Anybody who has worked in a contact center knows it can be emotionally draining work. Contact centers can benefit greatly when their agents are being led to handle the stress in the right ways. In her recent article, Debi Mongan points out that having leaders who encourage mindfulness can be just as helpful to contact center agents as providing them with the right technological tools. Mongan discusses the positive benefits from leaders practicing mindfulness, including:
- Agents focus less on reacting to the customer’s emotion and more to fixing the issue itself, i.e. regulating emotions while retaining empathy.
- Agents recover quicker from bad calls and maintain resilience.
- Agents maintain focus when navigating through the myriad of contact center technology programs to help customers find a solution. In other words, they can maintain composure instead of getting caught up in the moment and getting overwhelmed and confused.
High-pressure positions, such as contact center agents, can benefit greatly from mindfulness techniques like mindful breathing. Mongan uses an example of an Indiana marketing firm that utilized mindful breathing techniques and saw a great improvement of production in metrics like retention rate. However, there are a few things Mongan recommends to keep in mind before incorporating mindfulness techniques, such as:
- Some agents will refuse to participate in the practices. Personalities vary from person to person, so it’s important to allow them to choose whether mindfulness techniques are right for them and be happy with the agents who do choose to participate.
- On the surface, it seems to be a practice that takes away phone time and can hurt customer service levels. However, in reality there are techniques to mindfulness that don’t have to take away large portions of agents’ work time and can ultimately improve their overall production levels. It is possible to find ways to structure it into their existing schedules instead of taking time out of their busy day.
- Mindfulness is not about going big or going home. Agents can buy into it on a small scale or take it as far as it can go. Whether it’s one simple breathing technique or several intricate techniques, any amount can be helpful.
- If you expect your agents to take interest in mindfulness techniques, you will need to have buy-in from every leader in the organization. Having encouragement from your leaders can be a big help when trying to adopt new techniques and having supportive leadership can provide a great example.
- Providing a supportive environment will help develop mindfulness skills. This can be accomplished by providing agents with conference rooms for a space to have meetings and practice mindfulness techniques with their peers. Developing and learning are much easier when people know they can be involved with a group and have extra support. In addition to bettering mindfulness, this also promotes camaraderie among agents and can build a better overall work environment.
Mindfulness programs don’t have to be a huge project immediately; they can start small and grow organically. Mongan says that it can all start with a breathing workshop and the results will go a long way. Whether you want a large program or one small class, practicing mindfulness in the contact center can bring dramatic improvement.
This blog post is based on an article from ICMI. To read the original article, please click the link below:
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