As a team leader, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, but it’s important to take a step back and reflect on the future of the industry. Over the last several months, Stella Connect’s CX Connections event series brought together customer experience leaders from all over the country to share key insights on how they’re innovating their service organizations.
While you may have been unable to attend one of our local events, we wanted to share three key themes from all of our discussions this year:
1. Agent Engagement Drives Performance
Agent engagement is more important than ever. Between retention, motivation, and performance, statistics show that agent engagement has a clear impact on business success. Gallup’s employee engagement study revealed that more engaged teams were seen to have 10 percent higher customer ratings in comparison to more disengaged teams. They also saw 24 to 59 percent less turnover and a 17 percent increase in productivity.
Across the world, customer service leaders are considering the best way to keep agents engaged, and this theme emerged throughout our events. CX Connections participants shared their challenges and tips for engaging their agents. Here’s Lululemon’s three-part approach to creating a culture of engagement:
- Hire the right people. CX leaders find that when they hire problem solvers right off the bat, their agents are more efficient and better equipped to handle customer interactions, leading to more positive customer experiences and lower agent turnover overall.
- Empower agents with real-time customer feedback. This allows agents to take more ownership of customer interactions and be more effective in creating resolutions.
- Invest in employee wellness and holistic development. We can all agree that when employees feel supported by their managers, they feel driven to do their best work.
In short: Happy agents lead to happy customers.
2. Coaching for Higher Impact
Another common theme we heard throughout our CX Connections cross-country tour was around agent development. Once CX leaders build a strong foundation with a great team, the next hurdle is identifying the best way to coach agents effectively. Coaching is the key to unlocking an agent’s full potential and ensuring consistent delivery of top quality service.
Consider these key insights we learned from our friends in various industries:
- Balance quality with compliance. Particularly in the fintech space, CX leaders must ensure agents comply with industry regulations while also developing critical soft skills to deliver a great customer experience. Finding this balance is an art more than a science, so be sure you’re making time to coach agents on both aspects of service delivery.
- Micro-coaching has macro-level impacts. Brooklinen shared that micro-coaching is one effective strategy they use to deliver more impactful coaching. Associates are able to see interaction-specific feedback in real-time and work with team leaders to tackle service issues in the moment. Not only does this create a culture of collaboration, having feedback coming directly from the customer empowers more objective and collaborative 1:1 meetings.
3. Streamlined Rewards & Recognition
Finally, the topic that really got CX leaders buzzing is rewards and recognition. It was like listening to a symphony orchestra of CX leaders all coming together and playing in tune to answer the question: How do you reward and recognize agents? Participants shared their desire to create a great rewards and recognition program, but they either don’t know where to start or are too busy putting out fires.
If this sounds familiar, worry not! Participants from our CX Connections Community shared a few ideas to inspire you:
- Cash incentives. Earnin implemented customer-directed rewards that drive their financial incentive program. Positive interactions and ratings are turned into cash incentives, which are allocated to Earnin agents on a weekly basis.
- 5-for-5 Slack shoutouts. In the event that you’re not growing money trees, another way Earnin recognizes their agents is by scheduling 5 minutes a day to find 5 pieces of 5-star feedback. They then publicly give their agents shoutouts on Slack!
- Sweet, sweet recognition. Isn’t that how the saying goes? Sugarfina, known for their delectable sweets, reward their agents with positive reinforcement and…you guessed it…sweet treats. I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!
- Dinner and a movie. Moen runs a bi-weekly rewards report and sends the top-performing agent to see a movie of their choosing with a peer. Who doesn’t love a 2-for-1, all-expenses-paid trip to the big screen?
- Bonus Idea: We also heard that go-kart racing around the office is a fun way to engage your agents and celebrate their wins!
As we wrap up this year of CX Connections, one thing CX leaders all agree on is that CX is constantly evolving. As the front line of customer interactions, CX teams are tasked with continuously finding ways to differentiate themselves and create amazing customer experiences.
These are just a few nuggets that have come out of our CX Connections conversations. If you’re looking for more reasons to be inspired and inspire your agents, we’d love to have you join the conversation. Check out our upcoming events, or email us about hosting an event in your neighborhood!