Agent engagement, morale, and empowerment – and the implications for your contact center

It goes without saying that no one wants to work in a despondent environment – and those that do find themselves in such a situation will quickly become disengaged. 

Agents with low morale deliver lower engagement and performance, as well as higher rates of absenteeism and turnover. As such, improving morale is good for business and the team supporting it. 

Our latest research into US contact centers suggests that contact center morale is, on average, generally positive, with 68% of respondents reporting “good” or “excellent” morale. This is higher in large 200+ seat contact centers (80%). 

On the other hand, 32% of respondents reported either “poor” or “average” morale. The concentration is highest when it comes to medium-sized (51-200 seat) operations, where 18% stated that agent morale was actively poor. 

This shows that there is still room for improvement across all contact centers – but particularly within small or medium-sized contact centers. 

With this in mind, here were the most popular responses when respondents were asked what would be likeliest to help boost morale at their contact center.  

28% believed higher pay would boost agent morale 

When contact centers were asked what single factor could most boost agent morale, higher pay was the most popular response. That said, raising salaries is not entirely realistic in most contact centers – and, whilst keeping the same staff, technology and process, higher pay is arguably unlikely to make much of a difference after the initial enthusiasm has worn off.

Still, it is important to note that there is a direct data correlation between higher salaries and lower agent attrition. 

Instead of a raise in salary, 12% cited incentives such as a bonus, prizes, or rewards as another way to help improve team morale. 

Flexible working practices 

14% of respondents felt flexible shifts would improve morale – and 14% more backed opportunities for home working. When compared with the fact that only 2% suggested better facilities and working environment, it seems respondents believed it was the flexibility of the working practices that could particularly improve spirits. 

Information and knowledge management 

The research found that only 3% of respondents felt more, or better, training would boost confidence – and only 9% said it would boost performance. 

Instead, 14% felt better technology was required – more specifically, a single unified desktop, knowledge bases, dynamic scripting, and so on – which would allow agents to find all the necessary information in one place.

From this, 27% believe improved knowledge management would boost agent performance, and 24% said the same of a unified omni-channel agent desktop. 

Agent empowerment  

13% said agent empowerment was crucial for improving morale. This encapsulates everything an agent might need to better make decisions to help customers, including necessary systems, processes and organizational culture. 

Not only this, but improving agent empowerment can also help improve the first-contact resolution rate, and thus both agent performance and customer satisfaction. 

Are you looking for greater insights into how to improve agent engagement and empowerment? If so, you can download our research report on the topic from the ContactBabel website, giving you the data you need to begin improving morale, performance and ultimately, customer satisfaction.