The last blog explained how to measure customer experience with some grand examples. Keeping that association intact, this blog highlights the stressed condition of the customer service employees and why motivating and valuing them is important. Believe it or not, employee experience drives customer experience.

That’s why rewarding them with personalized gifts can emerge as an effective and delightful motivator.

Though burnout and turnover are a flaming reality for all job roles, they have become a second nature of contact centers and customer support roles.

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Countless studies and reports have placed the insignia of authenticity on it:

74% of agents are at risk for burnout, and 30% of those individuals are at severe risk.

58% of contact center workers were significantly more stressed, 63% more depressed, and 34% percent more anxious than people in other professions.

Moreover, researchers have also found that most contact center employees have poor eating habits and rely on smoking as a quick escape from stress. In extreme cases, they may feel socially alienated from family and friends as the work-related stress consumes them totally, and they often work ungodly hours.

It's a serious problem for businesses. Note that your contact center agents act as brand ambassadors during their hundreds and thousands of customer interactions.

If agents get botched up by the ever-rising demands from customers, it affects their call quality. In fact, there is a 40% productivity drop and 50% more errors made while multitasking in the domain of customer service jobs.

And the worst part is, if they fail to deliver stellar service expectations, customers don’t think twice before taking their business elsewhere. 92% of consumers have said that an agent’s perceived happiness affects their personal customer experience.

To ensure above-the-mark customer service, therefore, it’s of paramount importance to understand the source of agent stress and ways of overcoming it.

A Comprehensive Guide to Customer Experience [2022]
Customer experience is the holistic impression that a customer has on a brand in every aspect of a buyer’s journey. This impacts the bottom line of a brand, including revenue.

Why are Customer Service Employees Stressed?

1. Role ambiguity

Amidst the pressure of improving operational efficiency, maximizing customer satisfaction, and collecting crucial customer information, a contact center agent role is a crucible of conflicting demands.

How can you speedily resolve issues and keep the customer feeling individually valued? How can you lessen the queue of customers on calls while carefully documenting every interaction? These seemingly conflicting KPIs give a meteoric rise to the stress.

2. Unrealistic performance expectations

Agents have to be swift and super-efficient. For job sustenance and growth, they want positive reviews from customers almost all the time. Along with this, they need to advocate for your company even if it has ailed the customer.

More often than, these metrics and evaluations don’t factor in personal circumstance or emotion. Finally, stress reaches its zenith, making it incredibly difficult to maintain employee morale.

3. Emotional conflict

A study published in the Indian Journal of Community Medicine discovered that agents’ stress mainly gets triggered by the need to hide emotions, as agents are expected to record every customer interaction with great positivity, regardless of their own feelings at that particular moment.

It requires enormous emotional labor to enact the play of forced positivity when your own spirit is at the nadir, giving rise to dormant anger, bitterness, and frustration.

4. Non-handsome wages

With just a hair above minimum compensation, the hourly pay granted for customer service roles can be very demotivating. When you think that you lie at the bottom totem pole, the fear that a single mistake will cost you your job always lingers. It puts agents into survival mode at work, making them perennially insecure. This alone heaps up a pile of stress.

How Does Good Employee Experience Drive Customer Experience?

De-stressing customer service employees are more engaged and deliver a great customer experience.

"Take care of your employees and they'll take care of your business" - Richard Branson, Founder of The Virgin Group

A Deloitte survey found that 80% of respondents rated Employee Experience as important or very important for business strategy in delivering great CX. It’s not surprising since it’s the employee experience that owns the customer experience.

When employees feel that they are treated right, thoroughly engage in their work, and find deeper meaning and satisfaction in how their roles contribute to a greater purpose, they go beyond the norm to carry that feeling to customers.

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CX expert, Blake Morgan, believes the link between customer experience and employee experience is undeniable. (Source: Forbes)

She mentioned in Forbes that companies that lead in customer experience have 60% more engaged employees. Employee Engagement Benchmark Study substantiated Morgan’s claim by finding out that customer experience leaders have more engaged employees than organizations who send out poor customer experiences.

customer experience leaders have more engaged employees

The closer you look, the easier it is to find the inseparable bond between employee experience and customer experience, regardless of the industries and segments. The reasons are listed below.

1. They forge better, deeper relationships with customers

A stronger employee-customer relationship is built on three pillars: Presence, attentiveness, and attitude.

When an employee is happy in the workplace, he doesn’t just stay away from absenteeism (presence)—but is more likely to support customer needs quickly (attentiveness) and with infectious vibes of positivity (attitude).

This efficiency, coupled with positivity, gets carried forward to customers, resulting in heightened customer happiness and loyalty. One can understand from Gallup's assertion that companies with happier employees show 147% higher earnings per share than their competitors.

2. Innovation and creativity jump in with happiness

Employee-customer interaction is not always a scripted screenplay. When we observe a sweeping change in customer preferences and modes of interactions, innovation and creativity become the litmus test of customer experience and satisfaction.

BI Worldwide data reports a strong relationship between employee happiness and innovation. Only 6% of employees mentioned that they bring out their best ideas despite being unhappy. This proportion rises to 82% with happy employees. The clarion call, then, is clear: Though unhappy employees may deliver acceptable customer experience, they are misfit to bring innovation in their work.
unhappy employees often give great service

It is very much in alliance with common sense. If employees are energized and motivated at every moment of their work experiences, they will stay around for longer durations. The more they stick around, the more specialization they develop, along with deeper knowledge of how best to serve customers.

3. They always keep you in a better light

A happy employee, a truly happy one, is tolerant towards a few snags from the side of his own organization. He genuinely wishes dizzying heights of achievement for the company. Resultantly, it smoothes out the edge of possible grump or sulkiness in his overall existence in the organizational interactions.

This innermost positive connection with the organization keeps him ever aware of your brand’s prestige and reputation, making him leave no stone unturned in presenting your brand in the most positive and illuminating light to your customers.

As the saying goes, a high tide lifts all boats, ships, and vessels. When organizations craft great employee experiences, everything and everyone related to the company wins Employees, customers, leaders, executives, and shareholders.

It then bathes in clarity why Herb Kelleher, the co-founder and former Chairman of the Board of Southwest Airlines, had said:

Quote by Herb Kelleher, the co-founder and former Chairman of the Board of Southwest Airlines

The Right Solution: Reward, Recognize, and Engage

Since stressed-out customer service employees are battling at two fronts, namely emotional and economic, creating a reward and recognition system that addresses both the evils and thereby values the employees is a must.

As this blog explains, it doesn’t just boost confidence and deepens the connection with the company but mitigates burnout and turnover before either becomes too uncontrollable.  

It’ll also motivate other employees to become top performers like their colleagues. In fact, a Gallup survey mentions that 74% of those who say their team receives praise also strongly agree that they have the feeling that what [they are] doing at work is valuable and useful. With the instilling of a sense of right purpose, your CX team will understand and feel how integral and valuable they are to your business.

Mind that you won’t have to reinvent the wheel while implementing these reward and recognition initiatives. This blog will guide you in creating a well-proven and sturdy structure to reward employees.

Since the greatest stress buster is getting away from stress,  me-time can diligently calibrate this much-needed getting away. By distributing experiences in the form of gift cards, you can gift me-time to your most stressed-out employees.

Indeed, it’s the moment of rewards and recognition that evokes in your CX employees the sense that you value them deeply, and their contribution is directly proportional to the company's bottom line. It’s, then, framing up an axiomatic truth: Happier employees = happier customers.

A case in point:

Xoxoday’s rewards platform doesn’t just act as a stress eliminator and ultimate motivator for employees but makes them a thoroughly engaged resource - resulting in an enhanced bottom line. HealthKart, our esteemed client, is a case in point.

Riled up by the pandemic-forced work-from-home, HealthKart’s employees were feeling low, stressed, and disengaged at the workplace. This reduced employee engagement impacted employee productivity severely. HealthKart fell back on Xoxoday’s reward platform and soon observed a whopping 30% rise in employee engagement.

The main reason for it is Xoxoday's platform doesn’t include only the traditional top-down recognition and reward methodology. It enables peer-to-peer recognition, enhancing camaraderie among the team members.

You can read more about how HealthKart improves its employee engagement through seamless employee rewards.

How to Deal with Angry Customers?

Even after picking out the best practices from all the greatest ever examples of customer experience deliveries and implementing them with the precision of a surgeon, a few edges might remain unsmoothed.

Mostly uncontrollable and fairly controllable elements might play the spoilsport, damaging the customer experience that you had envisaged and dreamed of. The only way out is to acknowledge the mishap, however smaller it may be, and compensate for it by offering something more valuable and memorable.

Jason Perkins of San Diego SEO Firm puts it very simply and straightforwardly:

"Give them something to compensate for the discomfort. When customers complain about something, either it has to with your service or with the people who are working for you. if they feel that they are not being service properly, you have to give them something to make up for the mistake," he says.  

Visible even to the naked eye, it points out the need to delight and surprise customers when a slight hint of distress is observable in their overall interaction. Harvard Business Review, in fact, has already mentioned that surprise changes behavior, turbocharges emotions, and fuels more passionate relationships between customers and brands.

However, delighting the customers is easier said than done. You need to take their anger, traverse through boredom and ignorance and catapult them into the peak of delight. The following figure shows how much draining and grilling it takes.

survey on how much did you deliver and how important it is

The simple reason for this difficulty is that it takes something “monumental” to bring a tectonic shift in the customer’s mood. And usually, it is shaped more by the sentiment than the pure, cold transactional giving. Surprise gifts and rewards, therefore, can be your much-needed cure-all remedy.

Why Gifts and Rewards?

Since the world is yet to see a joyous way of delighting a person than a souvenir of choice, strategic sparkling of gifts on customers’ key personal or professional moments can grant you a permanent space in their good books.

61% of consumers believe that well-planned gifts are the most important way a brand can interact. The joy that gifts can cause regularly establishes a special connection between customers and the brand, making them more tolerant of its mishaps. In short, it makes your brand taller and permanent in their eyes.

In fact, 94% of customers who received a gift or special recognition felt more positive about a brand, and 34% said they’d purchase more from the company. Surprise gifts, like digital gift cards, are, therefore, not just exciting incentives for customers to reduce their temporary grump but also to make them stay with your brand.

Why Not Frequent Discounts?

When delighting customers arises, the first innate mechanism is to give discounts. Though they work as one-time- things and suit high-order values, their regular implementation is lethal, both in economics and brand value.

1. Financial adverse effects

As heavy and regular discounts guzzle up your margins, they significantly reduce your overall revenue. You rope in less profit than other incentives such as gifts or free shipping for a fixed threshold.  

Profitwell’s Patrick Campbell rummaged through data from 4,200 subscription brands and found higher discounts at purchase correlate with Lower customer lifetime value and higher revenue churn.

high dicsounts at purchase correlates with Lower Lifetime Value
high discounts at purchase correlates with higher revenue churn
Source: Edesk

2. Customer adverse effects

Poor customer service occurs in any of these two major scenarios:

  • When a customer faces a negative experience with a brand
  • When the customer service wasn’t respectful

Apart from the above, here are a few other reasons that can trigger poor customer service.

➡ Making customers wait for steep discounts

The ceaseless flows of discounts desensitize customers to the unique thrill and excitement of a deal. When it becomes a REGULAR thing, giving customers a clear-cut hint that a next deal will come soon, customers ignore the 10% and 20% off sales and wait for 40% off sales.

It means that you actually work against the cardinal tasks you’re trying to do. Instead of nudging customers towards action and urgency, you program customers to sit back and wait for the next big deal.

The bottom line is discounts create magic the first time because consumers don’t want to miss the deal. The FOMO is real then. But when you get into the habit of spinning the wheel of discounts, you are in danger of creating fake urgency. With the surety that the next deal is coming, the urgency vanishes.

➡ Descendance in the customers’ perception of quality

As the recent episode of the Drive & Convert podcast mentions, once you become a discount brand in the eyes and minds of the consumer, you will be a discount brand forever. And it’s not easy to recover from, guaranteeing the cheapening of your brand. Once the adjective “cheap” prefixes your brand name, the chances of customers taking a serious note of your innovations and key endeavors are as thin as a piece of paper.

How Xoxoday’s Strategic Integrations help you in Dousing Irate Customers?

The 10+ years of a firm planting our eyes, nose, and ears to the customer’s dwelling places have told us that customer dissatisfaction doesn’t rise from a single spring. It has multiple trigger points, traversing the entire customer journey.

Moreover, we have learned that REACTING the bad customer experience to reduce the damage is usually barren land. It generally yields nothing except the lost prestige and customer.

This decantation of understanding has shaped our philosophy of integration. With a simple plug-and-play methodology, you can integrate Xoxoday Plum into your existing customer service platforms (HubSpot, Qualtrics, Zendesk) and proactively ensure the sound happiness of customers by delighting them through the rewards of their choices.

CRM Integration

CRMs allow organizations to map out customer journeys from when customers first interact with the organization until they become brand advocates. Xoxoday’s integration with Hubspot lets you map rewards and gifts across the customer journey - from awareness to advocacy.

See the Hubspot integration in action here:

➡ The awareness stage

Start a journey with customers through delightful experiences via coffee/lunch vouchers for discovery meetings. You can extend these rewards for first-time interaction with customers - webinar attendees, quizzes, polls, and survey respondents on social media, to name a few.

The awareness stage of Xoxoday rewarding funner

➡ The consideration stage

Even after getting convinced with the products, sometimes customers procrastinate to ink the deal. Here, a positive experience with a delight of rewards may nudge them towards the final buying decision.

With Xoxoday’s Hubspot integration, you can dole out rewards to customers for completing onboarding maintaining engagement with prospects, post the introduction call/demo. Also, you can re-engage prospects with personalized rewards at the right time.

The consideration stage of Xoxoday rewarding funner

➡ The welcome stage

Even if customers have finally trampled all the doubts under their feet and have decided to form a relationship with you, it’s important to make them feel that they haven’t made a mistake. They should feel that they aren’t just a number for you, and you value them.

By making sending rewards as easy as sending emails, Xoxoday’s integration allows you to welcome a client with a warm gift—ensuring a memorable experience from the beginning.  

The welcome stage of Xoxoday rewarding funner

➡ The evaluation stage

The beginning of improvement is the knowledge that there is a lot to improve. Establishing a great customer experience begins by knowing what customers think about their alliance with you and what is bothering them like buzzing flies. Comprehensive customer feedback, thus, becomes an important tool to examine your efforts.

However, customers invest time and attention to participate in your feedback. Xoxoday’s integration can make this whole experience flavorful by sprinkling joyous rewards. Remember: knowing what customers feel and want is the backbone of an exciting customer experience.

➡ The support stage

Gifting in the form of an apology/gratitude every time a customer ticket goes unresolved can save you from a low CSAT score. You can revitalize your CX by rewarding your customer support team for closing more tickets quickly. Our Freshdesk integration is ideal for this.

How do our Integrations Help you Achieve this?

The pit from where our integrations draw power is their ease-of-use and non-requirement of tech experts for their installation. Also, since we have integration use cases for almost all key business functions (HRMS, CRM, Market research, customer support), customers don’t have to hunt for multiple vendors.

On the same screen, the customers are getting the best of both worlds: Plum’s excellent capacity of rewarding and core competency of respective platforms like Hubspot.

However, Xoxoday’s integrations are laced with the following salient features:

  • The reward of the recipient's choice.
  • Personalization of messaging and rewards.
  • The customer is billed only on redemption.
  • Easy access to a global reward catalog.
  • One-to-one rewards to drive engagement.
  • Custom workflows from within Hubspot to reward prospects and customers across the funnel.
Prasad Dhamdhere

Prasad Dhamdhere

A strong believer of Nietzsche's saying: "All I need is a sheet of paper and something to write with, and then I can turn the world upside down," I help organizations reach more people through words.