Contact centre outsourcer Kura and software specialist Inisoft have teamed up with CCA Global to understand the challenges the front-end advisors face in delivering a great service. A study of around 600 advisors paints an up-to-date picture of morale within the contact centre from a frontline perspective.
The study finds that frontline workers advising customers find it substantially harder to communicate with management based in the same building than they do with their customers often hundreds of miles away, leading to low morale.
Despite the difficulties, the majority of advisors remain passionate about their role, with 63% saying the best thing about the job is helping customers. This passion for service is coupled with a confident workforce – 86% of agents believe that they have the correct skills to do their job well. This feeling is reinforced by team leaders, 92% of whom are confident in their abilities to perform in the role.
Confidence in skills is in sharp contrast to ease of operation, however. According to the study, 50% of advisors must juggle between 4 and 6 applications to serve customers whilst 37% said they required between 7 and 10 applications to perform their role.
By contrast, there is a real concern that the issues raised by front-end teams are not taken seriously by leadership. Only 44% of team leaders and 36% of agents say that they regularly see changes made after new ideas have been suggested. Worse still, 25% of advisors do not think that their feedback is valued. Issues such as this have a direct impact on advisor morale. When asked how they view the morale within their contact centre, 34% said it was poor or very poor and 52% deemed it simply as “okay”.
“Advisors are the single most important aspect to the contact centre industry. With this study, we wanted to understand their motivations, challenges and perceptions of the future.”, said Brian Bannatyne, Kura’s Chief Executive. “One of the key things we’ve identified here unsurprisingly is a huge disconnect between insights gathered at the front face of the business and actions at a senior level. As the complexity of the agent role continues to increase, if this disconnect isn’t addressed it will lead to more challenges for organisations in the future.”
58% of team leaders reported finding it challenging to be stuck between the demands of both senior staff and frontline agents, juggling the morale of the advisors against the needs of their supervisors.
Brian Bannatyne added: “Far too often leaders don’t recognise or appreciate the issues with morale amongst frontline staff. As much as 35% of frontline advisors feel under-valued, suggesting interventions need to focus on building feelings of value and recognition. Leaders need to build the right organisational culture which is focused on its people and clear routes of communication must be made visible to frontline staff.”
The research finds that among advisors, the most common reason for low morale is pressure on meeting targets. The second is senior staff not understanding or appreciating the difficulties advisors face.
The study also identified the top 3 things that agents liked best about their job which included being part of a team (79%), helping customers (63%) and achieving good performance (58%).
CCA CEO, Anne Marie Forsyth commented, “Around 1m people in the UK & Ireland work to help customers with millions of enquiries and issues every day. Our research shows we have a very committed, talented and enthusiastic workforce in our organisations and it is important to untap the potential and intelligence available to take customer service and experience to the next level. Organisations that understand this and embrace the talent they have will be those that not only survive but thrive in the future.”