“You can make or break a brand relationship in a single conversation…”

That was an opening sentence that caught my eye the other day. Instantly, I thought, “Agreed!” It was an article about the tumultuous shifts that contact centers – and the brands that depend on them – are still undergoing today, two-plus years after the pandemic began. As I continued to read, I found myself nodding along with just about everything Zayd Enam, its author at Forbes, had to say.

In a nutshell, Enam describes “four critical shifts facing contact centers” today: the urgency of cloud migration, the ubiquity of AI, the necessity of work-from-home, and the spike in the importance of agent retention. (You can find the whole article at the link below.) While I can’t argue with any of the points made, I also can’t help noticing what’s missing – and is so often missing – from the “agent retention” conversation. In his article, Enam suggests that contact centers that run excellent onboarding and ramp-up times, train agents well, and provide career growth opportunities are the contact centers that fare better at the retention game. Absolutely right. But if the past two years have validated anything, it’s this:

If your agent hiring model stays the same, you’ll never improve agent retention.

It’s true. The needs and priorities of today’s highly talented CX superstar agents (I call them Super Agents) are changing. The customers’ needs they’ll be serving every day have practically done a 180.

Are you tracking those changes? More importantly, what are you doing to accommodate them?

It’s not easy. It demands a pretty deep dive into the values and expectations of a brand’s consumer base – and a similar commitment to understanding the core competencies, motivations, and skills an agent needs to meet those customer needs and deliver a consistent Wow experience during every agent interaction.

But that’s not even the most challenging part.

From there, you’ll need to create a Super Agent Profile that captures those “mandatory qualifications” and defines where you’re likely to find those candidates and, critically, what you will need to promise and deliver to them as their employer.

Today, it’s simply not enough to fare a little better than most contact centers at agent retention. Success will demand some serious re-engineering of old hiring models and a clear senior leadership commitment to adapting as the marketplace – and the labor market – continue to shift. That’s a process we began at Skybridge Americas several years ago. It’s an investment that has distinguished us from other contact centers since then, especially during the chaos and upheaval of the pandemic.

Please reach out if you would like to know more about how Skybridge Americas helps clients deliver outstanding customer experience to retail brands, healthcare, and government organizations. We would love to learn about your customer care needs and discuss how we can help!

You can read Zayd Enam’s article in Forbes here.

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