing Training

Quality training gives your agents the tools to do their job well. This includes company policies, software, and workflows but also communication. According to the Zendesk Customer Service Trends Report 2022 “27% of business leaders and managers say they still need to train agents on new ways to converse with customers.” 

If your agents aren’t performing to the level you desire, look at your training. It isn’t enough to train agents in one large dose at the beginning. That can backfire and cause overwhelm. Make training digestible, positive and ongoing. Ongoing training is necessary to stay on top of trends, grow with your industry and address areas that need improvement.

Combined QA and training solutions like CSAT.AI provide ongoing and real time feedback to keep agents on point. 

3) Listen

It’s worth the effort to build a positive culture with quality communication. That includes active listening. Give your agents the opportunity to provide feedback and provide them useful feedback to help your agents grow. 

You might get some golden ideas from employees to help you innovate and expand.

4) Adapt

Industries, needs and technologies change. Make assessing changes and adapting a part of your regular growth strategy. 

Apply the feedback you get from agents. They are the ones dealing with your customers directly day after day. Give them the tools needed to stay competitive and do their jobs with greater ease, therefore solving customer issues with greater speed.

5) Schedule Smart

This ties into playing to agent strengths, but also brings up the issues of coverage and team building. As often as possible, schedule enough agents to cover shift volume. To do that you need to gather and analyze data to find your company/industry busy times and plan accordingly. Then schedule the right people to work together. 

This is about honoring the personalities you have and their knowledge bases. Teams of people that fill in each others’ knowledge gaps provide opportunities for on the job learning and ability to handle customer queries. Effective team building takes into account strengths/weaknesses, knowledge, personalities to create a seamless workflow.

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6) Allow for Hybrid Work 

Understand that your agents, like you, have lives outside of work. Honoring that will improve their investment in their work. 

WFH is no longer a foreign concept. Virtually everyone has done it now. Be open to a blend of in-house and WFH that benefits both you and your agents.

7) Offer Support

Agents have a challenging job. Whether it is recovering from an interaction with an abusive customer or an otherwise emotional exchange, have plans in place to offer support to your agents

Be able to give them a break to decompress before continuing their day. Offer a supportive ear or counseling. Have fun activities planned as a regular part of your monthly or weekly schedule. That give agents something to look forward to and a way to build colleague relationships so no one feels isolated or unappreciated. 

Offer the same empathy to your agents that you expect them to offer your customers.  Say thank you. Let them know you understand the difficulties they face. Intervene on customer interactions that go beyond your agents’ purview or where agents are receiving poor treatment from customers.

8) Give Recognition

Bonusly funded a survey of 2,000 US adults in 2021 to get a picture of how appreciation factors into employee retention. 46% of those polled left a job because they didn’t feel appreciated. 65% said they would apply themselves more if they thought they would be noticed for it. 29% said they would even give up a week of pay just for more recognition. 

Workers perceive recognition in multiple ways including pay raises, wellness programs, tools for advancement, bonuses, special benefits and public praise. Engage these rewards to reduce agent churn.

The survey also revealed that recognition from management and from peers are both highly valued as long as favoritism isn’t suspected. 

Feeling appreciated is important for building confidence and creating bonds. Show your agents that you value them. This improves the likelihood agents will stick with you and offer their best.

For more ideas to reduce agent churn and forging great employee relationships check out these posts: