Empowering the Next-Gen Customer Advocate
Recent research has highlighted the enormous impact that people in organizations can have on customers. Engaged employees are at the heart of every thriving business and every customer-centric initiative. For all the (welcome and needed) advances in self service over web and mobile, when a customer really needs help—it’s people that make the difference.
Just as we see the channel proliferation, digitization and rising expectations of consumers, so too we see a shift in expectations and aspirations of the next-generation workforce. Chief among them is empowerment—enabling employees to do the right thing for the customer, supporting them with the right systems and tools, and seeking their views to help move the organization forward.
We are seeing a shift from operational measurement—such as handle time, schedule adherence and pure sales—to customer outcome-based measurement—connecting customer satisfaction, customer effort scores and Net Promoter Scores. Contact center employees are evolving from the role of “company agent” to the role of “customer advocate.” It’s a shift that goes way beyond semantics and underscores the new mindset and imperative inherent in empowering the next-generation workforce to provide exceptional customer experiences.
The definition of an agent is: A person who acts on behalf of another, a representative, broker, liaison or go-between. Alternatively, the definition of an advocate is: A person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy, a champion, proponent, fighter, or crusader.
When employees are customer advocates, they are emboldened with a sense of purpose. This is vital, as it’s near impossible to empower customers if the employees that serve customers aren’t empowered themselves.
But empowering employees must go beyond merely switching titles; it must be manifested in other ways, including:
- Providing systems that provide the right content and process guidance helps enable employees to take the right steps to do right by customers and the organization, boosts confidence and competence in work activities, and removes obstacles that can lead to frustration (both on the part of the employee and the customers they serve).
- Providing Voice of the Employee feedback mechanisms helps enable employees to have a say in their work and how the company operates to take ownership of their roles.
- Allowing flexibility around scheduling helps enable employees to design their work hours to accommodate family obligations and responsibilities, removing a key barrier to engagement.
- Providing feedback management and monitoring and measurement systems help validate employees when they take the right actions, while also providing vital insight on corrective actions and training to support improvement.
- Using new elements such as gamification to make work “fun” and interactive.
- Involving contact center staff, who see the sharp end of customer challenges, in the design and improvement of wider enterprise processes and journeys—including brand promise and expectation setting.
The benefits of the empowered workforce go well beyond making the call center a better place to work; employee empowerment can help lead to greater collaboration, productivity gains and improved performance. Potential added benefits: improved customer responsiveness, greater employee motivation and satisfaction, lower employee stress levels, higher employee skill proficiency, and better time management for managers.
Do you feel empowered to empower your next-generation workforce? Take our poll at www.verint.com/digital-disruption. We want to understand your biggest challenges in workforce empowerment.