10 key learnings on agent engagement to take into 2024  


Last week we held our inaugural Agent Engagement Summit, an event focused entirely on the agent experience and how it can be improved. The atmosphere was upbeat, the lobby was buzzing, and the ideas brilliant… and it was all achieved online! 

If you weren’t able to make it (or you simply want to revisit the fantastic points our speakers made) read our roundup of some of the most thought-provoking moments below, ideal for informing your strategies for the remainder of 2023 and beyond.  

Wish you’d been there? Register your interest in next year’s summit! 

1. It’s time to make CX cool again 

Keynote, Peter Ryan, Principal Analyst at Ryan Strategic Advisory 

For a long time, unfairly, the contact center has been sidelined from businesses, with its true value not fully appreciated. To adapt to the expectations of the modern customer, it’s time to highlight how important the agent role really is. Nowadays they must be strategic problem-solvers, demonstrating empathy and multitasking to deliver great experiences.  

The impact they can have on the bottom line and customer lifetime value is enormous. It’s high time for the contact center to be truly brought into the fold and considered the forefront of customer experience. 

2. Your agents are brand ambassadors, not just agents

Keynote, Peter Ryan, Principal Analyst at Ryan Strategic Advisory 

Leading on from the first point, the modern agent is much more than someone who simply takes calls and reads from a script. The brands that consider their front-line staff as having real, intrinsic value are the ones with engaged, proud employees. And with Ryan’s research showing only 5% of contact centers have had attrition decrease in the last year, there’s plenty of room for improvement. 

At Starbucks, you’re not just a server, you’re a barista. In Waterstones, you’re not a cashier, you’re a bookseller. With those titles comes implied knowledge and pride. 

Whether you choose to formally rename your staff is up to you, but the point is this: make them feel valued in their role, and they’ll be far less likely to leave. 

The fact that they are a brand ambassador on that front line is so important – and highlighting the value they bring to the table will make people feel better about their jobs and less likely to attrit.

3. Agents should be masters of their own destiny  

Panel featuring evaluagent, Pinnacle Sports, Tymit and Covalen 

A key theme throughout the summit was empowerment. The panel discussed the importance of agents feeling able to contribute and that their feedback was valued and taken on board – almost like ‘mini stakeholders’, said Dean Birkett of Tymit. 

Sonia Ferreira of Pinnacle added: “agents are encouraged to query their feedback, promoting an open, two-way conversation that could lead to further learnings and improvement. And that’s not just at an individual level, but throughout the contact center”. 

4. Today’s customers are experiencing next-level vulnerability  

Keynote, Katie Stabler, Founder of CULTIVATE 

The combination of being post-pandemic, in a tumultuous economic climate, and a rising cost of living leaves customers in a whole new state of mind. It’s likely that many customers may have never experienced this vulnerability before, so when they have a problem, they want to know that the person on the other end of the interaction cares and wants to help. 

But it doesn’t matter how good your strategy, tech stack or intentions are, if your people aren’t engaged, you won’t be delivering the experience your customers expect. 

5. Emotion is an undervalued driver in the agent-customer loop 

Keynote, Katie Stabler, Founder of CULTIVATE 

We’ve all heard about not bringing emotion into the boardroom, but really, we should be looking to leverage it as a powerful part of decision-making. Employees and customers alike are typically influenced by feelings more than logic – in fact, only 20% of decisions are made with logic, while a massive 80% are made with feeling and emotion. 

How your business makes someone feel (whether that’s your agents, or their direct impact on your customers) is often just as important, if not more so, than what you’re actually offering. 

Customers shop with logic but buy with emotion. We buy with feeling.

6. Accessibility to AI is about to change the game 

James Marscheider, Chief Commercial Officer at evaluagent 

Too often organizations get excited about technology itself, rather than the benefits it can bring about. AI has long been the domain of enterprise level big tech – the likes of Silicon Valley – but technologies like ChatGPT have democratized it and put its capabilities directly in the palm of the consumer.  

Don’t be tempted to implement AI without a plan. Have a clear goal in mind, and then decide whether the technology will help you achieve that goal with greater efficiency, or other gains. 

7. People aren’t being replaced by AI, they’re being redeployed 

James Marscheider, Chief Commercial Officer at evaluagent 

If there’s one myth we particularly wanted to challenge here at evaluagent, it was this. Agents and Team Leaders are not at risk of being replaced by AI. They’re being used to add more value than ever before! 

Their time should be freed up to have tougher conversations, solve more complex problems and be devoted to training and coaching. Today’s customers are demanding – AI can help shoulder some of the load. 

AI isn’t the end goal, AI is the way to achieve the end goal.

8. Next-generation QA isn’t about moving away from spreadsheets anymore 

James Marscheider, Chief Commercial Officer at evaluagent 

…Although you should be doing that too. Next-gen QA is less about your tech stack and more than ever about the experience you provide. Those who invest in an engaged workforce, find ways to be more efficient, and use data in a meaningful way to affect customer and employee experiences will lead the charge and attract the best talent.  

9. Gamification rewards don’t have to be monetary 

Breakout session, Chris Mounce, Quality and Coaching Specialist at evaluagent 

…But the reward does have to be proportional. After all, by offering rewards, you’re communicating the intrinsic value of a task. If an agent goes above and beyond and then feels under-rewarded, this can undo all the positive effects of gamification. 

But remember, these don’t have to be flash, monetary rewards to be valued by your staff. Popular suggestions from the breakout group included swapping roles with an evaluator, the Team Leader making tea for the day, a dress down day, an opportunity to shadow senior staff, and development days out at relevant conferences. 

10. Ultimately, agents just want more support

Keynote, Martin Teasdale, Get Out of Wrap podcast 

Perhaps one of the key themes of the entire summit was that ultimately, agents just want support. In the form of empowerment. In the form of understanding. In the form of empathy. It can be a tough job, and it’s all too easy to forget that. 

One of Martin’s great observations was that often we’re kinder to our customers than our employees. Customers tend to have access to more information than your own agents, which shouldn’t be the case. Build them up with knowledge, time, and one-to-ones – and above all, never cancel your coaching time. 

Get in and amongst your team. For agents especially, it shows that they matter, that they have purpose, and that you care about them.

Don’t miss out on next year’s event! Register your interest to get updates on the 2024 Agent Engagement Summit.