Study Finds “Agent Apathy” to Be the Root of Poor Customer Care

There’s nothing quite so disappointing as conversing with a customer care agent whose monotone voice makes it quite evident that he or she does not truly care about addressing your inquiry.  And, it’s no secret that this low-energy approach to quality of customer care will not win businesses increased customer retention or positive reviews.

In fact, a recent study from ICMI and Five9 revealed that “agent apathy” is the root cause of poor customer care levels. What’s more, in the same study 74 percent of contact center leaders confessed to feeling that they prevented their agents from providing the best experience possible.

While it’s honorable for these leaders to have acknowledged their faults, it is critical they they deduce exactly what is causing their agents to produce low levels of customer care and even more importantly, how to resolve this apathy epidemic.

For starters, workplace morale greatly affects the attitudes of contact center workers. With such high levels of daily stress thrust upon them each day in the form of hefty call queues and upset consumers, it’s no surprise that agents’ sometimes feel burnt out. However, contact center supervisors can work to create a more optimistic, team-oriented atmosphere to help agents’ feel more excited about their careers.

For example, supervisors must provide their employees with an appropriate balance between work and home life. This means staying sensitive to employees’ personal matters and understanding when agents need a break. You never want your employees’ to force their way through the work week, and offering suitable vacation allowance can certainly increase their satisfaction and performance.

In addition to work-life balance, the structure of your team is also important. Hiring managers must ensure that each new agent who enters the team is  cohesive with the rest of the workforce. More specifically, it’s important to take notice of your agents’ preferences and personalities in order to foster a group of workers who enjoy each other’s company and motivate each other to work hard and make progress.

Your contact center workplace culture will impact your agents’ quality of customer care—but it’s your choice, as the supervisor, as to whether that impact is negative or positive.

We want to hear your thoughts. Tell us how you keep your employees smiling in the comments section!

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.