Research firm Gallup is famous for their work in understanding what drives employee engagement.  Through their studies we learn that only 28% of employees are actually ‘engaged’; 54% are ‘not-engaged;’ and 17% are actively ‘disengaged’. While these numbers are pretty mind blowing, we can use this information to our advantage to improve the employee experience and contact center customer service.

Many contact center managers, supervisors, and learning and development specialists are working night and day to determine how we get the 54% of ‘not-engaged’ employees to be more engaged. Obviously this is where the bulk of the benefit can be made.

You might also want to launch a parallel effort to understand the symptoms that employees exhibit prior to becoming disengaged – at the very point when they are about to hit the ‘not-engaged cliff’. Seeing the early warning signs might help to put these employees back on the right path before they become so disengaged that off-boarding is the only alternative.

Let’s take a look at 6 early warning signs in more detail:

  1. Showing up late. One clear indicator of a disengaged employee is their frequency of arriving late to work. Habitual tardiness means other things are more important in their lives ,and their work comes in second or third place.
  2. Average handle time goes down. This metric might sound counter-intuitive, but a decrease in AHT typically means that the agent does the bare minimum to help your customers.
  3. Customer feedback drops. Your metrics for satisfaction or Net Promoter Score (NPS) drops for the ‘not-engaged’ individuals. Together with the shorter AHT this is a clear yellow warning flag.
  4.  Reduced requests for training. Engaged employees are always seeking ways to improve or move up the career ladder. If your agents do not request any new product training or soft skill updates, you might put them on your watch list.
  5. Tricking the system. Yes, tricking the system is a tell-tale sign of disengagement. Disengaged agents figure out ways to avoid the next call or interaction.  A classic practice among these agents is to quickly hit the ‘not ready’ button and go back to ready. This resets the longest idle statistic in your ACD and means the agent is now last in line. Yes, disengaged agents know these things..
  6. The book of 1000 excuses. When you confront an employees with their degrading performance, the typical reaction of a disengaged agent is to open the book of 1000 excuses. Employees who really want to improve and become better will ask you how they can improve their performance.

Understanding the early warning signs can help you restore performance and get more out of the middle class performers within your pool of contact center agents. Applying a mix of statistical and behavioral analysis can deliver priceless insight before your agents hit the peak of the cliff and drop off.

To learn more about they key statistical capabilities every contact center application should employ to measure employee engagement, watch this video.