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Why Employee Engagement Matters to Customer Service

Madeline Jacobson
3 mins
Call center employees at computers demonstrate employee engagement in customer service

Customer service is one of the most critical components of any organization. A 2020 study by Microsoft found 94% of Americans use customer service as a factor when deciding whether or not to do business with a company. And nearly two-thirds said they’d stop doing business with an organization after just one poor experience.

Given how much a customers’ interaction with your employees can make or break brand loyalty (not to mention the direct impact on your bottom line), you’d think businesses would put more effort into bolstering their customer service teams’ skills, capabilities, and job satisfaction. Yet, at many companies, customer service pros are disengaged, overwhelmed, and burnt out—all of which contribute to higher turnover rates and, ultimately, unhappy customers.

But how exactly will employee engagement improve customer experience outcomes? And what can you do to boost reps’ satisfaction and interest in their roles? 

Why Employee Engagement Will Improve Customer Service Outcomes

No company wants to disengage employees or drive them toward the door. Yet, not all leadership teams are fully convinced investing more in engaging customer service representatives is the best way to allocate their budgets—especially amid an economic downturn. But focusing more resources on improving engagement will have a significant impact on many of your organization’s top goals.

Here’s why:

Engaged Employees Delight Customers

When an employee is enthusiastic about their job, it comes through in the way they treat customers and their willingness to go the extra mile. That’s because an engaged employee is dedicated to company objectives, and they understand the importance of delivering the best possible customer experience. They’re personally invested not only in their success as an individual employee but also in the success of their team and the organization as a whole.

Happier employees want to go above and beyond because they feel genuinely fulfilled by positive customer outcomes. And that translates into higher rates of customer loyalty and increased revenue. PwC found customers are willing to spend as much as 16% more when they feel valued and appreciated.

Engaged Employees Are Less Likely to Quit

It’s not cheap to replace an employee. In addition to the costs associated with recruiting and onboarding a new team member, you also need to consider that it can take weeks or even months for a new hire to be as productive and successful as an existing employee. So, it’s in your organization’s best interest to reduce turnover as much as possible.

A study by Gallup found teams that scored in the top 20% for engagement also saw 51% less turnover and a 41% reduction in absenteeism.

Engaged Employees Collaborate and Cooperate

If you’ve ever worked with an unhappy or disinterested team member, you know how much it affects almost every aspect of a team’s success. Low engagement makes it harder to overcome roadblocks, improve on areas of opportunity, progress towards goals, or work together at all. Plus, poor attitudes and performance are contagious.

On the flip side, when all employees are engaged and aligned on key objectives, they’re more likely to collaborate and cooperate to get things done.

How to Boost Employee Engagement Among Customer Service Reps

An engaged employee displays passion and enthusiasm for their role and is committed to meeting individual, team, and organization-wide goals. They’re a tremendous asset to your organization. Unfortunately, with professional burnout on the rise (affecting more than half of employees, according to a 2021 survey by Indeed), engaged employees are fewer and farther between. So, how can you improve your team’s engagement?

Listen to Their Feedback

Employees not only want and deserve to give you their feedback, but these insights can help you add value internally and externally.

By allowing employees to share their thoughts, ideas, concerns, and frustrations, you’re showing them that you care about their experience. And when you apply their feedback and make tangible improvements, you’ll help stave off burnout and prove that you’re committed to their success and happiness. This will help earn their buy-in and re-engage them in their work.

Additionally, keep in mind your customer service reps communicate more with your customers than potentially any other team members at your organization. By regularly talking with reps about what customers have to say, you can key into prime opportunities for adding value and pass these insights along to your product teams, sales teams, and leadership.

Empower Them With Knowledge

Of course, the single best thing you can do to engage employees is to empower them. And while that means competitive pay and good benefits, it also means ensuring every team member has access to all the information they need to do their job. Employees shouldn’t have to rely on management (or each other) every time they encounter a challenging customer question or concern. Instead, equip them with a user-friendly knowledge engagement platform so they know they always have all the information they need to succeed.

This will boost employee confidence while also ensuring customers benefit from a high-quality and consistent experience every time.

The bottom line? Employee engagement across your customer service team is essential to your organization’s success. The more you invest in supporting, empowering, and enabling those employees, the better results you’ll see across the board.

September 9, 2021

If Employee Experience Isn't Your Top Priority, It Should Be

Want to learn more about why customer service leaders should care about the employee experience—and how to increase team members' engagement? Get our employee experience guide for department leaders.

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