Independent Contact Center Consultants: Bridging Strategy, Technology and Operations Since 2004

Does Your Technology Help (or Hinder) Agent Engagement?

I’ve challenged contact centers to make 2020 the Year of the Agent. I’ve built my case around the argument that if you want to deliver a great customer experience, you first have to make sure you’re delivering a great agent experience.

In the spirit of action, I’ve outlined two different assignments for you to assess your technology and how it helps – or hinders – agent engagement. The first helps you assess and plan by considering how technology impacts various elements of engagement reflected in an employee survey. If you prefer to just assess your technology directly, use the second assignment.

Assignment 1: Tie Employee Engagement Metrics to Technology Issues and Opportunities

If you have an employee engagement survey, review each item on the survey and assess and plan.

  1. Assess: Does our current technology impact this aspect of engagement, and if so, positively or negatively?
  2. Plan: Are there ways we can use technology to improve this aspect of engagement? Through changes to current use of technology? Through new technology?

Some questions from your survey may not apply, but others may be a direct fit for what your center is doing (or not doing) with technology. We populated a few examples from common Employee Engagement Survey questions to get your juices flowing on this exercise.

Employee Engagement Survey Question (rating 1-5) Assess: Does our current technology impact this facet of engagement, positively or negatively? Plan: Identify ways to use technology to improve employees’ engagement – through changes to current use or plans for the future
I know what is expected of me Example of Positive impact: We provide scorecards and dashboards with strong visuals so an agent always knows how they are doing.

Example of Negative impact: Agents do not have any visibility to performance, or get reports for which they have no context

Example: Pursue workforce optimization tools: provide visibility to performance, show trends and comparisons to targets. Include coaching tools to make sure we follow through on feedback and support development.
I have the tools and training to succeed at my job Example of Positive impact: We have technology such as an excellent, dynamic knowledge base, workflow tools, and CRM.

Example of Negative impact: Our desktop is messy with more than 15 applications that agents have to navigate with little automation and integration; they are often overwhelmed and frustrated.

Our team works together to achieve goals Example of Positive impact: Agents have collaboration tools like instant messaging and persistent workspaces so they can contact each other and the support/leadership. They rate and contribute to knowledge base updates. We see group performance and celebrate!

Example of Negative impact: Calls get routed to the wrong place and people have to transfer them. Agents must leave their desk or turn to a neighbor for help. The SharePoint site is out of date and difficult to find what they need.

I would recommend this organization as a place to work Example of Positive impact: We plan for, hire, and train people so we have enough staff to do the work. Staff have the tools they need to meet their performance goals and succeed in helping customers.

Example of Negative impact: The staffing levels are inadequate and based only on budgeted headcount (no planning based on workload). The work is overwhelming because we have so many systems and processes to learn and none of it is integrated or automated.

Assignment 2: “Sniff Test” for Technology Enabling Employee Engagement

Use the table below to assess your technology and whether it contributes to or discourages employee engagement. For each category of technology, give it a rating (“Contributes” or “Discourages” – or more simply, thumbs up or down). Then note what the problems are and what you can do about them.

Technology Category Contributes to or Discourages Agent Engagement What are the Problems? What can we DO?
Omnichannel Routing and Reporting
Self-service (IVR, web, mobile)
Workforce Optimization Tools
Desktop Tools