Fostering Loyalty with Customer Service Professionals

Fostering Loyalty with Customer Service Professionals
Illustration by Richard Slater for Contact Center Pipeline

Do you ever feel like it’s impossible to keep great talent in a customer support environment? You’re not alone! Leaders all over the globe have been wrestling this issue since the invention of the telephone. The good news is it can be done! With a fresh outlook on employee engagement, you can create a working environment worth sticking around for. This article will focus on three essential (but rarely discussed) engagement techniques specific to service professionals.

Peer-To-Peer Relationship Focus

Do you want to know the top reason people stay at their jobs? They like the people they work with. We love to talk and write about the leader to employee relationship. While this is certainly a critical one, this single touch point is not near as influential to an agent’s experience as the various peer-level relationships. As leaders we must be very intentionally focused on creating atmosphere of positive, meaningful peer-to-peer relationships!

Consider this quote from Kevin Kruse: “Data is clear that friendship is more important than pay or benefits, and strongly correlates to productivity, safety, customer loyalty and profitability.”

Friendships are the most essential element to a meaningful work experience! If you are not aggressively breaking down relationship barriers among your team, something is likely amiss. There may be a suffocating culture in play in which people do not experience the freedom to be themselves, or you as a leader may be ignorant to the true nature of the team. When you invest the time and energy to allow agents to connect socially and forge meaningful relationships, you are paving the way for long-term loyalty. Alternatively, if you are working hard to keep everyone in their specific boxes and only show their “work face,” you will have a turnover problem. Work should be a place where can be yourself, use your gifting to add value, and have others respect you for it.

It’s no wonder that Gallup asks if you have a best friend at work on their famous employee engagement survey, the Q12. When you can share life with your co-workers and they care about you as a person, it makes a remarkable difference to one’s ability to work well over the long-haul.

The Team That Learns Together, Stays Together

When you challenge your team learn and grow together something remarkable happens. We all want to become better as people; both personally and professionally. If you provide an environment where growth is a “team sport,” you are creating powerful bonds and breaking through the monotony. The sessions will allow employees to transcend so much of the petty day-to-day BS that tears us apart. We’ve been going through “The Effortless Experience” this year and it’s been a game changer for us. Dreaming up new ways to improve both agent and the customer experience is no longer just a leadership conversation, and the dialog is so much richer for it!

Building Purpose into Everyday Work

Why do you show up to work every day? Why do you expect your team to show up? If the answer is a paycheck, you’re going to get the bare minimum. There is something compelling that makes your organization unique. Sadly, according to Scott McKain, two-thirds of employees have no idea what makes their organization different from any other. Tap into your distinctiveness to create meaningful work on a day-to-day basis. If you are stuck on your “why,” I highly recommend the book, “Start With Why,” by Simon Sinek.

Another significant way to build purpose into contact center work is to lessen the gap between the agent and the customer. Generally, individuals who take a customer service job genuinely want to help people. Sadly, after months on the phone with angry users, the simple magic of this can be lost. Bring it back by doing periodic onsite field trips where agents actually get face to face with a customer and see how the service provided makes a difference in their lives. Meaningfulness translates very well to job stickiness!

I hope these techniques will breathe new life into your contact center. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like to brainstorm on a strategy or ask any questions! Together, we can make the support center great again. Or maybe for the first time… or maybe just keep it great… ah, never mind. You get the idea. Happy Cust-serving!