In the contact center, companies often spend a lot of time and effort focusing on customer experience.
Every year, $1.6 trillion in revenue disappears due to poor customer service. However, there’s more to standing out from the crowd than examining the customer journey and constantly rolling out new customer-focused strategies. If your agents aren’t thriving in the contact center, you won’t reach your CX goals.
According to the Health of the Contact Center report, 1,000 contact center employees throughout the UK and US feel more overwhelmed at work. For around 56% of agents, dealing with complicated issues is the most common concern. 38% of agents commented on the stress of handling a huge volume of calls, and 37% struggled to provide a consistent omnichannel experience.
So, how do companies create an effective agent experience that drives better business outcomes?
Integrate the Contact Center
Agents can accomplish more when they’re informed.
Around 26% of agents in the survey mentioned above said they felt the contact center wasn’t properly connected to the rest of the organization. Silos between the voice of the customer and the rest of the business makes it impossible to offer a consistent omnichannel experience.
Combining your contact center with other crucial tools provides teams with a single pane of glass workstation. From that one location, agents can find consumer details to respond to issues faster, access information about previous purchases, and more. A consolidated agent desktop will make it easier for agents to handle more interactions in less time.
Integrating your contact center and CRM could allow you to design screen pop tools that immediately deliver details on a customer’s purchase history and interactions with the brand. 77% of customers say that they expect agents to have this information today.
Effective integrations will also support:
- Better interaction routing: With connections between the contact center and other essential tools, it’s easier for your automated systems to work. You can set up intelligent strategies that send customers directly to the agent most suited to handle their calls.
- Automated data synchronization: Breaking down the walls between the data points in your business improves your business insights. You may even be able to improve the way that data is collected and stored across the enterprise.
- Smoother backend performance: You can even integrate your contact center with collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams for back-end chatting and video conferencing. This makes it easier for teams to work together on challenges.
Embrace AI and Self-Service
Artificial intelligence is one of the most important innovations in the contact center. Through AI, we’ve discovered how to route calls more effectively, support agents with bots, and more. One of the most significant applications of AI today is in self-service.
Through automated bots, conversational IVR technology, and virtual assistants, you can enhance and supplement the workforce. Today’s digitally-savvy customers are comfortable with serving themselves by searching online for information or tracking down FAQs. Around 40% of consumers agree that they prefer to access self-service than speak to human agents these days.
Around 80% customers say that speed is the most important factor when getting support from a company. Self-service solutions can provide rapid responses and solutions a lot better than over-worked staff members. When consumers can answer questions for themselves with bots, they don’t need to bother team members with repetitive queries.
AI and self-service solutions can filter through the questions that come from customers, so that only the people who genuinely need help get through to a human team member. This reduces the excess pressure that’s on your staff’s shoulders. This is particularly important now that time spent on hold is drastically increasing.
AI also offers an extra benefit to agents by providing them with the information they need to answer questions as quickly as possible when a call comes through. It’s no wonder that IT and business professionals invested 24% more in AI during the pandemic of 2020 alone.
Provide Agents with the Right Tools
To deliver incredible agent experiences, companies need to ensure that they’re offering their teams the right level of support. Technology is the key to driving an effective experience in the modern world. This is particularly true as connections between brands and customers become more digital.
A lack of technology is how companies end up with complicated client journeys. According to surveys, around 31% of customers say their biggest issue in dealing with the contact center is repeat information. Unfortunately, many agents don’t have the assistance they need to avoid this problem.
Tools for agent assistance can help to take the pressure off an evolving workforce. Options may include:
- Easy channel management: A single solution where your agents can see all of the information from multiple environments in one place saves time.
- Smart digital routing: Tools that prioritize and segment customers on your company’s behalf help to ensure that the right agents pick up the right calls.
- In queue callbacks: Callback technology ensures that customers aren’t sitting on hold, growing increasingly frustrated as they wait for support.
- Whisper and supervisor insight: Whisper modes can allow supervisors to step into a call and offer advice on the backend to struggling agents.
- Guidelines and knowledgebases: Knowledgebase solutions and policies built into your contact center environment can help teams access valuable information.
Crucially, all of these tools need to be able to support a range of different kinds of employees in the modern environment. With both in-office and remote staff members supporting clients today, companies need an end-to-end strategy for agent assistance.
Create Wallboards for Teams
Finally, agents need to be informed not just about what’s happening with customers but what’s happening in the wider contact center too. In 2020, the pandemic pushed 77% of contact centers to have around 50% of their workforce operating from home. In a new hybrid environment, businesses of all sizes need to motivate, engage, and inspire employees wherever they are.
Wallboard technology is among the most valuable tools for employee engagement. The right wallboard software provides you with a flexible way to create and share dashboards of valuable metrics over the cloud. Business leaders and supervisors can keep a close eye on the metrics that dictate how effective the contact center is.
At the same time, wallboard solutions give agents a useful overview of their own performance. They can check things like the number of calls answered and call duration to determine whether they’re working at a similar standard to their colleagues or whether they’re approaching their goals.
Through wallboard technology integrated with the contact center, businesses can:
- Quickly and clearly communicate valuable information to everyone in the team
- Analyze and optimize contact center performance with valuable data
- Ensure that team members understand which metrics matter to your company
- Motivate employees to accomplish goals and out-perform competitors
- Support supervisors in delivering the right management to remote workers
Great Customer Experience Starts with Agent Experience
It’s easy to get carried away focusing on customer experience as the most crucial component of business success. You need happy clients to thrive in this competitive landscape. However, it’s only possible to deliver amazing experiences when you build compelling agent experiences first.
Are you empowering your teams, wherever they are?