Paul Stockford, Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research
2 minute read
By Paul Stockford, Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research
Posted in Customer Engagement
Whether we like it or not, change is in the wind for the enterprise. I believe that at the root of many, if not most, of the changes will be the evolving expectations and demands of the next generation of both customers and workers. Specifically, the Millennial generation and Generation Z, also known as Gen Z, will be responsible for driving the changes that will cause the contact center industry to reevaluate the way it conducts business in the future.
Employee engagement has been gaining in importance to the contact center industry for the past few years. Whether the industry is finally getting serious about addressing industry-wide turnover issues or is just facing the reality of the importance of the agent in the customer experience equation, the fact is, there are more customer service executives thinking about employee engagement today than ever before.
Figure 1 below illustrates the importance of employee engagement to the overall operational strategy of the contact center. Data is from the current Saddletree Research survey of end-users, conducted in partnership with the not-for-profit National Association of Call Centers (NACC). Responses refer to 2019 plans.
Figure 1: Strategic Importance of Contact Center Employee Engagement, 2019
We know from various secondary research sources that both Millennial and Gen Z workers prefer to work in collaboration with others and maintain open lines of communications with coworkers. One of the best ways to accomplish this collaborative communications environment is through the use of communities. Communities, historically referred to as chat boards or forums, are today designed with intelligence tools to foster collaboration and connectivity between peers, whether while at work or during off hours. Communities allow workers to stay connected with each other and discuss topics of importance from both a business perspective and the equally important social aspect of work.
Saddletree Research has been tracking the acceptance of communities as an employee engagement tool for the past few years. At the end of 2017, 39.3 percent of the contact center industry reported using employee communities or chat rooms. As we approach the end of 2018, early research results indicate that the percent of contact centers using communities for employee engagement has grown to 43.2 percent. In real terms, that number represents a gain of approximately 2,800 contact centers in the U.S.
Figure 2 below illustrates responses to questions posed to research participants regarding employee communities.
Figure 2: 2018 Year End Interest in Employee Communities
Besides the 43.2 percent of the industry currently using employee communities, an additional 17.6 percent of the industry has either funded employee communities for 2019 or will be actively considering the acquisition of communities during the upcoming year.
Driven by what we believe will be unavoidable generational preferences and demands in the years ahead, combined with a new generation of managers that will likely seek more innovative means of solving age-old industry problems, such as high agent turnover, communities will continue to see increasing acceptance and utilization in the years ahead. Communities are proving to be a critical component in the quest for a successful employee engagement strategy.
Great post, Paul! Just a couple of follow up points for the readers…
Employee Communities are proven to accelerate new employee onboarding so that they become more confident and contribute faster. Employees are better connected to the most relevant content and people for their function and responsibility. They can locate expertise quickly to collaborate with to solve problems or process issues that impact customers. Employee Communities also contribute to improving employee retention rates. Connected, better prepared employees make happy employees and that translates to employees wanting to stay with a company longer, grow in knowledge and increase their value to their team, company and customers.
If you can onboard faster and keep happy employees longer there is a big payoff. For more information check out Verint Internal Communities.
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