Three months ago it was very easy to ignore a business continuity plan (BCP), since many of us took for granted our business’ profitability, steady markets, engaging office cultures, and to put it bluntly, success. Thanks to that complacency, many are quickly forgetting what success tastes like.
Reading between the lines
Behooved by the COVID-19 pandemic, companies from contact center solution providers to digital marketers, the events industry, financial analysts, and so many more are seeing the consequences of their inactivity. Managers and decision makers are unprepared for the changing realities of the workplace, and unable to swiftly satisfy not only their customers, but the ones who have to get up day after day, log into a remote desktop, and desperately attempt to retain them: your employees.
To provide customer-centric organizations with viable employee engagement contingency plans and result-driven solutions throughout COVID-19, as well as the pandemic’s aftermath, CCW Digital has recently been in contact with Tango Card, a leader in providing digital rewards to boost employee engagement.
Recent studies indicate that the coronavirus has drastically affected employee engagement levels across millions of businesses worldwide. That prediction continues to grow rapidly by the day, as there’s no complete or definitive timeframe of the COVID-19 pandemic’s long-term impact on employee engagement levels, front-line productivity, business continuity, and ultimately, GDP or the global economy at scale – and how it all boils down to impact you, and your company’s financial forecasting.
However, we know one thing is for certain in the remote, digital era of harsh economic circumstances and unpredictable challenges. While your consumer database, call volume, pipelines, or customer experience may be fluctuating in our trying times, the quality of your employee experience shouldn’t. And how you chose to engage your team members dramatically impacts their psychological motivation, job satisfaction, productivity, and interactions with customers, all of which trickle down to CSAT scores, and ultimately, the revenue your accountants are penciling in.
Before the pandemic, CCW Digital research confirmed that while 90 percent of executives understand the importance of workforce engagement, fewer than 50 percent understand how to improve it. Many studies have shown that more than one-fourth report feeling “actively disengaged.”
Qualtrics recently provided our analysts with a study published earlier this week that is worth reiterating. The report is interestingly titled The Other COVID-19 Crisis: Mental Health, as it discusses the effects the pandemic is having on employee motivation. According to the report, 57.2% of workers feel more anxious since the outbreak. In fact, over half feel more emotionally exhausted, more irritable, and have noticed increased feelings of sadness. That’s dictating how they interact with their customers.
While more than half of workers (65.8%) feel that company communications help them take action for their well-being, they’re missing the mark for psychological health. Nearly half of the respondents, 45.9%, say their company hasn’t shared available mental health resources.
Tango Card doubling down on employee engagement
Traditionally ineffective at increasing employee engagement and productivity, many mental health resources, such as some quick best-practice blogs passed around cubicles by the HR department are common. Caring for your employee’s mental health and engagement is about action – practices, operations, contingency plans, and productivity-driving programs. One concept that we’ve seen prove most effective, behooved by the COVID-19 pandemic, is a psychologically stimulating rewards program. That’s why we have decided to connect with Tango Card, to provide you answers to today’s biggest problem in not just the contact center, but workforce management.
Tango Card’s digital rewards solutions, in conjunction with a reward or incentive program, provides a way to make employees feel recognized, appreciated and motivated. That too, dictates how they talk to their customers. Thanks not only to the monetary benefit to employees, but the psychological stimulation provided by gamified recognition, is sending shock waves through the contact center, to say the least.
Centrical recently teamed up with Tango Card to help contact centers employ personalized learning and gamification to encourage employees to embark on learning missions and achieve performance targets, such as sales, NPS, and AHT. The way it works: points are awarded when targets are reached or learning activities are completed. Depending on the desired outcome or behaviors, those points are then translated into virtual coins. With virtual coins in hand, employees can redeem for real rewards from the virtual store.
Tango Card’s digital catalog contains many rewards for food delivery, grocery delivery, digital entertainment – all rewards that can be used at home in the remote era. Delivering rewards to make employees appreciated is vital to keeping up morale, which many companies are now understanding has a direct correlation on the quality of service provided to customers. Now Tango Card’s digital rewards boost Centrical’s innovative, proven-effective employee engagement and performance management platform that uniquely combines personalized microlearning and real-time performance management with advanced gamification to help align employees with company goals.
It also facilitates conversations with managers about targets and performance. The Centrical platform is currently used by many Fortune 500s, such as Microsoft, Novartis, Synchrony Financial, and Unilever, as well as many of the world’s leading contact centers and BPOs, including Teleperformance and TTEC – with the goal of combatting the single greatest problem in workforce management, employee engagement.
“Before Tango was integrated with the Centrical platform, customers had to handle fulfillment manually. As a result, some of our customers opted not to implement a virtual store. They simply didn’t want to deal with fulfillment,” says Yossi Ben Ishay, Centrical Vice President of Product. “Having rewards available via a virtual store is [now] a key element to getting higher engagement and better performance. It makes our solution that much more effective.”
“Extrinsically motivated employees are looking to crush numbers, win contests, and extract maximum rewards. Implementing stretch goals, gamification, sales contests, etc. can motivate these employees. Regardless of personal motivation, eliminating favoritism, encouraging free flowing peer to peer and manager to peer recognition, and supporting all employees with company alignment will foster increased employee loyalty,” Nat Salvone, Tango Card’s Chief Commercial Officer recently told us.
According to research by Tango Card, the number-one benefit employees are requesting in order to feel appreciated, “by a long shot,” is gift cards for delivery to their homes. “We can instantly give a choice of 50 delivery gift cards that cost companies zero fees to process. It’s a great time to reinvest in appreciating your employees,” Tango Card’s Marketing Director, Scotty Greenburg told us. “I think people are only just getting settled into a work-from-home groove. Companies haven’t necessarily begun to think about what engagement looks like beyond making sure everyone is connected,” with the likes of now, standard operational communications, such as Zoom or Microsoft Office.
Using digital rewards to increase productivity and pyschological stimulation
Many have adapted to phase one of business continuity during harsh economic circumstances, continuing operations through digital alternatives – the bare minimum of a BCP. Now it’s time to use digital alternatives to overcome harsh economic circumstances and productivity-trampling, psychological barriers - rather than to merely “continue to exist” in a given market.
According to Tango Card, “About 65% of employees are feeling somewhat or very engaged thanks to increased communication and the availability of services like Zoom [congruent with Qualtrics’ research]. However, as the new normal settles in and working from both the office and at home becomes typical, the boost of rewards and the flexibility of digital engagement programs will become important,” to continuously increase engagement through gamification and recognition, claims Greenburg.
For the contact center, specifically (or any customer-centric organization), agents, reps, and front-line employees are the “face of the company” – the ones communicating with consumers, dictating whether your customers chooses to spend their money with your brand, or a competitor’s. If they’re not engaged in their work, able to solve customer issues (with personalization, empathy, and technology), those who contact the center will come away with a less than positive view of the company. “The potential to lose those people as customers becomes extremely high,” adds Yossi Ben Ishay, Centrical VP of Product.
According to Echo-MR research provided by Tango Card, 30% report feeling very engaged during their workday, while almost 25% are feeling very/somewhat disconnected. About 70% report that their company has launched at least one initiative to help keep them engaged (Zoom meetings, virtual happy hours, daily calls, flex time and more). Yet 30% say their company is “doing nothing, really.” When asked what one thing their company could do to make them feel most appreciated, almost half said some type of gift card (Visa, Amazon, restaurant, etc.).
Agents need to create a positive rapport with every customer, even the most disgruntled ones, to be able to effectively understand and solve their issue. This is true regardless of the agent’s personal mood, and it's up to brands to support customer facing agents so they’re prepared to confront even the most difficult customer with a smile.
This is much easier for agents when they feel engaged at work. They are happier on the job, and that happiness rubs off on customers, enhancing perceived customer experience. Conversely, when agents don’t feel engaged, they risk becoming apathetic, which customers can sense, an increasingly common trend in today’s contact center.
“If a customer doesn’t feel like an agent is truly invested in helping them, that can be very detrimental to their perception of the brand and customer experience,” stated Jeff Saenger, VP of of Customer Success at Helpshift.
When I asked Nat Salvone, Tango Card’s Chief Commercial Officer about the success of digital gift cards, he replied:
“Rewards and incentives are the booster rockets in your engagement programs. Programs can perform alone when well designed, but a robust reward strategy helps when launching programs, accelerating programs, and keeping employees engaged in ongoing programs. Some programs, such as sales contests and spot award programs, are centered around earning rewards. Regardless of program type, providing rewards that can be delivered immediately, spent and enjoyed easily, and are desirable repeatedly are a must.”
Centrical’s Vice President of Product Yossi Ben Ishay, was able to confirm that. “Some of our customers had a dedicated person (30% of their time) to deal with fulfillment. Automating the process saves that time and, importantly, significantly increases the number of rewards our customers can offer their employees, increasing their satisfaction as well as [their] customers.”