Agents Will Be Empowered Only If They Feel Valued — And You Must Continuously Prove It to Them

One of the major initiatives abuzz in the Contact Center industry is agent empowerment and how it will improve performance and CX.


The concept is simple. Agents who feel empowered are comfortable making decisions on their own, which gives them a keen sense of ownership with every customer interaction. The conventional wisdom states that this is a win-win for all and seems like a no-brainer!


And while the concept of agent empowerment sounds straight forward, the ability to achieve its promise is not. That is because empowerment is made up of two equally important components, and right now, almost every Contact Center in the world has only one.

Everyone has the first part of agent empowerment

The first part of agent empowerment is agent enablement.


This requires managers to define the rules of agent engagement that enable agents to know which decisions to make in each type of customer engagement. It is a top-down approach, because it’s managers who define the processes and decisions needed to arrive at desired outcomes and then train agents in their use.


Why you might ask, isn’t this enough to achieve agent empowerment?


Because the measures used to manage agent proficiency reward inequality.


The reality is not all agents learn and adapt at the same rate, and today’s performance aren’t able to recognize commitment. This means Agents who adapt quickest win. But just because an Agent can adapt quickly doesn’t mean they’re good. It leaves a lot of good agents and new hires to struggle to prove their commitment and hard work. The outcome is higher turnover and lower morale.


One way Contact Centers try to overcome feelings of inequality is culture building. And while hugely important, culture alone cannot solve this problem because it is a group or community driven set of emotions that do not enable agents to understand their individual value within the whole.

And these reasons are why agent empowerment requires a second component to bring everything together.

Almost everyone is missing this part of agent empowerment

To realize the true benefits of empowerment, your agents must be properly valued. This means measuring performance in a way that does not disadvantage them based on location, salary, experience, skill group(s) they handle, how quick a learner they are, or how long they’ve worked for you.


What measure do you have today that all agents understand, can manage, and trust they are on a level playing field? One that enables managers can realize maximum ROI on decisions?


To achieve true agent empowerment, we need to prove to each agent they are valued fairly. This requires a single measure that every agent in the world has an equal ability to achieve regardless of all the Contact Center variables. Called Agent Engagement Index (AEI), this financial measure is the percentage of an agent’s salary they put toward customer engagement and back-office work.

How to value Staff Performance Equally Around the World

Empowering your entire workforce requires the ability to answer one questions:


How much of the money under the control of any manager or agent is spent on customer engagement?


Called Financial Clarity, the answer empowers everyone:

  • Financial Clarity empowers agents and managers — it gives everyone the proof they are being valued fairly. It improves enablement and culture building initiatives the playing field is leveled. For example, it doesn’t matter if Agents are paid differently, or if one manager has 20 agents or 200, or if they are in Manilla, Austin, or Boston. If they put the right percentage of the money they control toward customer engagement, then they are outstanding.
  • Financial Clarity empowers managers — to identify and manage the costs of processes down to the individual agent, including off-phone work. For example, metrics such as Utilization or Adherence reduce ROI because an agent can be logged in or in the right place 90% of the time, but that does not mean they are working. And with remote working being the new normal, knowing who is working hard vs. hardly working is critical.
  • Financial Clarity empowers leadership — to manage expenses against the work Contact Centers are expected to carry out, and to identify hidden efficiency and financial opportunities that reside in their Contact Center.

Conclusion: Focus on how you value agents to encourage empowerment

“The most damaging phrase in the language is it’s always been done that way.”

Empowering your contact center based on Financial Clarity will create a level playing field everyone can understand, trust, and achieve. It is the most important decision to realizing the huge benefits of empowerment.


When applied transparently, WiserOwl Financial Clarity has increased productivity over 40%, generated a 500% ROI on IT decisions, reduced turnover by 50%, and sustained an average customer satisfaction score of 92%.

go beyond traditional metrics, and See Your Contact Center Gain True Workforce Empowerment

Too see how far your contact centers are from true empowerment, WiserOwl can provide a view of your operation without impacting data privacy issues, in 30 days or less. Don’t waste your next big decision!