How to Improve Contact Center Agent Performance

A contact center agent on the phone

Here’s how to increase engagement to drive contact center agent performance and improve customer experience.

The importance of contact center agent performance can’t be understated. Our team at Stella Connect by Medallia commissioned a research study of more than 2,100 consumers in the United States and the United Kingdom to uncover the top customer service trends and the latest customer support trends, and the findings are clear: Poor customer experiences are hurting customer retention and loyalty, and, more than ever, effective customer support teams are becoming a competitive advantage. 

Why Contact Center Agent Performance Matters

When contact center agents are empowered to deliver results, they do. Positive customer service experiences, the result of your team’s collective efforts, can lead to repeat purchases and longer-term brand loyalty. On the flip side, poor customer service experiences have the opposite effect, harming customer retention, likelihood to purchase, and loyalty. 

#1: Customer service is a critical factor that drives likelihood to purchase, brand loyalty, and customer retention

  • 97% of consumers across the US and UK say that they would keep doing business with companies that transform poor experiences into positive ones by fixing their problems ASAP
  • 95% of consumers across the US and UK say customer service is a major factor/somewhat of a factor they consider when making purchases from brands
  • 84% of US and UK consumers say that when a customer service team member solves an issue for them, they feel more emotionally connected to the brand
Source: 2021 Stella Connect by Medallia survey of 2,100 consumers in the US and UK


#2: Brands can’t afford the cost of poor customer experience — customer churn and declining customer loyalty

  • 67% of US and UK shoppers say they would no longer do business with a brand if they experience 2-3 poor customer service interactions
  • 60% of consumers across the US and UK say that they will stop buying from a brand after just one poor customer service experience
  • 53% of consumers say they have switched brands because of a poor customer experience
Source: 2021 Stella Connect by Medallia survey of 2,100 consumers in the US and UK


How to Accelerate Contact Center Agent Performance with a Focus on Employee Engagement

Agents that feel recognized, appreciated, and supported are more likely to be productive on the job, stick around as employees, and help their organizations boost their return on profit margins.

Researchers have found that companies that have formal employee recognition programs enjoy a:

  • 63% lift in employee productivity
  • 61% lift in employee engagement
  • 57% lift in return on profit margins
  • 52% lift in customer retention
  • 51% lift in employee retention

And the price of not keeping agents engaged? The average cost of agent turnover adds up to between $25,00 and $50,000 per lost employee.

There are clearly advantages to strengthening contact center agent engagement, and the good news is, there are steps you can take right away to move things in the right direction. Here are some ideas for getting started:

  • Begin by asking your agents for their employee feedback and listening to what they have to say. Ask them to evaluate their own performance and personally pinpoint areas where they need additional support, training, tools, or other resources to do their jobs better. Your agents will likely have plenty of ideas for how they can step up and become stronger performers.
  • Demonstrate confidence in your team. Let your agents know that you know how much they’re doing to support the organization. Use positive customer feedback, agent-level performance metrics, and key customer insights to highlight the ways in which your agents are making a difference and to motivate them to keep bringing their best.
  • Send kudos for a job well done. Celebrate successes in real time to remind your agents of the value they’re delivering in the moment.
  • Recognize and reward strong contact center agent performance. Some of the most effective employee rewards cost next to nothing at all. Compare this to the high cost of contact center agent attrition.
  • Give your agents personal shout-outs on Slack, in company emails, and at all-hands meetings when they receive positive customer feedback.
  • Surprise your team members with a company freebie for a job well done, whether that’s branded swag, company products, a longer lunch break, or an extra vacation day.
  • Add some friendly competition into the mix. Utilize a team leaderboard to gamify customer feedback scores at the agent level. Stella Connect by Medallia clients Brooklinen, Harry’s, and TechStyle all use team leaderboards to showcase and rank agent-level average customer ratings.

And these suggestions shared here are only the beginning of what you can do to improve agent engagement and optimize contact center agent performance.

Get your copy of 4 Steps to Supercharge Contact Center Agent Performance for even more ideas on how to strengthen your team’s performance to deliver better experiences for your customers.