Valuing the Frontline Role
Illustration by Eric Jackson

Generally speaking, many contact centers do an excellent job of discovering and rewarding great performance. Whether through reports, monitored calls or customer satisfaction surveys, we almost always take the time to find and show appreciation for noteworthy performance.

While performance recognition is important, it is different from recognizing the importance of the job role. Unfortunately, while many agents agree that great performance is recognized, they do not believe their job is valued in the organization. They draw this impression, not from direct feedback, but from a host of observations that can understandably lead to this conclusion. Here are some examples:

  • The contact center is located in the basement (or in the least desirable building/floor).
  • The contact center has the older, mismatched desktop equipment and furniture.
  • The role of contact center agent is one of the lowest-paying jobs in the organization.
  • The role of contact center agent is one of the most tightly monitored jobs in the organization.
  • Agents get few opportunities for ongoing training, and when it finally does happen, it often gets cut short due to phone coverage issues.
  • Agents rarely get an opportunity to provide input regarding customer-facing changes (such as a redesign of a bill), and are then left explaining to customers a decision they would never have recommended in the first place.

While some of these observations may never change, we can still communicate the importance of the role of contact center agent and how it is valued across the organization. If we don’t, we leave it up to interpretation.