Reversing the Great Resignation Tips on Retaining Your Best Support Agents

Dec 23, 2021

Reversing the Great Resignation: Tips on Retaining Your Best Support Agents

By now you’ve probably heard or read all about the “Great Resignation” – but for those who haven’t, it essentially posits that due to the pandemic, an aging workforce, and shifts in how employees want to work, we may be seeing a higher than average turnover of employees now and in the coming months. In a function like customer support, with already high attrition numbers, this can spell trouble.

Earlier this month, SupportLogic CEO Krishna Raj Raja sat down with industry expert and analyst John Ragsdale of TSIA and Snowflake’s VP of Global Support Angus Klein, to discuss this potential for disruption. More important – they discussed some ways to nip potential employee churn in the bud.

As Ragsdale points out, it’s a kind of “perfect storm” brewing for employee attrition. “Between the pandemic and boomer retirees, we knew it might be an issue. But now, with both large and small companies calling workers back to the office, many employees may opt to find another job or change roles in order to stay remote. With talent in high demand, especially in the B2B tech support world, it’s a seller’s market for qualified support agents,” he notes.

So how do you better retain critical employees like your best support agents? Ragsdale notes that a structured approach to employee engagement is key, and a huge cornerstone of that is quality monitoring. In fact, companies with a structured quality monitoring program in place have employee satisfaction rates consistently above 80% on average.

That is why, according to Angus and Krishna, Snowflake was keen to help co-design SupportLogic’s next generation of agent coaching and support quality monitoring tools. As Klein puts it, good support agents are the “oxygen” that feeds the entire organization. Engaging with agents with the right mix of corrective and positive feedback can ensure agents feel valued and empowered. And that is just what the new (in-beta) Assisted Case Evaluation capabilities in SupportLogic aim to do.

In addition, Klein outlined two innovative programs he’s instituting in his team to improve engagement and reduce burnout. One program involves having developers spend a week or more in the support organization. This helps them better understand both the stress and fast-paced nature of the role, but also the incredible amount of insights gleaned from support interactions.

Second, Klein plans to have his top support experts spend up to one quarter in the engineering department. This program will give support agents even deeper knowledge not just of the product, but also the process of development and the rigors of engineering. The goal of both of these programs is to give a “breath of fresh air” so to speak in breaking up the routine, but also in building deeper respect and understanding of the inter-related nature of support and engineering teams.

Because, in the end, it’s all about Empathy according to Krishna and Angus. Being flexible and working with your team to allow them to best use their skills and generate a strong work/life balance is what will help keep employees happy and motivated even in disruptive times. And of course, a little technology can help even overworked managers ensure they are engaging and providing the kind of career- building guidance to build high performance support organizations.

The entire conversation between Krishna, John and Angus, with tips on retaining your best support agents is available on-demand.

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