We've all been given business advice at one point that emphasized the need to make our customers happy, so they'll become repeat customers and become loyal to your brand. But, what about your employees, more specifically your customer service agents? Does agent happiness matter in the Philippines outsourcing industry? How does it impact worker productivity, customer experience, and your company's bottom line?
What is Agent Happiness?
This concept is not new. Various schools of thought in human resource management see agent happiness as the result of concerted efforts in increasing employee engagement. It's the expected outcome for employees who flourish rather than languish in their jobs.
Ultimately, the goal of promoting agent happiness in Philippine outsourcing is to establish a frictionless customer experience.
According to Patrick Russell, a leading expert in the contact center industry for nearly 14 years, friction is reduced during a call when customers are greeted by agents who sound pleasant and happy. It's also important that agents seem knowledgeable, show respect for the caller's time, and can resolve the problem quickly.
When Agents are NOT Happy
When employee engagement is low, your workers become less productive and display more negative behavior at work. This negativity spills over into their daily interactions with your customers. And, this often leads to a negative customer experience.
Agents who are not happy can influence the work environment and even their team's behavior. You'll hear a lot of grumbling around the water cooler. As tensions rise, expect a few disagreements between co-workers. You'll be busy putting out small fires rather than focusing on work that can impact your business and change the industry as a whole.
Perhaps, the most frustrating of all for managers is to find out your employees have lost confidence in you to help them resolve these issues. They'll be hesitant to voice out their concerns through proper channels. Thus, they'll keep on complaining to their co-workers, friends and family members until they decide to quit and find a better place to work.
Flourishing at Work
A New Zealand study found out that a quarter of the workforce in their country were flourishing at work. It seems that more Kiwis received genuine appreciation for their hard work and were able to have jobs that showcased their strengths and abilities. All these made them feel needed and that they're productive members of society.
The study pointed out other factors that can affect an employee's level of happiness and productivity at work. These factors include financial security, good physical health, work-life balance, job satisfaction, and volunteering.
Researchers from the University of Warwick also found evidence that employee happiness made them more productive. Previous studies on unhappiness and cognitive function proved that worrying could distract people from fully concentrating on their work and completing their tasks satisfactorily.
The study made use of a funny video and a wide selection of fruits, chocolates, and bottled drinks to make their subjects momentarily happy. Subjects were asked to answer questionnaires before, during and after the "happiness" experiments. Most of the subjects in the focus group scored a bit higher than the placebo group.
Other factors that can affect an employee's level of happiness and productivity at work include financial security, good physical health, work-life balance, job satisfaction, and volunteering.
Tough Skin is NOT the End Goal
One can't really say that an employee is flourishing at work when he or she has learned to be less sensitive to the insults hurled by abusive callers and the unnecessary criticisms thrown by managers.
Stop telling them to just grin and bear it. Filipinos are known to be onion-skinned and easily hurt by insensitive comments. But, this same emotional vulnerability is the secret sauce to the quality of emotional labor that BPO and KPO workers deliver. Once they lose this ability to be empathetic, they become numb to what customers want and they'll show disinterest in helping them.
The emotional well-being of your employees will eventually make their work more meaningful and interesting to them. This will give them a sense of purpose, and they'll be more emotionally invested in the outcomes of their work.
Beyond Bonuses and KPIs
The concept of agent happiness goes beyond key performance indicators and monetary rewards. It emphasizes the need of employees to do better at their jobs. They want to know how much they've learned and how well they're doing at work.
In effect, agent happiness in outsourcing will not only motivate employees to do better. It also gives them a reason to stay with your company, which translates to a lower churn rate and minimal spending on trainings.
Wondering which company in the Philippine outsourcing industry you can count on to help you get started with making your agents happy? Look no further than Rethink Staffing.
We value our people because we believe that they are the foundation on which our company is built on. Meanwhile, our clients serve as the lifeblood of our business. But, this business is endangered when our employees are not properly cared for and given just compensation. We pay more and provide HMO benefits to our employees early in their tenure. We believe that they'll be happier, healthier, and way more productive when they don't have to worry about their financial, physical, and mental well-being. This is what #BreakBPO is about.
Source: Rethink Staffing on Vimeo