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Employee Wellness in Your Contact Center

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"With a decade of customer service experience under my belt...I've experienced first hand how not taking care of yourself while busy at work can lead to flat out burnout." Writer, health coach, and customer experience influencer, Jenny Dempsey reflects on the importance of wellness in contact centers, and how it can impact not only your employees but your customers as well.

Can you shed some light on what wellness means, specifically for contact center employees?

Wellness encompasses many different elements of one's life, such as lifestyle, mental and spiritual well-being, relationships and the environment in which they live and work. It’s more than just healthy snacks in the break room and green smoothies. For contact center employees that spend their day taking care of customers, often their own wellbeing can sometimes get pushed under the rug. I believe that in order to take the best care of others, we must first take the best care of ourselves. And when leadership makes it a priority to foster a culture of self-care and overall wellbeing in the workplace, we often see higher productivity, higher overall engagement, lower turnover, and even lower absenteeism.

Besides just achieving wellness in the workplace, how can a company exhibit wellness to its customers?

What a great question! A company can exhibit wellness to its customers by practicing what it preaches. If it is offering a more human-based approach to wellness to employees, it can also treat customers like humans. A company can make time to review any process in their customer journey that might make a customer feel like they are just a number and not a person with a life, emotions and a need for connection. Empathy comes into play here big time.

What do you feel is the biggest risk that communications providers currently face?

I think the biggest risk that communication providers currently face is lack of communication. This seems quite silly, right? But when we look at the level of technical requirements for tools, and the amount of jargon involved, it becomes more important to communicate to customers every step of the way in words that they understand.

Do you feel contact centers would benefit from being more interactive and self-service based?

In my opinion, there is absolutely a time and a place for self-service based support. With all the innovative AI on the horizon, there is no doubt that these tools will enhance the experience for the customer…but only if they are done right. No one wants to talk to a robot if that robot is making them jump through multiple hoops to find the answer they are looking for or is using the same wording that the customer would understand. Contact centers have a great opportunity to take advantage of the self-service based tools and the experience around that, but also to really power up their actual agents who are still assisting customers. If a customer reaches out through self-service, doesn’t find the answer and has to call in, is this tracked? Is the agent able to see that this customer spent the last hour trying to find an answer and now has to call in? How can that interaction be different when the agent answers the phone?

What advice do you have for communications providers to help revolutionize the Customer Experience?

My advice is simple yet really complex at the same time: remember you’re dealing with human customers. At the end of the day, customer service is just people helping people. Have everyone in the company step in their shoes, do tickets, take calls, really get to understand what it is like to be a customer. Walk through your customer experience often, not just on paper but pick up the phone and call support, navigate the website online with fresh eyes, and map it out to understand every single step your customer must take to accomplish their tasks.

Jenny Dempsey

Jenny Dempsey is self-care wellness coach that lives in sunny Carlsbad, California.  Jenny uses her decade of customer service experience from companies like: TierraNet, Phone.com, and NumberBarn, to guide companies and individuals in creating a culture of self-care while busy at work. Through her workshops, speaking and engagements, Jenny helps create realistic, small action steps to build healthier and happier teams, improve employee engagement, productivity, reduce turnover and slice healthcare costs. Visit her website CustomerServiceLife.com, jennydempseywellness.com or follower her on Twitter.