Agent Engagement - 'Feel-Good Fluff' or Your Path to a More Profitable Call Center?

One would be hard-pressed to find a call center leader who vehemently opposes efforts to better engage their employees.

But for many such managers, the actual business case for employee engagement—the argumentation customer management leaders would need to present before the C-level—is murky. To them, engagement can appear more like "feel good fluff" than a pathway to an improved bottom line.

"When we first started talking to our C-level about how we could continue to invest in our people and our environment, we had to find a way to link those business outcomes," explains Barbara Porter, vice president of customer service and business development at Nicor National, in an exclusive podcast with "Could we show them that if our engagement increased with our employees and our customers, our cost per sale would decrease, or that our profits would increase?"

For Porter, a featured presenter at the upcoming International Contact Center Summit, the answer soon became a resounding yes. Her company has been able to link employee engagement to bottom line impact, justifying the investment as more than an unnecessary atmosphere spend.

"What we’ve been able to find over the last two years, when our employee engagement goes up, our customer engagement goes up, our productivity increases, our sales increase," touts Porter. "The same holds true that when our employee loyalty and engagement goes down, so does our customer engagement."

More importantly, Porter wholeheartedly believes that the progress stems from the actual x-factor of caring about employee culture and the call center environment—she does not believe good pay and solid training are sufficient.

"When you get down to it, everybody wants to know that they’re appreciated for what they do and that you care about what’s happening for them," notes Porter. "Money is just not the big motivator."

How did Nicor establish such high-impact employee engagement? How is the rise of multi-channel communication impacting culture within the call center? Listen to the exclusive CMIQ podcast now.

And if you like Porter’s perspective and are more curious about how she led Nicor National to such impressive results, join her at the 2011 International Contact Center Summit.