Appreciation - Walking the Walk

In too many organizations, the contact center staff doesn't feel the love.  Most companies will pay lip service to how much they appreciate their employees, but how many really show it? How many call center employees really do feel the appreciation and know they are valued? The answer is simple...not nearly enough.  

I was pleased to be part of two recent events that materially showed appreciation to hundreds of contact center agents.  It was refreshing and impactful.  Kudos to the men and women of Salesforce for facilitating the events.  Salesforce visited three of their customer's call centers and hosted a day of fun, games, prizes and appreciation for their agents.  Food trucks lined the parking lots to provide lunch, a dj kept the upbeat tunes spinning, cornhole games, headset ring toss and karaoke gave the agents plenty of opportunity to win great prizes and have fun.  Not your typical Tuesday at the office. 

I spent the days wandering through the event, chatting with agents from every team and tier, passing along mindful tips and techniques to help them reduce stress and increase focus.  More importantly, I had the opportunity to personally say "thank you" and "you are appreciated" to several hundred agents.  The impact of these events on many of the agents was tangibly positive.  

The opportunity to laugh, bond with co-workers and the spirit of fun competition is crucial, especially in a call center setting.  The benefits of this type of event will be evident for some time for the host companies.  Especially if they continue to create an atmosphere of understanding and appreciation.  Undoubtedly, these companies will do just that.  The fact that they participated in these events and the comments that I heard from agents made it clear that these companies are on the right path.  Because they make appreciating and humanizing their contact center staff a priority they enjoy higher retention rates, agents miss less time at work, agents see opportunity and strive for excellence to boost their careers.  Many of the agents I spoke with do see it as a career and an opportunity.  A refreshing thing to hear. 

I was particularly impressed when the #ServiceTrailblazers tour spent the day at the Tucson offices of Intuit.  There is no doubt that Intuit has developed a healthy, happy and positive company culture. Every agent I spoke to was upbeat, positive about their job and their contribution.  They really are a cohesive team and agents are in tune with one another.  Over and over I heard them say they loved their jobs and their leadership. I heard so many stories of hard work and dedication being reciprocated with a wonderful culture and with advancement.  When I shared mindfulness techniques with one of them, more often than not they would mention a co-worker that would benefit from it and eagerly gathered my info to share.  I spoke to Rosalie, who is in an agent support role and she was interested in knowing how whe could pass along these tips and help the team she supported.  It was clear that being appreciated and noticed was not new to these employees, It was also clear that the benefits of taking the time to create this culture is worth every effort a company puts into it.  Good on ya', Intuit!

Nothing but kudos to the Salesforce Service Trailblazers tour for making its way around the country, giving love and appreciation to agents who rarely get to leave their headsets, much less the office.  I commend the companies that allow the tour to visit their office.  Whether it is new to your employees to be the center of attention or it is something you are already cultivating, keep the appreciation going and use that momentum.  There is no rocket science here. People who are valued and appreciated will be more loyal, more productive and motivated.  They simply do a better job and everyone involved is happier, period.  And if you need to know if your employees feel empowered and appreciated just ask your customers...they are the first to feel the results.