In today’s hyper-competitive talent market, failing to prioritize the employee experience could mean losing your best people. 4.3 million Americans resigned from their positions in August 2021 alone, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s more evidence of the Great Resignation, a phenomenon causing dramatic shifts in the employment landscape. It’s become clearer than ever that as employees seek deeper purpose, better working conditions, and higher pay, organizations must reimagine and redefine their employee experience.
Building and accommodating an engaging employee experience
As it becomes more difficult to attract, motivate, and retain top talent, prioritizing your employees’ needs and preferences in the same way you do the experiences of your customers becomes that much more critical. Retaining and attracting the best workers relies on offering a robust portfolio of competitive benefits, career development opportunities, and other compelling workplace perks. Even on its own, workplace flexibility is becoming a major factor in employees’ desired experiences, with 88% of workers seeking more choice in when and where they work.
The Great Resignation brings in a new era of flexibility and raises the need to accommodate every individual employee. Fulfilling requests that may have seemed ridiculous in the past, like starting work late and leaving early because of childcare, or working part-time or flexible hours is becoming table stakes in 2022.
Keeping your top talent also means supporting and empowering your workforce throughout their employment with your company. Just as customer preferences are continuously evolving and changing over time, so too are the needs of your employees. Demonstrating clear paths for career growth and offering upskilling opportunities is key to understanding and sponsorship of each person’s long-term goals.
of workers seeking more choice in when and where they work
And this needs to start right away. Consider proactive ways to manage and engage your existing workforce so you can retain existing staff and promote from within, and avoid getting trapped inside the reactive, costly cycle of hiring and training replacements. The use of employee enablement and productivity solutions are excellent for helping enhance agent experiences and engagement and can help support resource forecasting when spreadsheets have become too burdensome.
It's also important to consider how to build and maintain strong connections with an increasingly decentralized staff. Fostering a positive workplace culture becomes even more crucial as remote work takes a permanent seat at the employee experience table. While trinkets, clothing, and other “swag” can help, employee recognition programs and finding ways to build more collaboration within your organization can go a long way toward fostering connection and culture in a virtual work environment.
If you want your employees to remain engaged and motivated to stay with your organization for the long haul, the bottom line is that you need to be proactive and even more creative to develop a flexible, accommodating culture. This will not only create a competitive workplace for those seeking employment, it will enable and promote more hiring from within.
Avtex helps consult on workforce transformation and optimization
Connect systems and data for your employees
The pandemic triggered a need for rapid and dramatic digital acceleration across every industry. Most companies had to act fast, despite the lack of established strategies and systems. Without the “luxury” of planning time, this rapid transformation resulted in organizational silos, inefficient processes, and insufficient IT infrastructure.
Before COVID, companies struggled to manage and use data effectively, even within the boundaries of their own native systems. To thrive in today’s increasingly data-dense and information-hungry economy, your organization must find a way to pull systems and processes together, so they can communicate and share information.
The contact center is an important consumer of all the digital technologies and systems within the enterprise, and an area where connecting systems and data is a top priority. An efficient contact center blends this information together in a way that creates a virtual “single pane of glass,” making it easily accessible for agents. Contact center agents need one place where they can view, update, and manage customer information without logging into multiple systems or toggling between screens. Providing your agents with data in easily digestible formats enables them to do the most important part of their jobs: listening and interacting with your customers.
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Achieving this cohesion can be extremely challenging. In many contact centers you can see agents with sticky notes on their monitors, flipping back and forth between screens and trying desperately to manually reach different systems and collate disparate data. Trying to provide answers to your customers becomes a stressful and time-consuming task for these crucial employees. Needless to say, it does not contribute to a strong employee experience.
Data that is easy to access and view empowers your agents to perform each interaction in a much more efficient and effective manner. The important mission of connecting systems and data makes tools that help streamline and automate data functions extremely valuable. Contact center solutions are important, but a strong CRM is also a necessary component to achieve this mission. The better the CRM, the better and more accurate the data.
Today, CRM and Contact center solutions must be pulled together into a unified, multi-platform solution. This integration has to be accomplished in an elegant and meaningful way, not by merely running two separate operations inside the business. Adopting the right tools and systems will bring this transformation to life and create a more sophisticated operation to address the customer and agent experience challenges businesses are facing, thereby helping them achieve their business objectives for 2022 and onward.
What's the difference between Contact Center and CRM?
Once systems and data are connected, you can weave in external customer data to complement and expand and further inform your customer view. Stronger customer information supports more meaningful and personalized decisions within each interaction, from assigning the right agent to products your customer may really want.
Tool selection is an important piece of a cohesive strategy for both the customer and the employee experience when it comes to eliminating silos, optimizing the use of data, and improving processes. Leveraging cloud-based solutions to connect your CRM, data management, and contact center platforms will make it easier for your employees to do their jobs and thus enable them to facilitate a more frictionless, high-value experience for your customers.
By bringing the entire ecosystem together around the contact center, your agents will feel and appear more knowledgeable and become much more helpful. It will also contribute toward a more collaborative culture, as the entire process requires having open and honest conversations about how everyone is leveraging data currently, and the benefits they might experience from connecting systems and processes.
Keep a balance of humanity and automation
The IDC reports that organizations that excel at empathy and safety will outperform those that don’t by 40%. This is just one of many statistics indicating a strong need for humanizing digital experiences in 2022. Digital has become an opportunity to drive value and opportunity with customers, striving for a happy balance between automation and human connection in every interaction.
Organizations that excel at empathy and safety will outperform those that don’t by 40%
As contact centers in particular become more digitized, there’s a strong focus on bots and how they can be leveraged to deflect incoming contact center calls. That’s a smart pursuit, but t’s important to be selective when choosing which interactions to deflect from your live agents to bots, versus deflecting all interactions. Some may require too much subjective reasoning for a bot to handle, for example. Attempting to run every interaction through a bot, no matter the channel or need, could complicate the interaction and create friction within the experience.
Human interaction is still very important, and customers often become frustrated by companies that have gone overboard with automation. As organizations begin leveraging more sophisticated bots, machine learning, and other AI solutions, remember to blend humanity and technology.
Championing employee experience transformation in your organization
Asking the following questions across departments and leadership is a great way to kick-start conversations about employee experience transformation, and help build a strong, unified strategy in 2022:
- How are you planning to handle the impacts of the Great Resignation and remain competitive as an employer?
- How are you handling and leveraging data to keep your employees feeling efficient, effective and engaged, while delivering the right personalized experiences to your customers?
- How are weaving your technology solutions together so that humanity and technology are appropriately woven together?
Avtex can help you answer all these questions and more, so you are able to engage, support, and attract staff in 2022, aka ‘The Year of Employee Experience’. For nearly half a decade, Avtex has been helping organizations build customer and employee experience strategies that go beyond technology deployment – fueling end-to-end CX and EX that empowers empathy, humanity, and satisfaction in every customer interaction.