Loyalty in the workplace is borderline extinct. The average person changes jobs 12 times during their careers, and the average lifespan of a call center employee in the U.S. is approximately 3.3 years.
When employees aren’t loyal to your organization, not only does this negatively impact your turnover costs, it also leads to poor customer experiences. This results in a decline in revenue and a damaged reputation.
How do you attract and retain employees who will remain loyal to your organization? A recent Forbes article answers this question. While the article is focused more toward C-Level executives, customer service leaders can apply these same tips.
With the rise of the Internet in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, tech companies could offer perks, such as free lunches and an excellent benefits package to attract and retain employees. Flash forward to today, however, and employee expectations have evolved. People want to work in environments that are more meaningful.
When it comes to attracting talent who are seeking more meaningful work, customer service leaders can no longer think in terms of hiring fast. Instead, smart customer service leaders should hire for purpose. These hires will be more engaged, which in turn will lower your turnover costs.
A phone interview or what’s written on a candidate’s resume are unreliable tools for determining a cultural fit. Utilizing video conferencing can provide significantly more indicators during early screening. Instead of having a quick ten-minute phone screening, hiring managers can have a dedicated cultural fit interview with applicants via video to assess how well they will fit in with your work environment and existing team. Based on verbal and non-verbal cues, the hiring team can better decide if the applicant will be a right fit to advance to the next round of your hiring process.
In conjunction with hiring for purpose, with 62% of global employees expecting to work from anywhere and some of the largest customer service teams being given the option, flex work is no longer a trend that the customer service team is immune to. It also doesn’t need to be an all-or-nothing approach. Many organizations and employees find benefit from having the option to work from the location they like best, even if it is just one day per week.
Companies such as Capital One provide this option to their employees. They recognize that customer service reps work in a high-stress environment dealing with irate customers, and offering this perk can make a significant difference in improving the “Zen” they bring to the job. This, in turn, can result in greater employee loyalty and customer experiences.
However, one challenge customer service leaders can face with this model is addressing the high degree of collaboration needed to train customer service reps effectively. Call center employees not only rely on ongoing training, but they also rely on their team members for advice and guidance when dealing with tough situations.
Here again, video conferencing can defy distance and break down these walls. Customer service leaders can effectively train a group of reps face-to-face, and team members can jump on a quick collaboration session with their team members from their desktop or mobile device to address an escalated issue, regardless of location.
The Forbes article also points out that employees “want to be engaged with authentic leadership and open, transparent communication.” And one of the actions leaders can take to move the needle is to “listen intently” and “speak authentically.”
Richard Branson, CEO of the Virgin Group, is an example of a leader who exemplifies this tip. Not only is Branson a great listener, but he is also a great communicator.
What’s his secret? Instead of being seen as a leader who only operates from an ivory tower, he is often seen in the trenches interacting with employees. This is something employee’s value, which ultimately drives deeper employee engagement with the Virgin brand.
Of course, Branson, as we all know, is known for his authenticity. And while his style of leadership may not come as natural for some leaders, communication platforms, such as video conferencing can make it easier to speak authentically as customer service leaders can effectively address customer service representatives face-to-face. Then as customer service leaders become more comfortable addressing the group via video, they can then start to transfer their voice to written communications, when it makes sense.
Lastly, from the Forbes article, it is also important for leaders to understand that when it comes to full transparency “taking action on an important company initiative is one thing. Knowing it will make you vulnerable to criticism is another.” Also, “companies and their leaders who value truly transparent employee communications know actions speak louder than words.”
Leveraging video conferencing to communicate to your dispersed customer service teams brings transparency to the organization by giving employees face-to-face access to management. And as a customer service leader, what better way than to use video as a platform to share your message with your team when needing to deal with difficult communications?
Loyal, happy customer service reps create happy, loyal customers. That hasn’t changed and likely never will. What is different is what makes reps loyal and happy. As a customer service leader, hiring for purpose, letting reps do work where they work best, and being authentic and transparent can help you attract and retain loyal talent. And video conferencing can help you drive more meaningful engagement and bridge collaboration gaps.