Delivering Great Customer Experience Starts with Your Agents
Everyone in the contact center wants to deliver a great customer experience. Unfortunately, after many years of industry focus, it is not being achieved uniformly. Many centers deliver sub-optimal results and struggle with their Customer Experience (CX) initiatives.
The pain points are evident on many fronts, and have a great cost:
- The labor pool is a perennial problem, with a shortage of qualified candidates, high attrition, and attendance and adherence issues
- Complexity of products, services, processes, and systems impact centers with long training and time to proficiency, and high rates of transfers or consultations
- Performance is where the pain is most evident, as centers fail to meet their internal goals; the customer experience suffers, and the agents struggle to embrace the work
At the same time, multiple and competing business goals – revenue, service, and efficiency – create tension. Centers trying to deliver great CX are under pressure to manage (or cut!) costs, and some must drive revenue. At the center of it all sits the agent. It’s time to think about their journey and how to optimize the agent experience.
Think about what’s holding your center back from delivering great CX. Difficulty hiring the right agents? Attrition, often early in their tenure in your center? Long training and time to proficiency? Low engagement, errors, not meeting metrics? Clunky desktops and processes that slow them down and make it hard to succeed? Little time invested in developing staff with training and coaching? Then think about the impact all these challenges have on your cost structures, customer experience, and revenue.
Let’s look at what the optimized Agent Experience (AX) looks like with a vision for 2020 and beyond. An agent-optimized contact center is a customer-optimized contact center!
1. Technology Enables Productivity
Agents need a variety of tools to do the job and do it efficiently and effectively. Here are a few examples of impactful changes you can make to bring new levels of speed to your agents:
- Use a Unified Agent Desktop to provide a “cockpit” that matches their tasks and workflow
- Provide access to omnichannel tools so they can serve customers in their channels of choice
- Leverage robotic process automation to provide agent assistance on routine tasks, guide them through complex tasks, and trigger follow up tasks
- Make knowledge management easily accessible, accurate, and up-to-date for trusted answers
- Use instant messaging and collaboration tools for collaboration and communication
2. Highly Trained and Skilled Agents Deliver Success
Another important aspect of AX is the training and skills development, and there is ample opportunity to do this better with both new hires and seasoned agents. We talk about five key elements of training:
- Provide a foundation in the culture and overall organization and operation
- Break out the products and processes into skills sets to drive early proficiency, and then develop staff
- Train on each of the tools
- Focus on contact handling and soft skills, and the specific workflows and scenarios they will handle
- And ensure they are CC-smart, understanding their impact and how the metrics and goals are monitored, trended, and celebrated, and used to help them develop
With the right tools and processes, agent development can be very targeted – to the contacts they handle, and the performance needs identified.
3. Clear, Consistent Goals Guide Performance Results
Contact centers have always operated with a focus on metrics, but now with advanced tools and processes, you can do so much more to guide agents in the performance goals and align across the organization to achieve the desired results.
- Visual dashboards convey clear metrics and performance against those metrics, with data from a variety of sources
- Information is properly packaged and delivered at all levels – agents, supervisors, management and executives – to show how the center is contributing to business goals
- Gamification adds fun and excitement with a competitive flair that drives individual and team success
- The best WFO suites provide integration to use results to guide coaching and eLearning for staff development
Improving the agent experience is at the core of delivering a great CX, and helping centers and companies achieve their goals. An empowered and engaged agent, with a positive AX, leads to greater retention, productivity, and quality. The company achieves its cost and revenue goals, and the customer has lower level of effort, higher FCR, and overall improved CX.
I’ll dive deeper into each of these opportunities through this blog series with the goal to put you on a path to improve Agent Experience to positively impact Customer Experience and during the webinar 3 Ways Agent Experience is Boosting Customer Experience.