With the proliferation of communication channels, customers now have more power and information than ever before, and they expect instant service gratification. This has led to a widening expectation gap with today’s businesses where 61% of customers churned in 2016.

More significantly, 81% of those defectors said they could have been saved had the company acted. So, what holds the key to keeping these customers happy? Your employees! Great customer experiences start with great employees. An engaged and motivated workforce is better equipped to deliver high quality customer service.

Companies need to be listening; this is proof that customers are telling them they’re not happy and that they’re willing to share why. Customer service is the key to unlocking this valuable information, so businesses need to be investing in developing a customer-centric culture that is built around truly working to understand customers’ emotions.

But how do you ensure your team is as customer-focused as they should be? Well, we believe that emotion drives businesses forward and by engaging with those frontline agents, your company will have the advantage. Customer success isn’t just our objective, it’s our obsession, so we have worked hard to provide a solution.

By initiating improved engagement with frontline agents, businesses will see shifts in the workings of their team – the goal here is to turn them into Ravers. In order to achieve that, employees need to be empowered; there also needs to be a good level of transparency; frontline agents need to be well trained; and they need feedback on the service they’re providing.

Kenny Bain, CEO, Rant & Rave

Combined, this gives them better awareness about their role within the organisation and its importance. Employee engagement is key; great customer service starts with great employees – talk to them, share feedback and help them improve.

Companies must provide for and support their staff by installing the right systems. These are what directly affect the service that teams can, and are willing to, deliver. If they feel knowledgeable, positive and empowered, they will be motivated to do the best job they possibly can, meaning customers receive good quality service.

Employee and customer engagement are intrinsically linked; if you think about positive brand experiences you’ve had, it will almost certainly include someone who did something out of the ordinary. Emotions drive the hearts, minds and wallets of customers, and determine whether they’ll become a Raver or a defect. While many frontline agents will realise that sticking to the script isn’t always the right approach for the customer, the truth is that many are restricted by processes and protocols. While they are encouraged to solve problems for the customer, they’re rarely empowered to do this proactively.

There are four key things that organisations must remember when it comes to employee engagement on the frontline:

Motivate

Gamification is an approach that helps to improve employee engagement; aligning individual behaviours and characteristics with those of the wider organisation. At its most basic level it involves turning work tasks into games by introducing a healthy level of competitiveness.

There are multiple ways to introduce gamification; a company could install an interactive leader board system, or a real-time dashboard that initiates employee engagement. This type of gamification is fun and interactive; staff can view and assess their own performance and see where they rank amongst their peers, as well as within their department or the organisation in its entirety. This also includes the individual attributes that customers are asked to feedback on, for example: attitude, training, skills, knowledge, and speed and quality of service, which allows managers to identify the areas that are succeeding and those in need of improvement.

This has been proven to affect customer satisfaction, with clients recording significant improvements on how their teams are engaging with customers.

Transparency

Companies will find it much easier to keep their teams aligned if they share their objectives and strategies. By sharing plans and celebrating achievements together the whole organisation can get excited and individuals will feel like they are part of the bigger picture. Feeling valued is integral to motivation.

This transparency allows agents to realise their role within the company; allowing them insight into the bigger picture. Taking this approach means that they will receive feedback the organisation receives about them – good and bad. With positive feedback, they can develop a clearer idea of what customers like about what they’re doing, and on the reverse with negative responses they can work on those areas of improvement.

Empower

Empowering frontline agents is about providing them with a clear framework to work within, but with flexibility. It’s not about throwing away the rulebook. The definition of why and how they do things should remain, but they must feel they have some power to use their personal skills to adapt their interactions.

This approach will enable a greater emotional connection between agents and customers. It’s about giving employees a real sense of purpose and demonstrating to them the power they have in creating great customer experiences. If they feel trusted and have the power to solve problems, companies will see them taking pride in their role and the results will speak for themselves.

Reward

Now, I don’t mean you need to hand out medals at the end of every day, but it’s important to recognise agents’ achievements. A simple ‘well done’ will provide a lot of encouragement and reassurance; it tells them that they’ve done a good job and that they’re doing the right thing. Positivity goes a long way and the satisfaction that celebrating successes will give employees will improve performance all around.

Frontline agents are the key to an organisation’s ability to provide outstanding customer service. If a company develops a comprehensive employee engagement strategy focussed around listening to and empowering agents, then they, in turn, will have the ability and inclination to do what is best for the customer.

Want more? Join MyCustomer on 26th September to explore why employee experience is the key to unlocking outstanding customer engagement, where we’ll explore strategies you can adopt to truly revamp the employee experience and ultimately drive your CX forward.

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