Are your contact center agents struggling to proactively engage with customers and personalize their conversations? Or perhaps you’re dealing with low agent productivity and morale? You’re not alone.
As a manager you see the problem from the 30,000-foot view, but what about the agent perspective? How are these issues impacting the day-to-day of your most visible and valuable assets?
Companies across industries are struggling to strike a balance between meeting KPIs and keeping staff engaged, as evidenced in recent survey findings published in a new report co-authored by Omdia and LiveVox.
As this new report finds, we’re seeing companies attempt to deploy strategies that boost agent performance, improve retention amid the Great Resignation, and enhance skills development to engineer better customer experiences from the inside out.
Omdia and LiveVox have concluded that in order to equip agents for the new digital reality, five criteria must be met:
- Agents need greater control over their work arrangements
- Invest in seamless agent workflows that minimize screens and tools
- Empower agents with self-improvement and continuous feedback
- Get smart about leadership
- Demonstrate the business value of the contact center to incentivize investment in self-service and automation through AI.
About the survey
Omdia and LiveVox conducted a survey in October 2021 to determine how customer service representatives (agents) are equipped in the workplace to deliver on performance goals and engage with customers across channels.
The survey had three primary goals:
- Determine how digital deployments are affecting the customer experience
- Identify the obstacles that prevent proactive agent engagement and affect the overall customer experience.
- Provide an actionable list of recommendations for companies to help their agents engage in personalized and proactive ways in a digital-first, customer-first environment.
The survey was administered to 530 rank-and-file agents in the US so we could best understand agent perceptions and get as close to the customer as possible.
The agents represented several industries: healthcare, retail, business process outsourcing, telecommunications, technology services, and financial services sectors.
Representation also spanned small businesses (250–500 employees), mid-market enterprises (501–1,000 employees), mid-size enterprises (1,000–5,000 employees), and large enterprises (more than 5,000 employees). Omdia and LiveVox combined the small business and mid-market sectors (267 respondents) and the enterprise sectors (263 respondents) to make them statistically significant.
74% of contact centers with “advanced” digital adoption struggle to identify the same customer across channels
Contact centers are struggling with omnichannel customer engagement as well as agent retention and productivity. Despite having deployed sophisticated technology, companies find that the execution remains challenging.
Companies adopting digital tools must first establish an integrated and connected data foundation, requiring improved data management and tighter data integration. Without the information to help agents find the next-best context or action, mass-market engagements will continue, and opportunities for personalization will suffer
85% of contact center agents surveyed toggle between three screens or more when interacting with customers
The survey found that having too many screens and pop-ups leads to agent productivity issues. Reducing applications and creating a unified desktop is essential to enabling successful omnichannel engagement and agent satisfaction.
64% of contact centers with “advanced” digital adoption cannot proactively engage with customers before issues arise
Is your customer engagement strategy proactive or reactive? The survey data shows that many contact centers are unable to communicate proactively with customers, which can cause sudden surges in inbound volume.
A lack of capabilities damages job satisfaction
The survey data revealed striking differences across sectors in how a lack of capabilities impacts agent job satisfaction.
For example, an inability to engage consistently across all communication channels caused 40% of the agents in retail to report negative job satisfaction; the same was true for 31% in technology services, 30% in business process outsourcing, 24% in financial services, 23% in telecommunications, and 12% in healthcare.
Another area that yielded disparities across sectors was agents not having the interaction history to personalize the experience. In retail, 52% of agents reported negative job satisfaction when they do not have an interaction history compared with only 4% in financial services: a 48% gap.
Download the survey in full for takeaways here.