In an era of rapid digital innovation such as chatbots/AI, the role of a contact center agent has become more important than ever. In this blog, we’ll explore the impact of new channels on contact center agents and five features that can help them adapt.
Despite the rise in demand for a more unified experience across channels, the ability for contact centers to achieve that has been relatively low. The 2017 Global CX Benchmarking Report, stated that 58% of organizations reported their channels are being managed in silos, and 42% say channel data is not actively shared between teams.
The inability to facilitate true cross-channel workflows have left customers with disconnected experiences and growing frustrations. In this environment, a contact center agent provides a critical opportunity to re-connect with the customer and remains a top channel during their engagement journey.
According to a recent study by Google, 61% of mobile users call a business when they’re in the purchase phase of the buying cycle. The majority of respondents would call instead of reach out online because they’re looking to get a quick answer (59%) or talk to a real person (57%). *
In fact, when asked over which channel is personalization most important, voice channel -interaction with an agent- ranks the highest. *
Yet, in a digital environment, the ability for agents to service the customer has become more difficult than ever. In this recent study by Delloite’s 2017 Global Contact Center Survey, the level of difficulty/complexity in the type of service call is expected to increase dramatically as channels increase.
So how can businesses help alleviate these challenges? Here are five key capabilities to equip your contact center agent workforce with now:
KNOW THE CUSTOMER UPON CONNECTION:
One of the biggest customer complaints are agents now knowing who the customer is upon connection. This can lead to frustrated customers and long average handle times. In a cross-channel environment, the agent has to know who the customer is, how they’ve been interacted with in the past, what they may need help with, and the ability to service them quickly. To enable that, contact center agents should be equipped with the following:
- Advanced Screen Pops: Information provided in a screen pop must be able to show general account information (e.g. name and account number) and other information that may be related to why the customer is calling. These data filters should be highly customized based on what may be most relevant about the customer. In addition, if the customer has entered any information through an IVR prior to reaching the agent, that information should also be made available to the agent in the screen pop.
- Multichannel Contact History: The agent must be able to see the customer’s entire engagement journey – across all channels. The customer for example may be calling back about an email or SMS received. The agent’s ability to have insight into that interaction is key to establishing a unified experience.
- Simplified Agent Desktops: Long service times is often a result of an agent toggling through several applications seeking information about how to service the customer. A simplified agent desktop can help minimize that search time significantly. In addition, the ability for that desktop to link to a external sites (e.g. Google) can expand an agent’s ability to service the customer.
PROVIDE SERVICE ACROSS MULTIPLE CHANNELS:
- Email/SMS Functionality: Contac center agents must also be able to service the customer across new channels. Agents should be able to send Email /SMS interactions during or after a call from their desktops.
- Channel Preference Management: Agents should also be able to manage and update channel preferences when speaking with a customer from their desktops. Doing so can help ensure the customer is reached how and when they want.
In today’s digital environment, agents are now faced with more frustrated, and often impatient customers, who demand immediate and highly customized service. Compounding this challenge is the rise in complexity of these service calls as a result of new channels. Yet many agents remain ill-equipped to handle this increase in pressure. As a result, frustration occurs on both the customer and agent side. Business leaders must consider how to empower their workforce to improve the balance.
Cloud contact center solutions is helping contact centers navigate this shift with cutting-edge and cost-effective capabilities. LiveVox’s [U] Series for example, is providing contact centers with a practical approach to evolving primarily voice strategies into ROI-driven digital engagement. To learn more, click here